Odyssey Response Paper

1602 words - 7 pages

True wisdom is an understanding or insight into human nature, and knowing how we should act based on our nature. The Odyssey is a story that has many examples of true wisdom in it. The story does this by following the progression of Odysseus, a Greek war hero, growing in wisdom over the course of his journey. Odysseus undergoes many hardships and struggles, and through these he grows in wisdom. At the end of his journey Odysseus has many problems at his home, where he hasn’t been in twenty years, and there he uses his wisdom to solve these problems correctly.
Homer’s first line in the Odyssey introduces Odysseus as a man who is never at a loss. “This is the story of a man, one who was never ...view middle of the document...

Not only is wisdom needed for cunning to be used in ‘good’ ways, but wisdom also is required for cunning to be used in ways that will accomplish what you desire. Wisdom, however, is also needed to direct our passions and goals in the right way through our nature and “Natural Law”. Aigisthos killed Agamemnon when he returned home so he could take over his throne (p. 143). This wasn’t wise of Agisthos, because although his goal was to kill Agamemnon, it wasn’t based off our true human nature, rather our twisted nature, and he ends up being killed ny Agamemnon’s son for his unwise deed. The reason that it is wise to want to accomplish goals in life is that it is in human nature to want to succeed, but we want to be driven to succeed good goals, not evil ones, and therefore it is important to how we act with wisdom. Without wisdom Odysseus’s cunning is used in ways that aren’t helpful for him. He cunningly saves himself and his men from the Cyclops, Polyphemus, but, unwisely he boasts about it and brings doom upon his crew (pp. 118). This is one of the ways Odysseus showed himself to be clever and resourceful in different situations, but it also illustrates the necessity of wisdom. Indeed, he was only able to make it home to his family from the Trojan War by using his cunning intellect in wise ways. Odysseus had come up with an ingenious plan to rid his house of the suitors, but he knew that the plan needed to be done slowly, so he was wise to be patient and hold his temptation to be rash (p. 221). Even though Odysseus had to hold back many times, he was able to keep his thoughts and mindset on his goal, and therefore accomplish it.
In order to be wise it is necessary to have to the virtue of humility because it is the center of all the attributes in wisdom. Two of these attributes are self-control and self-knowledge, which are closely related to each other. Humility is essential to having self-control because it allows us to recognize when it is not our place to do something. Self-knowledge also requires humility because we need to be un-bias in order to truly know who we are, and what our place is and act according to what we should do based on our self-reflection. Odysseus is aware that he is very dependent on Nausicaa and that he needs to plead for any help he could get (pp. 78-79). This is an example where Odysseus now understands human nature and he realizes through humility and self-knowledge how he should act in a way that would be beneficial to him. Odysseus’s crew are frustrated that Odysseus always gets the gifts, so out of jealousy and pride they lose their self-control and disobey Odysseus, causing them to get lost at sea (p. 120). This mistake was caused by a lack of humility, which ultimately clouded their judgment, leading them to make bad decisions. Humility not only helps us realize how we should act through self-knowledge and control, but it also helps us learn how we should act because with humility it is easier to ask for...

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