Odysseus Cannot Return Home In Homer's Odyssey

1394 words - 6 pages

Odysseus Cannot Return Home in Homer's Odyssey

    Webster's College Dictionary defines home as: An environment offering security and happiness" and "a valued place regarded as refuge or place of origin." Anyone can build a house but the emotional security a home provides is created by the people who live there. In Homer's Odyssey, the Greek hero Odysseus leaves his home in Ithica to fight in the Trojan war. The Odyssey tells the story of his treacherous journey back to Ithica, and the turmoil he experiences. Due to his strong desire to return to the place he remembered as home, Odysseus endurs the hardships of his journey. He hopes his homecoming will return him to the same home, and same life he built twenty years ago. Odysseus will never truly return home because he is not the same king, husband, or man he once was; He is not capable of recreating the home he once had.

Ulysses' quote," I am part of all that I have met," is the epitome of why Odysseus can never again truly return home. Throughout his journeys he has experienced multiple life changing events. As the quotation states, he has become a part of everything he has experienced. Victimized by kleos, arrogance, and emotional weakness, Odysseus is forever changed from the Trojan war, and his journey home.

Fighting on the battle grounds of the Trojan war, left Odysseus narcissistic, and controlled by his desire for kleos. Odysseus desire for recognition is demonstrated often before he reaches Ithica. It eventually leads to the death of all of his men. An earlier example is the manner in which he dealt with the Cyclops. When Odysseys and his men were sailing back to sea, after escaping the beast, he called out to the already furious Cyclops, "Cyclops- if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so- say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Latertes' son who makes his home in Ithica!" (Odyssey 9.558) Although he used his metis to save himself and his men from the brutish cannibal earlier, his need for kleos returned them into a position of danger. It also angered Poseidon, who would later kill all Odysseus's men, in his efforts to punishing Odysseus. Eventually the self centered "Trojan hero" lead his men to their deaths. Although the situation with Poseidon was the most severe, it was not the first occasion that Odysseus's narcissism was responsible for endangering his men to save himself.

Odysseus and his men landed on the Island of Laestrygonian, on Telpylus heights where the "craggy" Lamus was The land was as usual foreign to the men and Odysseus, as usual, sent his men into the mysterious land to see what was there. Because of his orders the men did not return alive. Directly after losing a ship full of men, they reached the Island of, Aeaea, where the "murderous-minded" sister of Aeetes, Circe, lived. After a few days of rest on the island, Odysseus saw smoke across the island coming...

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