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Odysseus Essay

1073 words - 4 pages

In Homer's Odyssey, he uses the stories of Calypso and Circe to give a reader a glimpse at Greek values. Odysseus is a "perfectly" moral man by Greek standards. In the Calypso episode, Odysseus demonstrates the value of faithfulness, and in the Circe episode, he illustrates Greek values in general. While both goddesses seek Odysseus to be their husband, Odysseus responds as a perfect Greek hero. During the Calypso episode, Homer teachers that one must remain faithful in their hearts. The Circe episode shows the loyalty between a commander and his troops, burial rights, hospitality, and the relationship between host and guest. The Calypso episode explains how a man must be faithful to his wife in his heart.
The Calypso scene opens with a description of how beautiful her island of meadows and flowers is and how "even a deathless god who came upon that place would gaze in wonder, heart entranced with pleasure" (154). The story proceeds to describe the goddess as having a "breathtaking voice" (154) and being "lustrous" (155). Yet, when the story describes Odysseus, he is "wrenching his heart with sobs and groans and anguish" (156). Even though, Odysseus resides on a beautiful island with a goddess who takes care of him, he still wishes to be at home. Odysseus recognizes that fact that the island is beautiful, but he still longs to be at home. Additionally, Odysseus remains faithful to Penelope, not by modern day standards, but he chooses Penelope over the goddess. When Calypso questions Odysseus, he recognizes that fact that Calypso is more beautiful. Odysseus even mentions that Penelope "falls far short" (159) of Calypso, but yet, Odysseus's heart is with Penelope. Next, Odysseus must build a raft himself. Yet, he finds this labor minimal since he is given a chance to return home. He even realizes that he may become shipwrecked or die on the voyage, but he is willing to take these risks to return home.
The final temping offer to make Odysseus turn away from his home and his wife is when Calypso offers him immortality to stay with her. Again, Odysseus chooses his land and his wife. In modern times, sleeping with a goddess would be considered unfaithful, but Greek values allow this if and only if the man still wishes to return home and return to his wife. Thus, one of the highest values for a Greek was to be faithful to their home and their wives in their hearts. The stories involving Circe describe several values. The stories describe hospitality, the loyalty between a commander and his troops, the relationship between host and guest, and burial rights.
When the story begins with an analysis on how guests ought to be treated. Circe is an enchantress who welcomes some of Odysseus's troops into her home for food and drink. Then, she made a potion that would clear their memories so that when she struck them with her magic wand, they turned into pigs. Zeus or Hermes must have witnessed this...

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