“The Odyssey” is an epic poem that tells the story of Odysseus and the story of his many travels and adventures. The Odyssey tells the main character’s tale of his journey home to the island of Ithaca after spending ten years fighting in the Trojan War, and his adventures when he returns home and he is reunited with his family and close friends. This literary analysis will examine the story and its characters, relationships, major events, symbols and motifs, and literary devices.
There is a copious amount of major characters in the story. Some of them include Odysseus, the main character, who is a soldier and returns home after a twenty-year absence. Some of his family includes Laertes, his father, Penelope, his wife, and Telemachus, his son. There are many gods that Odysseus must battle on his journey home, including Zeus, who is said to be father of all gods, and Poseidon, the god of the ocean who punishes Odysseus and his crew by giving them a very difficult trip home after they blind his son, Polyphemus, or the Cyclops by blinding him after stabbing him in the eye. Another major character is Calypso, a sea goddess who is in love with Odysseus.
Some of the major relationships in the story are the relationship between Odysseus and his men, because they view as a hero and are willing to do anything for him. Odysseus also has a very close bond with Telemachus, his son, and his loyalty to his father can be seen when he travels to Sparta to look for his father when he has been absent for so long and near the end when he helps his father defeat the suitors. An important negative relationship that Odysseus has is his relationship with the suitor Antinous. When Odysseus returns, Antinous and his men are trying to take over his house, which causes he and Odysseus have very negative feelings towards each other. Odysseus also has a very loving and devoted relationship towards his wife Penelope, whom he enters the challenge for in order to win her hand in marriage. Before he returned, he had to avoid temptations of women such as Calypso and Circe.
There are several major events in the story, and there is major conflict that be seen in these events and the manner in which they must be handled. One major event occurs when Odysseus must decide whether to pilot his to drive past the sea monster Scylla, and lose six of his men, or pilot it to the whirlpool Charybdis, and lose all of his men. The conflict can be seen because Odysseus must decide to take the lesser of two evils, which is to lose his men to Scylla. Another major event is early in the story when Odysseus and his crew encounter Polyphemus, also known as the Cyclops. Odysseus lies to the monster and says his ship has been pulverized by the ocean. Odysseus and his men place a large stone door in front of the monster’s cave, but they realize they are not strong enough to move it. They stab the Cyclops in the eye, subsequently blinding him and he chases the men, which leads to the monster opening the...