Odysseus’ Search For Purpose In Homer's Odyssey

1430 words - 6 pages

Odysseus’ Search for Purpose in The Odyssey

     As a wayfarer in life, The Odyssey focuses on life’s greater purpose through the fulfillment of destiny, perseverance, and loyalty. These three themes recur continuously throughout Odysseus’ journey, molding life’s greater vision. Odysseus comes to understand his purpose in life by remaining true to these major themes as he faces and conquers each obstacle in his journey.

The overarching theme of The Odyssey is the belief that man cannot escape the destiny which has been preordained for him by the gods. Destiny plays a vital role in the survival of Odysseus throughout his adventures. As Odysseus languishes on the island of Calypso, Hermes commands her to free Odysseus in order for the will of Zeus to be carried out, "This is the man whom Zeus now bids you send away, and quickly too, for it is not ordained that he shall perish far from friends; it is his lot to see his friends once more and reach his high roofed house and native land" (47). It is evident that Zeus does not want his predetermined plans for Odysseus to be altered by any being, mortal or god, and will not allow anything to stand in the way of the destiny he has set out for Odysseus.

Although no mortal can escape his destiny, it is the more heroic mortals that attract the attention for (better or worse) of the gods. Odysseus’ bravery in battle fascinated the gods, causing them to take a special interest in him. During Odysseus’ trip to the underworld, he meets with Hercules who relates to the special notice that the gods have taken in Odysseus, " high-born son of Laertes, ready Odysseus, so you, poor man, work out a cruel task such as I once endured when in the sunlight, I was the son of Kronian Zeus, yet I had pains unnumbered" (113). Hercules expresses his sympathy to Odysseus, for he understands what it is like to be a pawn in the god’s game of destiny. Odysseus’ freedom to make his own decisions is altered my what the gods have preordained for him.

Not only do the gods have control over the day-to-day destiny of mankind, but they also decide the circumstances of each mortal’s life. No matter how a mortal struggles, he will die under the conditions that the gods have set out for him. Eurymachus explains to Penelope, "Death from the gods can no man shun"(161). Eurymachus seeks to comfort Penelope by pointing out that worrying about the fate of her loved ones is useless, since their fate will be decided by the gods and once it has, there is no escaping it.

Throughout Odysseus’ journey he is able to persevere against the overwhelming odds he is faced with. The driving force behind Odysseus’ perseverance is his hunger to get home; his crew however does not share this passion and therefore lacks the strength of character to fight on. Odysseus looks back on his life or death struggle as his ship is lost in Poseidon’s storm, " out of the ship my comrades fell and then like sea-fowl were borne by the side of the black...

Find Another Essay On Odysseus’ Search for Purpose in Homer's Odyssey

The Trials of Odysseus Depicted in Homer's Odyssey

674 words - 3 pages ” (181). Odysseus followed Kirke’s directions to the letter, and successfully received the knowledge of the great prophet and appeased the dead. If he had not done exactly as the goddess had commanded, he would have been killed by the departed for not respecting them. In The Odyssey, characters suffered and endured situations and experiences that shook their foundations until they began to question their identities. Such was the case with Odysseus

The Trials of Odysseus of Homer's Odyssey

1654 words - 7 pages The Trials of Odysseus  Homer's epic poem The Odyssey was written after his Iliad which told the tales of the Trojan War. This Odyssey told of the wanderings of a prominent warrior and ruler, Odysseus. Odysseus fought in the Trojan War and, after the Greeks claimed their victory at Troy, began his prolonged journey home. During his travels Odysseus faced many obstacles which he had to overcome. Through his wanderings, Odysseus had to

is odysseus, the greek hero in homer's odyssey, a TRUE hero? : odysseus as a hero

862 words - 3 pages that normal people may never have and thus who we admire or look up to." As it is defined that a hero affects the society, obviously, a hero reflects values, ideas, and beliefs of a particular time period. This perhaps is the most important meaning of a hero. Homer, one of the greatest Greek writers has portrayed a hero, who satisfies the definition mentioned above in an epic poem Odyssey. In Odyssey, Odysseus, the king of Ithaca and the greatest

Odysseus: Hero or Villain? Compare odysseus to modern-day CEO's, with relevance to situational ethics in Homer's Odyssey.

