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Literary Analysis the Odyssey

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Topics: Odysseus, Odyssey
Odysseus’s 20-year long Journey

When you set out for Ithaca, pray that your road’s a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. In Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”, ten years have passed since the fall of Troy, and the Greek hero Odysseus still has not returned to his kingdom in Ithaca, many believe he is dead. It takes Odysseus 20 years to return home after he left Ithaca for the war. It takes Odysseus 10 years to return home after the 10 year long Trojan war. During these 10 years, Odysseus has spent a year with the sorceress Circe. Odysseus is trapped with the Nymph Goddess Calypso for 7 years. The themes that are portrayed throughout the poem are the significance of hospitality, the power of leadership, and loyalty.
A theme that is relevant in the poem is the significance of hospitality. Odysseus reminds us all that Circe opens up her doors to him and his crew: “There Odysseus shares her meat and wine, and she restores his heart. But, after many seasons of feasting and other pleasures, Odysseus and his men beg Circe to help them get home.” (Homer 913) Circe was being friendly and let Odysseus and his men stay on her island. In particular, Odysseus tells us that Alcinous invited him into his home: “That night, at the banquet, the stranger who was washed up on the beach is seated in the guest’s place of honor.” (Homer 895) Alcinous is being friendly and receptions his stranger in a generous and entertaining way. Both, Alcinous and Circe are showing hospitality by welcoming Odysseus. Overall, the significance of hospitality is one of the three themes that I thought were most important in The Odyssey. Hospitality is the heroic code of The Odyssey.

In fact, Odysseus has the power of leadership. Odysseus is honest, forward-looking, intelligent, courageous, and straightforward. These are all traits of a good leader. Odysseus is a true leader: “Now by the gods, I drove my big hand spike deep in the embers, charring it again, and cheered my men along with battle talk to keep their courage up: no quitting now.” (Homer 904) Odysseus cheered his men along with battle talk to keep their courage up; this shows that he was motivating them to get ready to move on from the Cyclops. He didn’t want them to quit and give up on him for the rest of the long journey. Odysseus wanted nothing more than commitment and help to get back to Ithaca. For instance, Odysseus shouted, “Heads up, lads! We must obey the orders as I give them. Get the oar shafts in your hands, and lie back hard on your benches; hit these breaking seas. Zeus help us pull away before we founder.” (Homer 920) In other words Odysseus is being a leader by giving the men orders and now they can continue moving on from the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis who are very dangerous. Briefly, Odysseus shows many ways in how he is a leader and controls everything wisely and smart.
Loyalty is tricky in the Odyssey. While the hero, Odysseus is delayed sailing home from war his wife’s faithfulness is an inspiration of committed loyalty. On the other hand, Odysseus himself engages in multiple relationships before returning to his wife. Because of the similar situations from various cultures from far earlier times, The Odyssey doesn’t criticize its hero for doing so. This raises attention-grabbing questions of different types of loyalty: one of Odysseus’s explanations for cheating on his wife is that he never "in his heart" gave consent. In the world of the Odyssey, then, there are different types of loyalty and accordingly many types of disloyalty, ranging from physical to emotional. For example, “The sweet days of his lifetime were running out in anguish over his exile, for long ago the nymph had ceased to please. Though he fought shy of her and her desire, he lay with her each night, for she compelled him. But when day came he sat on the rocky shore and broke his own heart groaning, with eyes wet scanning the bare horizon of the sea.” (Homer 892) With this in mind, Odysseus’s want for Calypso has been defeated by his loyalty to Penelope. Odysseus was loyal to his men: “She ate them as they shrieked there, in her den, in the dire grapple, reaching still for me and deathly pity ran me through at that sight far the worst I ever suffered questing the passes of the strange sea.” (Homer 921) This shows that because of the loyalty and compassion he holds for his men, Odysseus indicates attitude while witnessing their death to be one of the worst sufferings he encounters. That was the most pitiful scene that his eyes had seen. Therefore, one of the main themes that were portrayed in the Odyssey was loyalty.
To conclude, Odysseus returns home after he left Ithaca for the war. It took him 20 years. He is back with Penelope. The Odyssey has many lessons and teachings that help people in their everyday life. The one lesson that was shown the most throughout the Odyssey was that no matter what obstacle is met, as long as you continue to try your hardest to achieve your main goal you will eventually find the right path. The story was meant to relate to all people. The Greeks told this story to teach lessons about life. Lusts, revenge, anger, fear, obedience, are some of the emotions involved in the Odyssey. In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, the themes the significance of hospitality, the power of leadership, and loyalty are portrayed throughout the poem to show the morals and values of Ancient Greece.

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