Learning Temperance In Homer’s Odyssey Essay

1541 words - 6 pages

Learning Temperance in Homer’s Odyssey

Being a work of importance in the western tradition of philosophy, The Odyssey is much more than some play written by Homer ages ago. Though The Odyssey certainly is a dramatic work and partially intended for entertainment, it also provides insight into the ways of thinking of the time it has been written in. Aside from illustrating the perspective of early Greek philosophy The Odyssey also raises certain questions pertaining to virtues and the morality of actions undertaken therein. Such questions and the pursuit of their answers may also lead to a better understanding of the actions taken in present-day society and the human condition in general. One of the virtues that is present throughout The Odyssey is temperance, or the lack thereof. In the course of Odysseus' journey, numerous events take place which are determined by the actions of Odysseus' himself, as well as those of his shipmates. In fact, the endeavor here is to portray how the delays and troubles encountered by Odysseus and his crew are due to their inability to exhibit proper self-restraint in conduct, expression, and indulgence of the appetites. This is undertaken in the proceeding text by an examination of two specific episodes from Homer's The Odyssey. The first episode being Book X of The Odyssey, entitled "The Grace of the Witch", containing Odysseus' encounter with the goddess Kirke. The second being Book V under the title of "Sweet Nymph and Open Sea," of how Odysseus departs the island of the nymph Kalypso. Both episodes are intended to demonstrate the importance of temperance in the journeys of Odysseus.

Prior to a discussion of how temperance affects The Odyssey, it is good to discuss the concept of temperance in order to avoid a potential misunderstanding of the term and its application. As stated earlier, Odysseus and his crew tend to lack self-restraint in conduct, expression, and indulgence of the appetites. Thus, the mention of temperance is to henceforth refer to that precise self-restraint in conduct, expression, and indulgence of the appetites. However, it is also to draw upon Aristotle's notion of the mean. When it comes to moral virtues, Aristotle provides the concept of a mean in order to determine how much or how little of a specific attribute is to be exhibited by a character so that the proper dosage may become a moral virtue. The deficiency or excess of the attribute in question thus determines the resulting character of the individual. In the instance of fear, a deficiency produces recklessness (Baird). This can be related to The Odyssey well by taking the encounter with the Kyklopes and the blinding of Polyphemos by Odysseus companions. If Odysseus were satisfied with the amount of food attained prior to Polyphemos' return, and not be so greedy as to go and take the stores of the Kyklops too, he may have returned to Ithaka years before his actual homecoming. Such is the course of action taken...

Find Another Essay On Learning Temperance in Homer’s Odyssey

Essay on Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey

899 words - 4 pages Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey   During the course of history, the world has seen many fine works of literature like Homer’s epic, Odyssey. This book is a standard against which to compare all literary novels. The symbolism permeates the pages drawing the reader into the intriguing plot that includes twists within the central theme. Also, the author intelligently uses imagery and diction painting dramatic images in

The Realtionship of a Father and Son in Homer’s Odyssey

1027 words - 4 pages With time come change, change in the human experience. That fact applies no differently to literature, specifically reflected through reading ancient prose with a modern lens. A relevant example is the relationship of a father and son in Homer’s Odyssey. Through characterization on the surface, this significant relationship appears quite distinct in contrast to such relationships today. However, these quite humane and sentimental relationships

Xenia and Hospitality in Homer’s epic The Odyssey

815 words - 3 pages “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9). Hospitality can lead down a path of happiness and joy when ensued. In Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Xenia is an important factor in the foremost important character’s journey home. The role of xenia in the odyssey when followed can be very beneficial and when not followed, deadly. When abiding by

The Role of Women in Ancient Greece as Depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey

894 words - 4 pages The Role of Women in Ancient Greece as Depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey Women as Citizens For this informative report I will attempt to point out the roles women and how they are viewed in ancient Greece. I will then show how these views are present in Homer’s "The Odyssey." How are women, goddess or mortal, conveyed in "The Odyssey?" "The Odyssey" was written around 700 BC during the Archaic period (750 – 550 BC). This was a time of

Loyalty Conflicts between Family and State in Homer’s Odyssey, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and

3396 words - 14 pages Loyalty Conflicts between Family and State in Homer’s Odyssey, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Antigone Everyday we are faced with hundreds of decisions. Some of the decisions take very little time and are made without a second thought. Other decisions hold more at stake and can tear a person in two while trying to make the final decision. The basis of many of the hardest decisions is the conflict between family and state

