Homer: Moods, Shared Great Events, Remembrance of the Greatness of Tales Told/Remembered
Likewise in the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is not permitted to arrive home until he overcomes his biggest challenge, fixing his prideful attitude. The purpose of the passage found in Book V lines 65-102, is to reinforce Odysseus’ image as an epic hero and his loyalty to his family and homeland, in spite of challenges that arise that attempt to deter him from returning home. The structure and language utilised by Homer builds up the meaning of the passage; creating a contrast from the lush and enchanting feel of the goddess Calypso’s estate, to the grief of Odysseus being away from his homeland Ithaca and his family, including his loyal wife Penelope. Homer inserted an array of symbolic descriptions to create the warm and luxurious mood of Calypso’s abode.
Homer is an “it” – a tradition, meaning Homer is not an actual man who wrote poetry, but is a name given to stories that were created by retelling of epics. The final versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad may have been made by gradual changes to an oral story which eventually were credited to Homer the Poet. In The Odyssey, the main story is about King Odysseus of Ithaca and his journey to get home after the Great War of Troy is over. Odysseus is one of the first heroes in story telling that is seen as a full person. He may have a few god-like qualities, like his courage, good-looks, and strength as a warrior, but he also has the bad (or more human) parts of him that bring him down a peg. He is extremely arrogant and takes chances that aren’t really necessary, occasionally causing the demise of those around him, but he is fueled by love to get back to his wife, Penelope. He is a complete character, instead of a God that has no flaws, which is most likely the reason so many people resonate with him and appreciate The Odyssey and Odysseus’ adventures. For the first time, characters like Odysseus were being created in stories and spread around, which would be the basis for many stories in ancient Greece, and in today’s literature. The theme of Pride is rampant throughout The Odyssey, as Odysseus is very much full of himself. He is very boastful in the way he acts and talks about how great he thinks he is. An example of Odysseus being extremely arrogant about his action is when, after he has blinded Polyphemus, the cyclops, and is in his ship sailing away, he yells, Cyclopsif any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so??”say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca! Yelling his full name and the place he lives at a giant cyclops who he just blinded is an unnecessary risk on Odysseus’ part, and a very dangerous one at that. The possible hazards of exposing himself as the one who stabbed Polyphemus’ eye don’t matter to Odysseus because he is so prideful and wants to show how strong and powerful he believes himself to be.
He also shows courage in the many things he does to make it back to his home and fight when he gets there. Odysseus shows all the traits of being a great hero in modern times, and he truly is one.
Homer, E V. Rieu, and D C. H. Rieu. The Odyssey. London: Penguin Classics, 2009. Print.