Life In Homer's Odyssey Essay

1228 words - 5 pages

The Odyssey:  Life 

 

Odyssey a long series of wanderings filled with notable experience and hardships, or in other words the journey of life. Homer's The Odyssey is an epic poem telling of one man's journey. Odysseus, the chosen traveler of this Odyssey, represents the will and perseverance of all humanity. Odysseus' journey symbolizes the true toils of mankind's development through, agility, doubt, and faith.

In life, agility is needed time and time again, to get out of sticky situations.  Odysseus' agility is well proven when he uses his guile to outsmart the Cyclops. While trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, Odysseus has to come up with a quick escape plan to save himself and his remaining comrades. Using his cunning ways, he introduces himself to the Cyclops as Noman, and then rids him of his one eye. In a cry for help, Polyphemus calls out, "Friends, Noman is murdering me by craft..." (86). Being able to respond quickly in desperate situations gives Odysseus power over his enemy. Odysseus' agility is in many ways more powerful than his force.

Odysseus often uses verbal irony to charm and win the ways of others. In situations in which Odysseus lacks control, he frequently uses fake flattery to persuade others of his opinion. In an effort to return on his homeward way, from the island of Calypso, Odysseus compares Calypso to his wife Penelope, saying to her, "Full well I know that heedful Penelope, compared with you, is poor to look upon in height and beauty; for she is human..." (49). By boosting the confidence of Calypso, Odysseus is sent on his way with good wishes. The power to come up with such clever words is an example of Odysseus' agility.

Using his agility, Odysseus overpowers the doubt of the suitors. Disguised as an old begger, Odysseus takes on the suitors' challenge of stringing and using Odysseus' powerful bow. While the suitors sat and mocked him, he accomplished the task. Homer uses the epic simile, "Meantime wise Odysseus, when he had handled the great bow and scanned it closely, -even as one well-skilled to play the lyre and sing stretches with ease round its new peg a string, securing at each end the twisted sheep-gut; so without effort did Odysseus string the mighty bow...Great consternation came upon the suitors. All faces then changed color" (210), to describe the moment of honor. This is telling of Odysseus' agility because he saw the perfect timing to overcome the challenge in order to get a roused response from the suitors. This ability to think quickly and see the needs of the moment helps Odysseus seem more powerful than he may actually be.

Throughout the road of life doubt is always present, creating obstacles that must be overcome. By having waivers of doubt, Odysseus gains self-confidence. Even though Odysseus knows that he has a pre-set destiny he still questions the orders of the gods. After receiving guidance from Circe, Odysseus challenges his destiny, asking,...

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