Helios and the cattle
Every second and every moment is eventually going to prove valuable for the future. In The Odyssey written by Homer, Odysseus, the weathered hero, gains valuable lessons learned in experiences since his departure from Troy. These priceless lessons will help him accomplish his ultimate goal in defeating the parasitic suitors that plague his home. One experience Odysseus endures is the encounter of Helios’ cattle. The prophet Tiresias foretold, “harm them [the cattle] in any way, and I can see it now: your ship destroyed, your men destroyed as well” (11. 127). Odysseus’ men disobey his authority, and seal their fates. Although Odysseus is suffering from grief, he learns three vital lessons that will help him in removing the suitors. Helios’ cattle is the most valuable experience Odysseus faces because of his lessons learned in revealing things at the right time, self-restraint, and that temptation leads to demise.
Primarily, Odysseus will soon learn that revealing things at the right time will become crucially important. At Helios’ island, Odysseus speaks of Tiresias’ prophecy for the first time to his men before they set foot on the island. Even so, “Eurylochus waded in at once- with mutiny on his mind:” (12.301). The problem is that, even though Odysseus reveals the news just prior to Helios’ island, Odysseus’ men do not take heed in his warning. Back in Ithaca, Odysseus must decide when to reveal his true identity to Penelope, his wife. Any flaw in timing may negatively impact his efforts in defeating the suitors. Even when the nurse Eurycleia identifies Odysseus, in an act to continue to conceal his identity, Odysseus shot his right hand out, “clutching the nurse’s throat, with his left he hugged her to himself,” (19.544). Odysseus plans to reveal his true identity only when it’s at the right time.
In addition, Odysseus learns from Helios’ island to exercise self-restraint. Odysseus learns this lesson when he watches his men forget about his word and give into to their hunger. The mutinous Eurylocous tries to justify the slaughter of cows by saying, “If we ever make it home to Ithaca, native ground, erect at once a glorious temple of the Sungod,” (12.182). If the men exercised self-restraint...