OdysseusOutline I. Introduction – In Homer’s The Odyssey the tale of a man’s journeyback home after long years at war is also the tale of a man’s spiritual journeythrough his own soul. II. The beginning – Odysseus leaves Troy feeling almostimmortal and this pride is what leads to his downfall and second rise. III.
Themiddle – Odysseus undergoes his symbolic death and rebirth. IV. The end -Odysseus has regained power over his household and has restored order to hislife. V.
Conclusion In Homer’s The Odyssey, the tale of a man’s journey homeafter long years at war, is also the tale of a man’s spiritual journey throughhis own soul. Odysseus’ role as an epic hero is modified throughout the epicpoem. As Odysseus leaves Troy for home, he is the typical bloodthirsty warrior. During the course of his trek, he undergoes a symbolic death and rebirth. Uponhis arrival in Ithaka, the wiser man he has become is evident. The Odyssey isOdysseus’ story of his journey not only from Troy to Ithaka, but also frombloodthirsty warrior to epic hero.
Odysseus begins the tale of his trip fromTroy to Phaiakia in Book IX. The beginning of his tale displays the bloodthirstywarrior that left Troy. What of those years of rough adventure, weathered underZeus? The wind that carried west from Ilion Brought me to Ismaros, on the farshore, A strongpoint on the coast of Kikones. I stormed that place and killedthe men who fought.
The first lines of Odysseus’ story display his warrior side. This passage shows how he and his crew landed and immediately went to battle andplundered. Although Odysseus recalls telling his men to stop afterwards andreturn to the ship, he never really forcibly tried to make the men return. Thelack of effort on Odysseus’ part implies that he did not truly care if the menransacked Ilion. Due to this greed and bloodlust, nearly a third of each ship’screw was lost.
This bloodthirsty warrior cared only for battle and blood,instead of his men and his return home. After stopping on the island of Aiaia,the home of Kirke, Odysseus journeys to Hades. This represents a symbolic deathfor Odysseus. There he must speak with Teirasias to hear the prophet’s visionsfor Odysseus’s journey home.
Teirasias predicts that the journey can take twopaths; either a peaceful journey home, or if the crew and Odysseus can notrestrain their desires, death and destruction will befall the crew. Odysseus andhis crew do not heed Teirasias’s warning, and the entire crew save Odysseus islost at sea. After nine years on Kalypso’s island Odysseus finally continues hisjourney home. The strong god glittering left her as he spoke, And now herladyship, having given heed To Zeus’s mandate, went to find Odysseus In hisstone seat to seaward-tear on tear Brimming his eyes. The sweet days of his lifetime Were running out in anguish over his exile, For long ago the nymph hadceased to please.
Though he fought shy of her and her desire, He lay with hereach night, for she compelled him. But when day came he sat on the rocky shoreAnd broke his own heart groaning, with his eyes wet Scanning the bare horizon ofthe sea. Odysseus had begun to lose hope of ever getting home. Kalypsogrudgingly gives in to Zeus’ order and aids Odysseus in obtaining wood for aship. After nineteen days at sea, he is battered in a vicious storm and washesup half-unconscious, bloody, and naked in Phaiakia. This episode represents asymbolic rebirth for Odysseus.
His time of incubation on Kalypso’s isle is overand he emerges naked and bloody – like the day he was born. Once he has landedon Phaiakia, Odysseus realizes that he can not continue on as a bloodthirstywarrior, but rather must heed the wisdom passed on to him by those he met inHades and change his outlook. It is at this point that Odysseus begins to fullycomprehend the effects his actions have on those around him, as well as on hisfuture. Only now is he truly ready for his tumultuous return to Ithaka. By thetime Odysseus returns to Ithaka he is no longer the fierce warrior he was whenhe left Troy. Instead, he has changed into a man desperate to reclaim his throneand home.
Unlike the bloodthirsty warrior he once was though, Odysseus does notrush in and fight; instead, he bides his time and gathers assistance. Evenwithin his own home he does not reveal himself but issues a warning to thesuitors. Of mortal creatures, all that breathe and move, Earth bears nonefrailer than mankind. What man Believes in woe to come, so long as valor Andtough knees are supplied him by the gods? But when the gods in bliss bringmiseries on, Then willy-nilly, blindly, he endures. Our minds are as the daysare, dark or bright, Blown over by the father of gods and men.
So I, too, in mytime thought to be happy; But far and rash I ventured, counting on My own rightarm, my father, and my kin; Behold me now. No man should flout the law, But keepin peace what gifts the gods may give. Odysseus’ journey has taught him manyvaluable lessons. Through his trials and tribulations he has learned that eventhe strongest of men have their hidden weaknesses. He has also learned that aman is not as strong as he wants to be; a man is as strong as the gods want himto be. Odysseus tries to warn the suitors that to continue down the path whichthey are on is not a wise decision, but no one heeds his warning.
Odysseus hasrevealed that he now knows the error of his ways, he fully admits to the evil inbeing a prideful warrior. Odysseus has proven himself a changed man, thusbecoming a true epic hero. Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey tells the story of aman who through extreme turmoil realizes his faults and learns to be a morebalanced individual. Through a symbolic death and rebirth, Odysseus has become aman who is worthy to be called an epic hero. Odysseus has battled his fellow manand won; he has struggled with monsters and triumphed; he has grappled withtemptation and overcome human desire; but most importantly, he has combatedagainst the evils of his own soul and prevailed.
It is all of these victoriesthat form Odysseus, the epic hero. BibliographyHomer. “The Odyssey. ” Translated by Robert Fitzgerald. New York,New York: Random House, 1990