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Odysseus

By aabbyy132 Mar 31, 2014 1238 Words
The Odyssey
An epic is described as a long narrative poem with all its elements considered epic including epic heroes, epic plot, epic themes, and epic settings. In The Odyssey, an epic written by Homer, all these elements are used. The Odyssey is a good example of an epic because it incorporates all the necessary components. An epic has many different parts. One of the main parts of an epic is archetypes. Archetypes are characters, situations, and images that are recognizable in many times and cultures. Common archetypes include sea monsters, wicked temptresses, a suitors contest, and epic hero, and loyal servants. In The Odyssey, Odysseus, the main character faces many sea monsters including Scylla, Sirens, and Charybdis. Scylla is a sea monster with six heads. She is portrayed as similar to an octopus. She will not stop attacking her prey until she eats six men. Once she gets one human to eat per head, she will leave them alone. Another sea monster Odysseus' encounters are Sirens. Sirens bewitch men with their voice and lure them to their island. Charmed by their beauty the men all lose their desire to complete their journey. Odysseus was able to avoid the Sirens by putting beeswax in the crew members' ears. The crew then tied Odysseus to the mast of the ship so that he could listen to their voices, but not get away. Finally Odysseus confronts Charybdis. Charybdis is described as a whirlpool. She sucks everything in, and then three times a day spits everything out. If a ship gets stuck in Charybdis they stand no chance of survival. Along with sea monsters, Odysseus also finds himself under the attack of wicked temptresses. Circe and Calypso are considered wicked temptresses in The Odyssey. Circe turns half of Odysseus' crew into pigs and holds them captive. Odysseus comes to the rescue and convinces Circe to turn them back into men. Sadly, they are still held captive for a year. Finally, they leave the island. Next is Calypso. Calypso is an island nymph. She holds Odysseus captive for seven years on her island. She bewitches him every night and leaves him alone during the day. Another element of an archetype is a suitors contest. In the end of this book, Penelope holds a suitors contest. She says any man who can draw Odysseus' bow, and shoot it through twelve axe heads wins the contest. She holds this contest because she has given up hope on Odysseus' return. Odyssesus under disguise as an old beggar wins the contest to the surprise of Penelope has returned. An epic hero possesses superhuman strength, craftiness, and confidence that are helped or harmed by interfering gods, embodies ideals and values that a culture considers admirable, and emerges victorious in perilous situations. Odysseus has all of these qualities. When he defeated the Cyclops, Polyphemus, he showed his superhuman strength, craftiness, and confidence. Tricking him into drinking the wine, Odysseus makes Polyphemus drunk and vulnerable. He used his superhuman strength to stab Polyphemus in the eye which blinded him. He also tricked Polyphemus into believing his name way N'body. This kept him safe from the other Cyclopes because they believed that nobody was hurting Polyhemus. Once Odysseus escaped, he shouted back to the Cyclops who he really was and made a fool out of the Cyclops. This showed his confidence in himself. Odysseus was also harmed and helped by the gods. Because of the way he acted toward Polyphemus, he and his crew were cursed by Poseidon. Poseidon's cursed trapped Odysseus at sea for 20 years. Another god who harmed Odysseus was Zeus. Zeus killed his crew and destroys his ship after his crew ate Helios' cattle. Odysseus had no way of getting home. Not all the gods hated Odysseus though; some helped him in his journey. A minor God of Winds gave him the West wind and storm winds. The West winds were to guide him home and the storm winds were to test him. If he opened the storm winds he would fail, and if he left them closed, he would be home in Ithica. Athena also helped Odysseus. Athena disguised Odysseus as an old beggar when he returned home to Ithica so that the suitors would not try to kill him. The suitors wanted to kill Odysseus so that they could marry Penelope, his wife. His disguise kept him safe until he wanted to reveal himself. At this revelation Athena put a shield around Odysseus so that they could not harm him. With her help, Odysseus emerges victorious in the battle against the suitors because of his dedication and divine intervention. An epic plot is interwoven throughout The Odyssey as all these Gods, sea creatures, temptresses and events interact throughout a long journey full of complications, large-scale events, and treacherous weather. These are all parts on an epic plot. Many large-scale events happened during this book. Odysseus faced Polyphemus, and came out victorious. He also faced Circe, Scylla, the Sirens, Charybdis, Zeus, Poseidon, and the suitors. He came out victorious in all of these encounters, and finally made it to his destination. Finally he faced treacherous weather when the wind king gave him the storm winds, and sent him all the way back to the king's island, in the opposite direction of where he wanted to go. Another part of an epic is epic themes: Courage, Life or Death, Loyalty, Beauty, and a Homecoming. All portrayed throughout Odysseus' journeys and adventures as he tries to find his way home from Troy, back to his wife and son in Ithica. Although constantly challenged by sea creatures and Gods, Odysseus remains loyal to Penelope and courageously conquers all in his way and finds his way home. Once home, his challenges continue as suitors try to steal his wife. He is even challenged by Beauty as he has to choose between Calypso and Penelope. However, after 20 years of constant fighting, and staying loyal, he remains strong and in the end defeats everyone choosing his love, Penelope over all. Lastly, to complete the qualifications of being and epic, The Odyssey must contain epic settings. Epic settings include fantastic or exotic lands that involve more than one nation. There are many examples of epic settings in The Odyssey. The main nation in The Odyssey is Ithica. Ithica is where Odysseus has been trying to get home to. That is where his wife and son live. Another nation is Circe's island. At Circe's island part of Odysseus' crew was turned into pigs. Circe held them captive for one year, before she finally let them go. Next is the island of the Cyclopes. On this island Odysseus and his crew were held captive by the Cyclops, Polyphemus. He ate the crew for his meals while he held them in his cave. Odysseus finally came up with a plan and escaped. Another island was Calypso's island. Odysseus was held captive on her island for seven years. She is an island nymph and would not let him go. Zeus finally sent Hermes to tell Calypso to let him go. She reluctantly let him go.t. Finally, the oceans can also be considered part of the epic setting in The Odyssey because they were filled with mythological monsters, including Charybdis, Scylla, and the Sirens. In conclusion, The Odyssey, a poem written by Homer nearly twenty thousand years ago in Greece can only be described as an epic.

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