3 February 2012
The Roles of Lies and Stories in The Odyssey
The Odyssey was written by the poet Homer. Many examples of lies in the poem show the reader how the outcomes change the plot. Each lie seems to have good intentions as to why it happened. The role of lies also shows the reader how the characters like Odysseus can be deceitful but also meaningful. Examples of roles of lies are when Odysseus disguises himself, Odysseus’ stories of heroicness, and the suitor’s treatment to her husband.
Odysseus shows his disguise as a beggar to show many thought out plans and actions. As the beggar, Odysseus tries to lie about his identity to show Telemachus and Peneolpe that his person wants to start war with the suitors. In order for him to accomplish this task, he first must have held his identity from the Cyclops. He accomplishes this by taking smart and clever turns in order that might have success. Odysseus roles past the Cyclops by saying his name is “Nobody”. Evidence of his qualities is when the poem says, “He is a man of twist and turns” (891). This quote shows the reader Odysseus’ role in lying to the Cyclops. As he continues through his journey, he encounters Poseidon who transforms Odysseus from him- self to the beggar his job is to be as. He then goes to lie about his identity to the suitors in order to gain knowledge on their plans. He only accomplishes this act due to his disguise. During the same time however, Odysseus appears to his close family in the beggar disguise. He then begins Anderson 2
to realize who actually is truly on his side or not. Before his family discovers the true beggear, Odysseus finally declares war on those terrible suitors. Without the act of lying here, the family would never have been able to scout out and beat the suitors in battle.
Odysseus also has many heroic stories that get him out of tough situations. First Hermes is sent by Zeus to save Odysseus from the evil Claypso. When he sails to his homeland, Poseidon sends a storm to destroy him. But Athena saves him and takes Odysseus to the Phaecians. Here, he describes his heroic stories to Athena and seems he is in paradise. But soon he must continue his epic journey with many stories to tell. After seven years he leaves to continue his mission. He continues until the stories end escaping Poseidon and defeating the suitors to end the poem. One important quote is when Athena describes Odysseus as, “Have come from afar, creating pain for many—…” (945). Athena describes his motive on all his adventures and story telling experiences. Throughout the poem, Odysseus seems too narrowly escape all of the events that transpire in his favor. His story telling can be very intriguing, but can sometimes used as trickery to the person he tells it to.
Penelope is another major role in the lies of The Odyssey. She never gives up hope in not seeing him in over 20 years. The suitors try to convince her to remarry, but Athena and self confidence tell her otherwise. She continues to avoid the suitors and can only hope that Odysseus will come home soon. Indecision and suitor lies continue to pound Penelope until finally Odysseus arrives from his adventures. When he comes back, he destroys the suitors and stops the lies for the rest of the poem. She even listens to all the stories and lies that Odysseus told to save himself and return home.
The suitors still would have ruled over the palace if Odysseus would never have returned.
Trickery helped Odysseus get himself out of trouble and continue his long journey home. In order to wrap up the poem, Odysseus and his family went to war with the suitors and defeated them, helping to put away the dishonest forever. Roles of lies in The Odyssey include the suitor’s temptations to Penelope and Odysseus’ trickery in stories and appearances. The Odyssey reveals many forms of deception and adventure, but through deception, Odysseus finds a way to make it home with all the adventures.
Homer. The Odyssey. Elements of Literature. Richard Sime. Austin, Texas: RR Donnelly & Sons Company, 2000. Holt, Rineheart, and Winston.