An Analysis of the Journey of Odysseus

The Humbling of Odysseus

The Odyssey presents its readers with many moments of grief – Penelope grieves over the possible lack of her husband, Telemachus is riddled with the grief the suitors give him by trying to take over his lacking father’s estate. Perhaps probably the most hanging instance of grief is during Odysseus’ entrapment on Calypso’s island, Ortygia. Odysseus’ grievance and longing for house is a departure from the robust and brave angle we count on to see from a ‘Trojan War Hero’.

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An essential query that we face whereas trying to realize a deeper understanding of the textual content is what ‘nostos’ or ‘returning home’ means to soldiers. Odysseus leaves home for a similar cause most different soldiers do – to realize ‘kleos’, or ‘glory’. However, ‘nostos’ holds a twin that means for Odysseus – the overall that means of homecoming, and the personal meaning he attaches to it of ‘coming to’. By dramatizing the difference between Odysseus’ present circumstances during his homeward voyage and his internal desire to return home, grief opens up and elaborates the inside space of his character in a way that his heroic actions don’t.

Until Book 5, we’ve solely heard wonderful struggle tales about Odysseus from King Nestor, King Menelaus and Helen as they move on information about Odysseus to Telemachus. However, Odysseus is introduced to us in Book 5 in a very emasculated method, crying on the seashore on Calypso’s island. This underwhelming introduction is in stark distinction to the Odysseus that’s portrayed within the tales and factors to a change in his character.

“But as for Great Odysseus- Hermes could not discover him throughout the cave.

Off he sat on a headland, weeping there as at all times,

Wrenching his coronary heart with sobs and groans and anguish,

During his seven years on Calypso’s island, Odysseus offers with having no active problem. He has no method of being a hero in Ortygia. He has no control over his entrapment because he has no method to escape. The word Calypso means ‘eclipse’ and Odysseus’ keep on her island is like an eclipse of the life he has known and what he has known of himself until this point, as a warrior and a hero. He experiences an outpour of emotions like longing and frustration as he grieves for residence while being caught on Ortygia. This represents his transition from the trajectory of a ‘War Hero’ to a man who accepts his grief, desperation and helplessness on the island.

Odysseus’ identification is redefined through his grieving period. This can be seen by comparing his old habits with the difference in the method in which he handles situations that occur after his encounter with the Underworld. Earlier, Odysseus’ habits seems reckless, as he always needs to explore the model new lands he comes across throughout his journey back residence. For instance, he needs to explore the land of the Cyclops, “I’ll go throughout with my own ship and crew/ and probe the natives dwelling over there. What ‘are’ they- violent, savage, lawless/ or friendly to strangers, god-fearing men” [217/173-177], despite being unsure of whether or not it is protected or not. He tries to achieve glory by making a reputation for himself in as many foreign lands as he comes across. This creates a pressure between ‘kleos’ and ‘nostos’ as a result of the readers question the urgency with which Odysseus wants to return home.

Odysseus makes an error in judgment when he reveals his name to the Cyclops, putting his men and himself into danger and prolonging their suffering and arduous journey. As the ship sails away from the Cyclops’ island, Odysseus reveals his id to the Cyclops against the needs of his men – “So they begged however they could not convey my combating spirit spherical.”[227/556-557] It is his ‘hero’s heart’ that Odysseus must learn to curb earlier than he can return to the civilized life at Ithaca. The very qualities that served him in battle defeat him in peace.

However, after Odysseus’ encounter with the Underworld where he meets the prophet Tiresias, when his ship is reaching the island of the Sun, he says to his males, “Here they warned, the worst catastrophe awaits us. Row straight previous these shores – race our black ship on.” [279/299-300] Here we see Odysseus making an attempt to restrain his thirst for adventure. He seems to have learnt his lesson from the grief he experiences after his encounter with the Cyclops, caused by Poseidon, who makes his ‘nostos’ more difficult because of storms on the journey back.

This restraint can also be seen when he returns to Ithaca. He avoids the pompous mistake that received Agamemnon killed. He seems to have become more cautious. Instead of arriving all hyped up and victorious, he disguises himself as a beggar. When Eumaeus, the loyal swineherd, and Odysseus are going into town of Ithaca, they come across the goatherd Melanthius who insults and taunts them and tries to injure Odysseus. “Odysseus was torn… ought to he wheel together with his employees and beat the scoundrel senseless? – Or hoist him by the midriff, break up his cranium on the rocks? He steeled himself as a substitute, his mind in full management.”[362/256-260] This response may be very completely different from the impulsive behavior we see earlier with the Cyclops. Subsequently, the Homeric epithet attached to Odysseus’ name additionally adjustments from ‘cunning’ to ‘cool tactician’ after his return.

Thus, we see that Odysseus goes to war as a masculine prototype – brave, robust and recognized for his ‘cunning’. However, he returns to Ithaca asleep on a bay the place the Phaeacian ship had dropped him. Odysseus’ arrival at Ithaca is modest. In Book 23, when Penelope finally sees Odysseus, she thinks, ‘One second he seemed…Odysseus, to the life- the next, no, he was not the person she knew, a huddled mass of rags was all she saw”. [458/107-110] Although this is probably meant literally because Odysseus is dressed as a beggar, it may also be interpreted in a metaphorical sense because the modified Odysseus could also be unrecognizable to her. He is longer the hero who has control over his males and every state of affairs he is in as he did during the struggle, however he’s now weak to the grief that has matured him, as he learns to curb his ‘warrior’s heart’.

The Odyssey ends without throwing gentle upon Odysseus’ second journey the place, based mostly on Tiresias’ recommendation, he must leave home again and make sacrifices to appease Poseidon. “But after you have killed these suitors in your halls – … go forth as quickly as extra, you must…” [177/176-178] Only as quickly as he does this, can he finally be at peace. However, the story ending earlier than Odysseus sets off once more can recommend that he by no means does actually achieve peace of thoughts.

Thus, the Odyssey beckons the readers to assume about the deeper, common questions – Can troopers ever actually be themselves again after experiencing war? Odysseus’ Hero’s Journey changes him as it leads to his ‘coming to’. His image of a Trojan War Hero and his heroic actions painting him as a two-dimensional and unchanging character, repeatedly depicting him as ‘cunning Odysseus’. However, his moments of grief present character development as he matures in an emotional sense as a end result of he accepts his incapability to control each scenario he’s in and his vulnerability to grief. Thus we see within the Odyssey that grief plays a more vital role in Odysseus’ development than his heroic actions do.

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