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The Odyssey

By carlyfob May 05, 2013 932 Words
Odysseus’s Odyssey Home

“He saw the townlands and learned the minds of many distant men, and weathered many bitter nights and days in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only to save his life, to bring his shipmates home” (McDougal p. 1104). Odysseus, King of Ithica, was determined to get home with all of his men unscathed after the Trojan War; however, the voyage did not go as anticipated. Whilst on his journey home to Ithica, Odysseus and his men found themselves facing an island of Cannibals, a Cyclops, a sea monster, a whirlpool, an island of dead souls, and an island of enticing, tempting and seductive bird women called sirens, who lure sailors to their deaths by crashing into the rocky shores. No matter what challenge came next, Odysseus would not give up on his crew or himself. Odysseus is an epic hero because he is a valorous leader with oodles of self-control. Odysseus makes for a valorous leader because he is brave and intelligent. Having landed on Circe’s island, in this quote the men are approaching Circe’s hall:

In the wild wood they found an open glade,
around a smooth stone house-the hall of Circe-
and wolves an mountain lion lay there, mild
in her loft spell, fed on her drug of evil (McDougal p.1124) While they sail home, this quote explains what the men find when Odysseus and his crew find themselves on the island of the goddess Circe, who just so happens to turn men into animals. Odysseus and his men split into two groups; while Odysseus’s men stay on the ship, the other group goes into Circe’s hall where they are turned into pigs. After half of his men are turned to pigs by the goddess Circe, Odysseus travels alone into Circe’s great hall to get them back because he promised the men’s families that they would return home. Circe tricks Odysseus into thinking he has been there for a day, but it has actually been an entire year. Odysseus begs Circe to let them go home, and in reply Circe tells Odysseus to first go to the land of the dead and hear their prophecy from the ghost of Tiresias. Because they are traveling by water, they are constantly brought to new island destinations, and Odysseus is audacious enough to venture onto every one of them; however, the island of the Cyclopses is where Odysseus becomes despised by Poseidon. Odysseus blinded Polythemus, a Cyclops and son of Poseidon; resulting in Polythemus praying that Odysseus will have trouble getting home and at home. Because Odysseus has bravery and intelligence, Odysseus was a valorous leader to his crew on their voyage home. Odysseus shows great self-control while travelling home; the reason for this is so his crew will not fall apart or become out of control and distraught. Earlier, the goddess Circe gave Odysseus advice not to fight back when approaching the monster Scylla, and also not to eat Helios’s cattle or all of his men will die; surprisingly, Odysseus restrained from both obstacles. In the beginning of his voyage, Odysseus was recklessly impulsive and quick to combat, but when Circe warned him of the serious dangers of the monsters ahead, he learned to be less aggressive and to have more patience. Odysseus shows great discretion while passing the beast Scylla; he could have fought back, but by doing so he would only have lost more men, and he had to keep his composure so his crew would too. While exploring the land of the dead, in this quote Odysseus sees his mother’s ghost. Dead

my mother, daughter of Autolycus, dead now though living still when I took ship for holy Troy. Seeing this ghost I grieved,
but held her off, through pang on pang of tears, (McDougal p.1128) Odysseus sees his mother in the land of the dead and realizes she is dead; however, he would not cry because if his crew saw him crying, they would all lose their composure. When Odysseus returns home at last, he sees his old dog, Argos, who waited for him to return, but dies suddenly; because there were suitors in his house Odysseus had to stay in disguise, and only shed one tear for Argos. The following quote takes place when Odysseus enters the house disguised as a beggar so his wife’s suitors would not kill him. The stool he let fly hit the man’s right shoulder

on the packed muscle under the shoulder blade…
like a solid rock…Odysseus only shook his head, containing thoughts of his bloody work (Glencoe p.858) Odysseus imagines killing Antinous, the suitor who threw the stool at Odysseus, but Odysseus holds his temper. Odysseus was disguised by the goddess Athena as an old beggar, so that he would not be killed by the suitors who wished to marry Penelope, his wife. It was because of Odysseus’s brave leadership and self-control that he was able to be an epic hero. In the end of The Odyssey, Odysseus kills all of the suitors; this was foretold by Telemachus as part of Odysseus’s journey home. Over the course of the twenty years, Odysseus learned how to be strong for others, how to control his emotions, and how to respect others and their purposes. Most importantly, Odysseus learned how precious life is and that every second is an adventure. Odysseus’s lessons changed him as a person, for the better and will help him make his decisions more thoughtfully, unselfishly and as well-bred as the King of Ithica.

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