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Transforming The Man Of Twists And Turns

1099 words - 5 pages

Life is unpredictable. We make friends and enemies. We live through separation from our beloveds and rejoice in the reunions. We know the joy of new life and the sorrow of death. Yet, these events do not leave use the same as we were before. With every surprise or event, be it foreseen or unforeseen, our perspectives are altered in some way or another. The Odyssey, a centuries-old epic told by the blind Greek poet, Homer, tells the tale of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his incredible transformation as he journeys home from the battlegrounds of Troy. Throughout his journey, he encounters various opponents that force him to either change his ways or face death. Beginning as a hubristic, impulsive, and easily sidetracked warrior, he transforms into a humble, composed, and focused king following the several traumatic events the occur during his travels.
When introduced, Odysseus is easily identified as conceited and arrogant. His hubris is made exceptionally conspicuous during his experience with the Cyclops, Polyphemus. Even after he and his men barely escape the cave and retreat to the safety on the ship, Odysseus continues to yell taunts at Polyphemus, despite the fear and anxiety expressed by his crew. This event is also an example of his impulsive nature, as he does not stop to consider the consequences of taunting the son of Poseidon, the god of earthquakes, nor does he allow the begging of his men to sway his behavior. He calls out, “Cyclops– if any man … should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so–say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye…” (Homer 227). It is these significant acts of hubris and impulsiveness that lead to the curse brought upon him by Poseidon. Also, at various points, Odysseus is shown to be easily sidetracked from his ultimate goal of reaching Ithaca. He distracts himself when he discovers the sustenance within the Polyphemus’ lair and lingers in Circe’s halls far longer than he should have, wasting a year that could have been spent sailing home. In addition, the fact that he is persuaded to continue the journey home only by the urging of his men proves that he is in a state where he needs to keep his priorities in check. Only when Odysseus is forced to face what he fears most does he begin to truly transform.
Odysseus journeys to the Underworld, per Circe’s instruction, to consult the ghost of the prophet Tiresias. However, this meeting did not have a striking effect on him. Upon entering, terror grips his heart as he meets the men he had killed with his own blade. He weeps when he reunites with his dead companion, Elpenor, who had died falling off Circe’s roof while drunk. He is horrified to discover his mother’s ghost and his inability to embrace her. These encounters bring Odysseus to his lowest point in his transformational journey: his abyss. The death of Elpenor presents to him the expectations that his men feel, especially that of a proper burial while his mother informs him of the poor wellbeing...

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