Odyssey Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

Values of The Odyssey You've been gone from your family and friends for 20 years. Do you have the drive to continue? To have the chance to see your wife and son after so long, can you go on? In one of the most famous epics of all, Odysseus continues his journey home, to be reunited with his wife and son again. The Odyssey delineates the tasks to be overcome by Odysseus and his men. Throughout this adventure, there are many risks to be taken and values that are derived from Ancient Greece.The first value portrayed in this epic is that of courage. In Odysseus, courage is impulsive and it is shown in many ways. Distinctly, an example of courage is when Odysseus encountered the Cyclops. Anyone caught in a cave of a prodigious, unsightly, man-eating creature, with one immense protruding eye, would become squeamish under fear. On the other hand, Odysseus saw this as a challenge to be overcome by tricking the huge creature, Polyphemus. "My heart beat high now at the chance of action,/ and drawing the sharp sword from my hip I went/ along his flank to stab him where the midriff/ holds the liver..."(L.244- 247) Only the most fearless man would have such courage to attempt facing a giant like Polyphemus alone.The next values shown are self control and quick thinking. These values are represented also by the confrontation of the Cyclops. Self control was represented by Odysseus once again by him being able to maintain a calm while seeing his men getting swept up for a cannibalistic feast by Polyphemus."...in one stride he clutched at my companions/ and caught two in his hands like squirming puppies/ to beat their brains out, spattering on the floor./ Then he dismembered them and and made his meal..." (L. 233- 236) Odysseus was able to remain calm and still be able to decide not to kill him then, like a man usually would, but to wait till morning for he and his men it would be impossible to move the large boulder blocking the exit. In addition, an instance of quick thinking that was very beneficial was when Odysseus first introduced himself to Polyphemus, as Nohbdy. "Cyclops,/ you ask my honorable name? Remember/ the gift you promised me, and I shall tell you./ My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends,/ everyone calls me Nohbdy."(L.312- 316) This helped him and his men when they drove the 6 foot spike into his only eye, Polyphemus cried out for help, and the other Cyclopes thought otherwise. "Nohbdy, Nohbdy's tricked me, Nohbdy's ruined me!" This quick thinking on behalf of Odysseus was used as a perfect deception. Furthermore, and example of self control is when Odysseus returns home after 20 years and see's his wife and son, but is able to maintain his composure to assure himself that Penelope had been true to him. "O my dear lady.../... Do not enforce me to recall my pain./ My heart is sore; but I must not be found/ sitting in tears here, in anothers house:/ It is not forever to be grieving."(L.1298- 1303) In this passage Odysseus has disguised...

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