The Odyssey: A Tale Of Redemption

2749 words - 11 pages

The epic poem called The Odyssey, which was written by the poet Homer, is one of the many classical stories from Ancient Greek culture. It tells the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaca, and his journey back home from the war with Troy, which had occurred in Homer’s other epic Greek poem, The Illiad. Odysseus faces many trials and quests in his journey home and to take back his kingdom from the suitors, such as meeting the witch Circe, blinding a Cyclops named Polyphemus, dealing with Poseidon, and staying with the goddess Calypso. The poem has many themes that are relevant to it. One such theme is the factor of redemption. Redemption is usually a typical subject in any kind of religion, like the Greek religion and Christian religion. The story of Odysseus has an underlying message of him receiving redemption from the Greek gods. The Odyssey is a tale of redemption because it deals with Odysseus being forgiven by the gods after having to go through many trials and wrongs to rightfully claim back his wife and the throne of Ithaca.
What exactly does the term redemption actually mean? M. Wayne Clark, in his editorial titled “Redemption: Becoming More Human” in Expository Times, gives his own thoughts and ideas on what this word really means. Clark says that this word has several specific meanings. One of these is that “‘redemption is salvation from the states or circumstances that destroy the value of human existence itself’” (76). This is saying that this term is about being forgiven for past sins and crimes that someone has committed. Sins and crimes are known to be very fragile to someone’s right to exist as a human. Clark says another way that redemption can be defined is that it is a type of forgiveness that removes someone’s shame, as pointed out by Dr. William Cotton. This definition of redemption can occur in various relationships, such as a relationship with the community, other people, personal beliefs, and God (77). This is true because if someone does something wrong, a way that they can achieve redemption is having good relationships with people in their lives. It is a good thing to show what kind of person someone can be. Clark finally says that redemption is too strange of a word. Dr Larry Vandecreek says that a better word to use is forgiveness (77). Most people can agree with this statement because forgiveness is more recognizable of a word than redemption. Comparing these two terms is the best way that someone can understand what the definition of redemption is.
Redemption is one of the many themes that can be found in The Odyssey. However, there is one type of redemption that is not in The Odyssey at all. Hillel Halkin, in his editorial called “Sailing to Ithaca”, describes this type of redemption. This is the redemption of loss, which Halkin describes as “the idea that, although nothing can be restored, everything that has happened can be changed by adding to it” (75). This idea of redemption does not seem to be apparent in The...

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