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Literary Analysis of the Poem, Odyssey by Homer, 700 B.C.

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Is someone considered intelligent if they use cheats and deceptions to weave through adversity? The Odyssey, an epic poem written by Homer around 700 B.C., tells of a man named Odysseus conquering trials and tribulations with both disguises and deceptions. This man was definitely considered intelligent by those he encountered. Odysseus' heroic trait is his mētis, or "cunning intelligence," and his name means ‘trouble’ in Greek (he certainly got into a lot of trouble). In The Odyssey, Homer's Greek audience generally admired Odysseus' clever traits, despite his occasional dishonesty. Odysseus' skill at making up false stories and devising plans as well as his covert disguises are nearly incomparable to any other character in Homer’s epic, giving him an advantage over his adversaries. Odysseus’ Trojan horse scheme, his multiple tricks against Polyphemus the Cyclops, and his concealment as a beggar to escape the suitors demonstrate this advantage over his numerous opponents as he uses his cunning intelligence and innovative disguise.
Probably his greatest invention of all, the Trojan horse scheme, gives Odysseus the upper hand over Troy. This cunning strategy to overtake Troy is described when Demodokos the minstrel sings for Alkinoos and Odysseus. A little bit of his lyrics are as follows: “ . . . For Troy must perish, as ordained, that day / she harbored the great horse of timber; hidden / the flower of Akhaia lay, and bore / slaughter and death upon the men of Troy” (Homer VII. 537-551). This plan to overtake Troy was incredibly cunning and it worked remarkably well. This shows how Odysseus cunning plans gave him power.
As well as the Trojan horse plan, Odysseus multiple tricks against Polyphemus show his intelligence and cleverness: namely the escape from the monstrous Cyclops while being trapped in its cave. Odysseus remembers that the Cyclops usually lets his sheep graze in the fields outside the cave, and he has the impression to cling to the bottom of the sheep by grasping the “sheepskin ringlets for an iron grip” (Homer IX. 474), so that “the giant’s blind hands blundering never found [Odysseus]” (Homer IX. 483). This cunning deception clearly shows how clever and tricky Odysseus’ thoughts and actions truly are.
After Odysseus’ escape from Polyphemus, he makes the long journey back to his homeland only to be greeted by insolent suitors making moves on his wife Penelope. Odysseus’ disguise as “a beggar man” (Homer XVII. 257) to escape the suitors and then later destroy them is another piece of evidence that demonstrates his ability to use deception and disguise. These skills, especially his disguises, helped Odysseus overcome his trials and become stronger mentally. With his countless tests of faith (believing that his wife still loved him) he received great rewards (being with his family again).

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