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Homer's The Odysseus: Being Lost and Found

By bruisenasty69 Feb 17, 2014 957 Words

Searching: Lost and Found
The literal meaning of being lost and the feeling of being lost that Odysseus endures in the book The Odyssey by Homer is one that some cannot comprehend. People every day feel lost and can endure the feeling of being found. Whether a personis being found because he or she were actually lost, meaning they cannot find their way, or that they are found because they have found something or someone that can relate to them, are the two ways that Homer uses the term found in The Odyssey. Homer does an exceptional job giving the reader a sense that Odysseus is lost and confused without directly having to say so. Writing about the internal conflicts that Odysseus battles with himself shows that although he is a hero in the book, he is dealing with situations more than just what the reader can assume.

Being lost can be associated with the verb form of the word by actually being lost, not knowing where one is or what is going on. In The Odyssey while Odysseus is literally lost, he is also lost in the mental form, he finds himself acting out and being much unlike his usual self-- faithful towards his family and staying true to who he is. Being separated from his family and those he loves makes him to lose sight of who is actually is and has caused him to do things that he would not do if he were home—betraying his wife by sleeping with nymphs and other mystical women. Just because he is away from home for years and is feeling lonely is not necessarily an excuse for him to be unfaithful.

Odysseus is held captive by Calypso, a nymph, for seven years on her island—where she falls madly in love with him but he is not taken by her at first. Over the course of the seven years, Odysseus is drawn under Calypso’s powers and becomes unfaithful towards his wife and has an affair with Calypso—one of many. Odysseus acting out in this manner can be seen as a way of being lost because this is Odysseus being confused of how he feels towards Calypso, but he is being overtaken by her ways and is essentially forced into having sex with her but with or without her powers he wanted to sleep with her.

The biggest and most obvious form of being lost in The Odyssey is Odysseus being lost for ten years after the Trojan War, which lasted for ten years, so all together Odysseus is gone from Ithaca, his home, for twenty years. During this time his family is unsure of what is has happened to him and without him they have a feeling of being lost and confused with what to do with their lives. Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, is put in a state of confusion when men start coming to her home to try to win her over, these men are referred to as the suitors. These men are assuming that Penelope is feeling lost and lonely without Odyssey, who is the king of the men who are fighting for her attention. The suitors’ assumption of Penelope is correct, she actually is feeling lost without him, she cries often—basically every day. . . . she’s still waiting there in your halls, poor woman, suffering so, Her life an endless hardship . . .

Wasting away the nights, weeping away the days. (Homer, Fagles. 339)

Being found can also be taken in the literal and figurative sense. When Odysseus finally comes home after his years long journey, he is “found.” Someone does not actually find him at first, but by coming home he is faced with who he used to be and is reminded of the things and people he left behind. By coming home and seeing all the suitors lined up to take his place and be with his wife is when he realizes what he had left behind all those years ago. When he first comes home he is trying to hide his true identity from his men and his family. Finally his nurse since a young age, Eurycleia, is the person who identifies him by the scar he has on his thigh—by her finding his scar would be considered him being found in the literal sense. While on the surface Odysseus does not want to be found, deep down he wants someone to recognize him and know that he is still alive and is going to reveal himself.

After going through internet sources many people of the web have come to the conclusion that Odysseus’ is not a hero, mostly because of the lies and deceit he preformed upon his wife Penelope. "While the Greeks admired his cunning and deceit, these qualities did not recommend themselves to the Romans, who possessed a rigid sense of honor" (Odysseus). The opinions of those who say that Odysseus is very understandable, a person who is considered a hero is usually not someone who encounters in other sexual activities with one who is not a spouse. Each reader of The Odyssey is entitled to his or her own opinion of whether or not Odysseus is a hero or not. The actions that Odysseus performs to have readers form the opinion of him not being a hero is because he is mentally lost which is causing him to act un-hero like. If he were not to have been actually lost and returned home as planned then his actions would have been different and readers may see him as a hero for not having betrayed his wife.

Works Cited
Homer, Robert Fagles, and Bernard Knox. The Odyssey. New York: Viking, 1996. Print. "Odysseus." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.

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