T.A: Ila Goody
AP/HUMA 1150 9.0A
Friday 10:30 a.m
11 November 2014
Oddyseus: the Human Paradigm of a Civilized Greek Citizen
The Odyssey presents that the wealth of a man in Greek society was primarily based on the amount of livestock he cultivated, and most importantly the honour he accumulated through valorous deeds. Consequently, the degree to which a man was considered civilized was equivalent to his wealth. Homer establishes that achieving nostos was a principal factor for a man to be considered well distinguished and deemed civilized in Greek society. In addition to nostos, three essential qualities of a civilized Greek man include the attainment of kleos, offering sacrifices to the immortals, and possessing ingenuity. Kleos refers to the concept of glory that is earned by a man in battle, and spread throughout the land by spoken word. Attaining kleos presented great status within the Greek society to the achiever, as he acquired certain privileges. For instance, Telemachus highlights the importance of inherited kleos when he informs Athena, disguised as Mentes, “So all the Achaians would have heaped a grave mound over him/ and he would have won great fame for himself and his son hereafter”1 If Odysseus had died in battle, his glory would have been inherited by Telemachus, elevating his status above the suitors, thus inhibiting the suitors from infesting his home, consuming his inherited wealth, and possibly preventing them from courting his mother. Telemachus’ inherited glory would be provided by Odysseus’ achieved kleos through his victories in the Trojan War. Some may argue that Odysseus has not fully reached kleos as he wishes to gain kleos even during his homecoming. For instance, Odysseus tells Polyphemus while fleeing with his companions from the land of the Cyclops, “…tell him that you were blinded by Odysseus, sacker of cities./ Laertes is his father, and he makes his home in Ithaka” 2(IX....
Cited: Homer. The Odyssey of Homer. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1967. Print.
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