Vengeance is the main theme in the Odyssey, it is what all the conflict in the story is for
every conflict in the story is caused because of each characters thirst for vengeance . The three
characters that show this most greatly are as follows. Poseidon through his constant punishment
of Odysseus throughout the story. Secondly Telemachus' need to make the suitors pay for
disrespecting his house as well as his mother and the lack of his ability to become or even be seen
as a possible heir to his fathers thrown. Then finally Odysseus and his need to avenge the
disrespect by the suitors. The hardships that each of these character goes through during his
journey inrage them to revenge and push the story to its climax.
The strongest and longest lasting vengeance
in the story is Poseidons he punishes Odysseus
for taunting his son after he had already escaped and taken the cyclops eye. Poseidon firsts makes
Odysseus loose his ship and men at see. Next he must deal with the Charybdis and Scylla.
Throughout his journey Poseidon sends him all over the seas and even taunts him with a glance
of his home but then it is ripped away from him due to his own men and their greed. Poseidon
is unwilling to stop his punishment and even the gods and goddess' can see this as said best
by Zeus himself "Bear in mind that Poseidon is still furious with Odysseus...though he does
not kill Odysseus outright, he torments him by preventing him from getting home."(4 and 5).
Then there is Telemachus and while he shows his vengeance
only at the end of the book
his is also a key part of the story. His need for vengeance
is against the suitors, but he knows he
can't fullfill this until he has the permision of council. Since he is not king they wont allow him to
so now Athena suggest that if he can find his father or his fathers body he could get his chance.
Having not seen his father since he left for the Trojan Wars he thinks that perhaps he at least
can find his were abouts. This then leads him on his journey to manhood. While on his journey
the suitors attempt to take his life so now he has two reasons for revenge. This vengeance is not
fullfilled till the end when he has reached manhood and his father has resurfaced.
Which brings us lastly to the main character Odysseus. Who struggles much through the
story, against temptation and the evils done to him. He then returns home and finds that the
suitors guests in his house have been disrespecting his people, wife, and home. This causes
Odysseus great pain to hear that they had had no respect for him or his family and home.
So Odysseus kills all the suitors for vengeance
. The greatest of his vengeance
though is saved for
the slaves and Melanthius who betrayed him. Odysseus makes the slaves clean up the bodies
and then he kills them afterwords. While Melanthius is punished most severely for his treacherous
ways "They cut off his noes and his ears;they drew out his private parts and gave them to the
dogs raw, and then in the furry they cut off his hands and his feet"(294).
So with that being said it is plain to see that vengeance
is the biggest area of the Oddysey.
This is shown strongest by Poseidons rage towards Odysseus and not letting him return home.
Then by Odysseus to avenge the mistreatment of his house, family, and people. The weakest
act of vengeance
while still important in the story is by Telemachus but this is more to show that
he has grown up and is ready to take his place with his father. Through these it is plan to see
that the Odyssey is about vengeance