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Importance Of Character In Homer's Odyssey

1135 words - 5 pages

Importance of Character in Homer's Odyssey

 

Odyssey, by Homer, is about Odysseus, the king of Ithaca.  Odysseus fights in the Trojan War and wins.  He travels towards Ithaca but does not reach it because he is not in favor of Poseidon, god of the sea, who prevents his return.  For many years, Odysseus wanders the seas and has many adventures.  Meanwhile, suitors attempt to marry Penelope, Odysseus' wife, but she remains faithful to her husband.  The gods pity Odysseus and assist in his safe return to Ithaca. Though Odysseus has the help of the gods, his personal qualities contribute to his survival in the seas and the return to his family in Ithaca.  Odysseus' personal qualities of bravery, self-discipline, and intelligence also help him to survive.

 

            Bravery is one of Odysseus' qualities that enable him to survive his adventures.  In one adventure, Odysseus encounters the goddess, Circe who has turned his men into pigs.  Eurylochus escapes from Circe and tells Odysseus what has happened.  When Odysseus offers to rescue the men, Eurylochus says that no man can return alive.  Knowing this, the brave Odysseus says, "very well, Eurylochus, you may stay here in this place, eat and drink beside the ship.  But as for me, go I must, and go I will" (Line #).  In another adventure, Odysseus must visit Hades, the kingdom of the dead.  When he arrives, he takes out a cup of blood for the prophet, Teiresias, which attracts all of the dead souls.  "All this crowd gathered about the pit from every side, with a dreadful great noise, which made me pale with fear" (Line #).  Despite Odysseus' fear, he shows his courage by remaining calm, protecting the cup, and talking to the souls.  In another adventure, Odysseus is forced to sail his ship past the six-headed monster, Scylla.  Circe warns him of Scylla and says, "She is no mortal, I tell you, but an immortal fiend, dangerous, deadly, savage, invincible" (line #)!  Nevertheless, Odysseus bravely sails his ship past Scylla knowing that he and his crew may be eaten alive but also that this is the only way home.  Because of Odysseus' bravery with Circe and Scylla and his bravery in Hades, he is able to survive his adventures at sea.

 

            Another quality that enables Odysseus to return home and restore his kingdom is self-discipline.  Menelaus gives one testimony to his self-discipline.  He tells Telemachus, Odysseus' son, about Odysseus' army that hid inside a wooden horse.  The horse was taken inside the enemy walls of Troy.  Everyone inside the horse wanted to say something but Odysseus was patient and did not say anything, nor did he let anyone else say a word.  Anticles would have said a word, according to Menalaus, but "Odysseus held...

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