Book 8 Of "The Odyssey" Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Book 8 of the Odyssey helps to show an interesting value that the Greeks held high, and that we hold high in our society today. This important value is that wrongs done to people must be paid for. The story of Ares and Aphrodite, the argument between Euryalus and Odysseus, and the underlying conflict between Odysseus and the suitors he has not yet met are three specific instances in book 8 that prove this values importance to the Greek culture.Aphrodite is the wife of Hephaestus, a blacksmith, and a god. Ares the very athletic and very handsome god is sleeping with the Goddess Aphrodite behind Hephaestus' back. Hephaestus' friend and messenger, Hermes, becomes aware of the affair taking place and informs Hephaestus. Cunning Hephaestus, upset and angry, begins plotting his revenge. He first forges an unbreakable chain that will ensnare the two fornicators when they again lie in bed together. Next, he tells his wife that he is leaving to visit his favorite city, Lemnos. During his short trip he has Hermes spy on the two, so that when they lie down together and get caught in the chains, he can inform Hephaestus and he can return to catch them in bed. His cunning plan works, he has Ares and Aphrodite trapped in the bed, and calls the other gods to come and witness the wrong that has been done to him. The gods all come in and see what has happened. They utter such phrases as "Crime doesn't pay" and "Ares has to pay the fine for adultery" on page 116. Poseidon pleads with Hephaestus, "Let him go, and I will ensure he will pay you fair compensation before all the gods." This is a story that is told to an entire banquet and many people are surely going to hear it. I'm sure this story to the Greek culture served more as a teaching technique for children and young men then for mere entertainment. We still use the same technique today to teach lessons to children and adults alike. Rather than stating a lesson such as, "if you commit a wrong, you will pay for it", it is far more memorable if you can physically see or visualize the same lesson in a specific example. In out society today we see many movies and a very prevalent theme throughout many movies is the fact that crime doesn't pay, just like Poseidon says. It is very similar to the idea the bad guy never wins. Of course the bad guy can't win. If the bad guy wins, everything we have been taught to be right and everything we are taught to be wrong get mixed up. The story of the affair between the god and the goddess just proves that even stories within stories as old as the Odyssey must have lessons that follow the lessons of society. After all, if the gods, Greece's top "citizens", must pay for the wrongs they commit, it stands to show how important paying for wrongs is to all the people of Greece.Next we come to the argument Euryalus has with Odysseus. Euryalus is rude and offensive to Odysseus. He challenges him not only in athletics, but also in his lineage and honor. The king Alcinous recognizes...

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