1015 words - 4 pages and adjusted on a situational basis, in accordance with relative truth. We then find Odysseus of Homer's Odyssey greatly corresponds to some modern day CEO's and their respective practices.Sam Waksal, former CEO of ImClone, allegedly informed close friends and family about the denial of the company's cancer drug Erbitux before publicly announced ("With Insider Trading, The Key is Who Knew What and How They Knew It," Catherine Valenti, abcnews.com

herody Odysseus as Epic Hero of Homer's Odyssey

1034 words - 4 pages Odysseus as Epic Hero of Homer's Odyssey        Homer's epic poem The Odyssey is about Odysseus' ten-year journey home from the Trojan War and what Odysseus has to do when he returns.  The journey itself is quite a story.  Odysseus and his men come in contact with many obstacles that they must overcome and there are more hurdles to jump when Odysseus reaches his destination.  Odysseus is an epic hero who, besides showing superhuman

Loyalty in Homer's Odyssey

592 words - 2 pages Loyal Relationships in Homer's Odyssey Loyalty is heroic. Loyalty is defined as faithfulness or devotion to a person, cause, obligations, or duties. In Homer's Odyssey one can see loyalty in many forms. Odysseus is loyal to the gods whom he realized held his life in their hands. Penelope was loyal to Odysseus, while trying not to offend the rude suitors. Telemachus was loyal to a father whom he only knew from the stories he had been told

Life in Homer's Odyssey

1228 words - 5 pages The Odyssey:  Life    Odyssey a long series of wanderings filled with notable experience and hardships, or in other words the journey of life. Homer's The Odyssey is an epic poem telling of one man's journey. Odysseus, the chosen traveler of this Odyssey, represents the will and perseverance of all humanity. Odysseus' journey symbolizes the true toils of mankind's development through, agility, doubt, and faith. In life

Women in Homer's Odyssey

1961 words - 8 pages       As Agamemnon tells Odysseus, “Let it be a warning even to you. Indulge a woman never, and never tell her all you know. Some things a man may tell, some he should cover up.” (P.199, Book XI) This is not a revelation for the wayward King. Odysseus treats all women he encounters with the same caution alluded to by Agamemnon when the shade tells him how his treacherous wife Clytemnestra acted in a way that defiled all women kind. Agamemnon

Leadership in Homer's, The Odyssey

754 words - 4 pages crisis. According to Barbra White, author of "Seven Personal Characteristics of a Good Leader", "Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose […]," (White, 1). In Homer's, The Odyssey, Odysseus remains calm when him and his crew pass through the strait of Scylla and Charybdis when all of his men are fearful, and want to give up. Odysseus assures them that he will get them through the tough

Deception in Homer's The Odyssey

1384 words - 6 pages Cor. 11: 14). Deception is used for many different psychological reasons and it is used in Homer’s The Odyssey by many characters in the poem, including mortals, gods and goddesses. Odysseus is a man of many faces: war hero, adventure seeker, devout Hellenist when he chooses to be, and even bloody murderer. The face he is most known for in The Odyssey, though, is a cunning and deceitful face. As he is planning to escape the cave of the one

Double Standard for Women of Homer's Odyssey

1937 words - 8 pages ” would downplay Homer’s legendary depiction of personality shift and character mutability of Odysseus in The Odyssey. According to Okham’s Razor there is a large possibility that all the aforementioned interpretations are for naught, if the simple answer is best and final. The careful reader, however, will disregard Okham momentarily to pursue more than meets the eye.      Leading up to this scene, Melanthios, the goatherd, attacks Odysseus

Similar Essays

Odysseus Of Homer's Odyssey Essay

712 words - 3 pages “ Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy.” (Homer page 751 lines: 0-4) That was an opening prayer from The Odyssey. The Odyssey is about a 20 year-long travel of a man named Odysseus. He traveled to Troy facing the dangers on many mythical creatures and many fictional

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

Odysseus As Pawn Of The Gods In Homer's Odyssey

1661 words - 7 pages Odysseus beseeches the gods for aid, but other times he is too foolhardy to receive aid from even the immortal gods. In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus’ journey revolves around the cyclical phases of his dependence, independence and his return to reliance upon the gods’ aid. While with Calypso Odysseus relies upon the gods to decide whether he shall return home or if he is fated to stay with the nymph goddess. Though Odysseus is powerful amongst

The Amazing Leadership Of Odysseus In Homer's The Odyssey

825 words - 3 pages tough, the tough gets going and that’s exactly what Odysseus did when the Trojan War started. On the journey back Odysseus shows how much courage he really has.” Only the ghost of Great Ajax, son of Telamon, kept his distance, blazing with anger at me still for the victory that I had one by the ships that time I pressed my claim for the arms of prince Achilles.” – (P. 267, L. 620) In this segment Odysseus just beat the ghost Ajax for Achillies armor