The Importance Of A Sound Mind And Body In Homer's Odyssey

1281 words - 5 pages

The Importance of a Sound Mind and Body in Homer's Odyssey

 
    If one were to only have a very fit and strong body, lacking mental ability,

to the Greeks it would not suffice. If a man were merely smart and intelligent,

without much physical capability, the Greeks would feel that he is not complete.

They believed an individual must have have both, a well developed mind and a fit

body, not only one or the other, to be ideal. This is the Greek concept of a

sound mind and body. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus and Telemachos, had to have

and/or achieve a sound mind and body, to be the successful and outstanding

characters of the epic. The ones who lacked these quality suffered and paid for

it in the end.

 

      In Books one and two, Telemachos acts immaturely and lacks mental

prowess. For this reason he makes his life difficult. Yet, Later on he matures

and gains a sound mind. Telemachos certainly has a sound body. Menelaos says of

how "...it amazes me quite, how this young man(Telemachos) looks exactly like

Odysseus, strong and mighty"{page 47}. Yet, he is criticized by others, for the

reason that he does not have a sound mind. In an attempt to stand his ground, in

front of the council he breaks down into tears. Antinoos says "Telemachos you

are a boaster, and you don't know how to keep your temper!"{page 24}. Telemachos

made an attempt to express his valid point of view, and does so, but fails to

convince the council. He breaks down in tears, showing how immature he really is.

He does not have a sound mind. The council basked in this weakness and was even

more critical of him at that point. Later on, he is told of how "(Telemachos),

you speak like a man of sense, you are older than your years, your father is

just the same, you get it from him."{page 48} As his adventure progresses he

grows to be a more complete man, to eventually fighting along side his father

against the "hangers-on"{page 17} that are "tormenting Penelope"{page 16}, to

rid them from his home once and for all.

 

      Odysseus was triumphant in The Odyssey for the reason that he was a man

who was astute and very clever, at the same time strong and robust. Odysseus,

the man who is never at a loss, was so because he had a sound mind and body.

Odysseus was so ingenious that "he pretended to be a beggar, and entered the

city of Troy and [The Trojans] where all taken in"{page 49}. He was so powerful

that "he leaned hard on (the pole) from above and turned it round and round

(into the eye of the mighty giant Cyclops, blinding him)." He was so quick with

his words, that he could "Appeal to Nausicaa, (so) she brought him to her

father's house"{page 73}, when he was washed up onto shore naked and bruised,

and after swimming for two days. Time and time again, through the many obstacles

he encounters, he...

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