Monsters Within Essay

1534 words - 7 pages

The Odyssey is one of the two epic Greek poems attributed to Homer. The Odyssey is the sequel of The Iliad and mainly focuses on Odysseus’s return from the battle of Troy to his home, Ithaca. Odysseus’s travels take him beyond the realm of the known world and he encounters many mythological beings, which he has never met before. Every encounter with these creatures in The Odyssey is full of adventures, twists and most important of all, life lessons. If we assume Odysseus’s long journey as our life and his desire to go home as our goals, the monsters Odysseus meets on his way home can be considered obstacles that would make us diverged from progressing. In fact these ...view middle of the document...

The Sirens are also the representations of sloth. The Sirens allure Odysseus by singing his heroics in the Trojan War. The more Odysseus listens to the tributes of his victories, the longer he wants to listen. However the crewmen tie Odysseus tight to the mast so that he will not fall into the hands of the Sirens. (Odyssey 12.180-217) Odysseus can continue his sail to his destination because he controls his desire to enjoy his success more than he should. The encounter with these sirens reminds us that we can be content with our achievements in life but cannot be overly in love with the past. If we stop to enjoy our accomplishments, we will not be able to reach our full potential.
Polyphemus is the name of the Cyclops Odysseus met on his way back to Ithaca. The Cyclops is a ruthless savage who lives on a remote island where no civilization can reach. When Polyphemus sees Odysseus and his crew, he ferociously kills and devours two men of Odysseus. Ignoring commonly accepted social behaviors, the Cyclops continues to feast on Odysseus’s crew instead of welcoming them as special guests. For that reason, Odysseus devises a cunning plan to escape from the cave by offering very strong wine to the Cyclops. Once Polyphemus tastes the intoxicating vintage, gluttony overwhelms him. He demands more and Odysseus gladly pours more deadly wine into the giant’s bowl. When the Cyclops is heavily drunk, Odysseus and his men gouge his eye out with a flaming olive stake. (Odyssey 9.322-440) The Cyclops loses his one and only eye because gluttony has overwhelmed him. He is already blinded by the power of deadly sin. This incident strongly reminds the audience that overconsumption of anything (gluttony) should be avoided as it would bring harm to oneself.
After a successful retreat from the Cyclops, Odysseus is fired with wrath because he is devastated by the loss of his men. Moreover another deadly sin, pride, emerges from his mind because his can cunningly escape from the lair. Therefore he recklessly taunts the monster, “Cyclops, if any man on the face of the earth could ask you who blinded you, shame you so – say Odysseus.” His wrongly timed wrath and pride blind him, making his name slip out of his mouth. (Odyssey 9.558-560) The Cyclops, hearing his name, groans and starts to pray to his father, Poseidon. As soon as the god of the sea hears the prayer, his wrath falls on Odysseus. As a result, Odysseus encounters many disturbances from Poseidon throughout his return to home. This event illustrates that when people are blinded by wrath and pride, they lose their awareness and often make impetuous decisions. Impulses can make people sway from their paths and often lead them to pitfalls.
Circe and Calypso are the representations of lust. Both nymphs have intense desire of possessing Odysseus as their better half. Circe represents sacrifices one would have to make in one’s life to get something in return. When...

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