Fate in Homer’s Odyssey

1252 words - 5 pages Humans, and sometimes immortals, blame gods for the ill fate of men until kleos is introduced to be a factor in the direction of fate, which leads to the realization by some that the individual’s intentions cause fate when given the ability to make their own choices. Humans and gods accuse dieties of causing bad luck in the beginning of the novel. When Odysseus meets Elpenor in the Underworld, the shade tells him: “‘Son of great Laertes

Comparing the Hero in Homer’s The Odyssey with the Modern Hero Described in Whitman’s I hear America Singing

682 words - 3 pages One of the main similarities in ancient Greek epics is that there are always great heroes who overcome many difficult and daunting challenges and goes on long adventures. The issue of heroic stature and the character of the hero have a great importance on the epics itself. Classical Greek heroes are usually born to do great things, go on epic journeys and in the end they would receive a reward for their troubles. In Homer’s the Odyssey

Greek and Roman culture in Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aenied

1033 words - 4 pages Both Homer and Virgil were great writers who wrote about the same war from two different perspectives. Because both writers came from two different backgrounds, Homer being Greek and Virgil being Roman, their culture became the theme of the epic heroes journey as warrior being either Greek or Roman. The Odyssey, written by Homer, is a heroic tale about the adventures of Odysseus in his pursuit of returning home to his wife. The Aeneid

A Comparison of the Role of Women in Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad

3409 words - 14 pages The Role of Women in Odyssey and The Iliad The Iliad and Odyssey present different ideals of women, and the goddesses, who are presented as ideal women, differ between the two epics. The difference in roles is largely dependent on power, and relations to men, as well as sexual desirability and activity. The goddesses have a major role in both epics as Helpers of men. They have varied reasons for this.  One is a maternal instinct. This

The Birth of the Gods in Homer's Odyssey

1584 words - 6 pages The Birth of the Gods in The Odyssey     Prehistoric man did not question his existence and reality - he just lived as one with nature. When prehistoric man awakened from this simple existence into the world of intelligence, he began to question his existence and reality. Homer’s The Odyssey demonstrated man’s attempt to cope with their own nature through the illusion of the gods, by using them to carry their burdens of hopelessness

The Odyssey Landscapes

1480 words - 6 pages The Odyssey Landscapes, discovered on the Esquiline Hill in Rome in the nineteenth century, are Roman paintings set within a Second-style scheme (Ling 1991, 110). Ling argues that many scholars believe that the artist of the paintings may borrow heavily from prototypes of the original masterpiece (1991, 110). Positioned 5.5 meters from the bottom of the wall, the masterpiece depicts Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, when Odysseus arrives at the land of

Similar Essays

The Static Character In Homer’s Odyssey

1005 words - 4 pages The Static Character in Homer’s Odyssey The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by W.H.D. Rouse (between 900 and 700 BC.) is "The best story ever written" (7). This is a story about a man named Odysseus Laertiades who went off to war. After winning the war, he and his men were heading home when their ship got off track. They ended up in the land of the Cyclops. They were held captive by a god's, Poseidon Earthholder, son. Odysseus came up with a

Essay On Rationality In Homer’s Odyssey

1080 words - 4 pages The Importance of Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey   In the epic poem, Odyssey, Homer provides examples of the consequences of impulsive and irrational thinking, and the rewards of planning and rationality.  Impulsive actions prove to be very harmful to Odysseus. His decisions when he is escaping the cave of the Cyclops lead to almost all his troubles through his journey. As Odysseus flees the cave, he yells back "Cyclops - if

Deception And Disguise In Homer’s Odyssey

1355 words - 5 pages Homer’s Odyssey challenges the common view on deception as employed only maliciously. Both a mortal, Odysseus, and one of the most revered goddesses, Athena, have the common noble goal of bringing Odysseus back home to his family after nearly two decades of absence. To achieve that goal, they mainly use deception and disguise in various forms that their physical and mental powers allow. Odysseus is famous for wittily deceiving others through

Use Of Epithets In Homer’s Iliad And Odyssey

851 words - 3 pages Use of Epithets In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey Throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer’s use of the epithet in describing Odysseus becomes essential as a means of characterizing the hero. Homer uses several epithets, or nicknames, along with the name “Odysseus” as the story unfolds in both tales. Three of these include the descriptive epithet “wily Odysseus,” the laudative epithet “Odysseus, the great tactician,” and the