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My Response to: The Odyssey

Updated on January 11, 2016

The Odyssey

Homer’s The Odyssey is, much like The Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient and classic example of the hero’s journey. In this story, the hero, Odysseus, (or Ulysses, as he is referred to in the Latin based versions of the text) goes through a journey, which, ultimately, is a quest to get home. The desire to go home—to go back to family and the familiar—is a relatable desire, which is what makes this story timeless.

Odysseus’s call to adventure comes not in the Odyssey, but rather, in the Illiad, when he first answers the call to go to war against Troy. He willingly accepts this call to adventure, but, afterwards, he is left shipwrecked and wanting to return home. This becomes Odysseus’s journey: a journey to return to his family and home in Ithaca. Odysseus states this quite explicitly when he says, “I want to get home, and can think of nothing else” (Book V, para. 18). The reader can then consider the first threshold to be his arrival to Troy, and the Gatekeeper, the actual Trojan war, the aftermath of which leaves him separated. All this takes place in the course of the Illiad’s timeframe.

Society of the Machine

When a power hungry robot named Sudokus tries to take control of the galaxy, Earth becomes the last safe haven. It is then up to the humans, and what else is left of the rebellion throughout the solar system, to try to halt Sudokus’s progress. But Sudokus won’t easily be stopped, as he is fighting for more than imperial gains. He is also fighting to preserve his immortality.

Follow Leon’s journey as he attempts to save himself and his planet from being forever ruled by a machine while simultaneously trying to answer the question of whether the corruption of a robot would be any worse than the corruption of the people in power on his own planet.

Society of the Machine

Society of the Machine: Leon
Society of the Machine: Leon

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Continued

If this assertion of when Odysseus’s journey begins is correct, then readers of The Odyssey can easily view this text as the Road of Trials. Everything—from the Lotus eaters, to Hades, to Scylla, and everything in between—is all a trial on Odysseus’s path home. Odysseus ultimately does make his return home to Ithaca, where his journey now only requires the elimination of the suitors who have been harassing his wife, Penelope. Penelope’s wit at creating the contest which only Odysseus could complete allows him to conquer this final trial. Atonement with the father also comes in the story, when Odysseus meets with his father, Laertes. Odyesseus does not need to atone with his father in the sense that he did anything to aggrieve him, but the meeting does affirm that Laertes loves his son, as he begins crying over him. Homer writes, “A dark cloud of sorrow fell upon Laertes as he listened. He filled both hands with the dust from off the ground and poured it over his grey head, groaning heavily as he did so” (Book XXIV, para. 19). Laertes “sorrow” is enough to prove to Odysseus that his father loves him, so he reveals his identity and they eat a meal together.

As for Telemachus’s journey, it largely consists of him becoming an adult. He must help Penelope fend off the suitors, but, without Odysseus in the house, he must also assume the “patriarch” role. In this way, Odysseus’s departure not only signals his own call to adventure, but also begins Telemachus’s. From here—which is the separation point, since Telemachus is separated from his father—Telemachus is immediately thrown into the Road of Trials, which consists of him fighting off the suitors, largely in the background of the story. Homer shows some of this when Odysseus speaks to his mother’s ghost and she says, “Your wife still remains in your house, but she is in great distress of mind and spends her whole time in tears both night and day. No one as yet has got possession of your fine property, and Telemachus still holds your lands undisturbed. He has to entertain largely, as of course he must, considering his position as a magistrate, and how every one invites him” (Book XI, para. 14). By virtue of their journey’s being intertwined from the beginning, Telemachus’s “return” coincides with Odysseus’s ; but the two have different boons. Odysseus’s main boon is that he has defended his home in the war, whereas Telemachus’s boon is that he has learned about adulthood. As Odysseus atoned with Laertes, Telemachus atones with Odysseus. It appears Telemachus has gone through more of a character change than Odysseus, because Telemachus has been forced to grow up from the young boy he was at the beginning. Odysseus has gone through emotional changes, because whereas he begins The Odyssey without much hope, he gains confidence throughout until his ultimate success.

Question

Have You Read The Odyssey? (Did You Enjoy it?)

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Question and Answer

Do you believe there is significance to the differences between Greek heroes like Ajax, Achilles, and Odysseus?

I'm not too familiar with greek mythology, so I won't say too much on differences between the heroes, but I do know that the differences between the heroes is significant. DIfferent heroes have different qualities which represent things like pride, loyalty, etc. I don't know exactly what there is to be said about this, but I know that the differences are certainly significant in understanding Greek culture.

Do you think one can consider Penelope as the mortal version of Athena/Minerva or vice versa?

The question of if Penelope can be considered the mortal version of Athena is an interesting one. While there are certainly similarities, I would have to say, with great deliberation, that the answer is no. They have similar characters, but different motivations, and as a result, I don't consider them parallels. I could see the counter argument though. It's certainly something to think about.

Continued

Women had a surprisingly fair portrayal in this story. To be clear, the story was no feminist manifesto. It generalized and stereotyped women at certain points; however, with this said, the story still shows women in a virtually equal footing to men. Perhaps the strongest female character is Penelope, who exercises her free will in order to remain loyal to Odysseus, and in her greatest feat, devises the plan that will ultimately allow her to rid the house of unwanted suitors. Home writes, “Minerva now put it in Penelope's mind to make the suitors try their skill with the bow and with the iron axes, in contest among themselves, as a means of bringing about their destruction” (Book XXI, para. 1). Other female characters, like Circe, offer significant help to Odysseus along the way, which is a much more positive portrayal of women than is seen even in some modern media, where women are only the stereotypical “damsel in distress.” There could be some argument over whether Homer’s implication of women as temptresses is overdone or unfair, but, overall, Homer seems to portray a balanced view of the sexes.

The main reason to conclude that Homer wrote fairly about women, is that Homer shows how the women can significantly and independently impact the journey. Whether it be goddesses like Calypso and Circe providing assistance to Odysseus, or mortals like Penelope showing a strong will, women take action in this story, rather than assume a passive role. This, combined with the timelessness of Odysseus’s journey, is what makes The Odysseus a story that has survived for so many centuries.

My source was from Project Gutenberg, specifically, this file: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1727/1727-h/1727-h.htm#link2H_4_0008

The Odyssey

Contact Info.

If you are looking for a writer, please contact me via my social media, or through hubpages. I have experience in many different areas with strengths in journalism and creative writing.

Please consider checking out the book Society of the Machine and feel free to offer me any feedback, positive or negative. Be on the lookout for the sequel as well, which is likely to come out this summer (as of now, untitled).

For more of my writing, keep posted to this hubpage, or check out my work for The Griffin at http://www.canisiusgriffin.com/

Bio

If you are looking for a writer, please contact me via my social media, or through hubpages. I have experience in many different areas with strengths in journalism and creative writing.

Please consider checking out the book Society of the Machine and feel free to offer me any feedback, positive or negative. Be on the lookout for the sequel as well, which is likely to come out this summer (as of now, untitled).

For more of my writing, keep posted to this hubpage, or check out my work for The Griffin at http://www.canisiusgriffin.com/

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