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Odyssey Essay Topics & Paper Examples

The Conflict Between Ulysses and Neptune in Homer’s “Odyssey”

The work Odyssey has always been extremely interesting to me. I have seen many movies based on the story and have been fascinated with the conflicts between humans and gods. In my essay I discuss the conflict between Ulysses and Neptune, by pointing out the latter is Ulysses main antagonist. I love the fact that Ulysses is a very heroic character and there is plenty of evidence about this in the work. Neptune is like the bad guy in the story and Homer had created a dark vibe around him. While writing this paper I discovered that I can think creatively and enjoyed it a lot. When I started just jotting down my thoughts I couldn’t stop. It was getting…

The Odyssey Book vs. Movie Version

In our world of advanced technology, we love to watch movies more than we love to read. Sitting in front of a flat-screen TV while eating popcorn and drinking soda would sound much more appealing than reading a book by the fire at night while drinking a frappucino from Starbucks. Now, producers and directors would take successful and famous stories and adapt it into a movie. Sometimes, they would succeed, with examples being the Harry Potter series, which received mainly positive reviews from both critics and the audience. However, most of the time these people would unknowingly butcher the book based movie by taking out many important characters and events, with good examples being The Lightning Thief and Eragon. Then…

Arabian Nights: Sinbad the Porter and Sinbad the Sailor

Sinbad the Porter and Sinbad the Sailor Like the 1001 Nights the Sinbad story-cycle has a frame story, which goes as follows: in the days of Haroun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad, a poor porter (one who carries goods for others in the market and throughout the city) pauses to rest on a bench outside the gate of a rich merchant’s house, where he complains to Allah about the injustice of a world which allows the rich to live in ease while he must toil and yet remain poor. The owner of the house hears, and sends for the porter, and it is found they are both named Sinbad. The rich Sinbad tells the poor Sinbad that he became wealthy, “by…

Epic vs. Tragic – Macbeth and Odysseus

When different literary works are examined similarities and differences are noticeable. This remains true in The Odyssey by Homer and The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The Odyssey’s main character is a courageous soldier named Odysseus who faces many obstacles on his journey home. The Tragedy of Macbeth includes a power obsessed king with the name of Macbeth. Homer’s Odysseus and Shakespeare’s Macbeth compare in their ambitions and their positions in society, but they also contrast due to the fact that Odysseus is an epic hero and Macbeth is a tragic hero. Odysseus and Macbeth’s similar ambitions drive them to get what they want. In Odysseus’s case it help him to return to his home, “All hands aboard;/ Come,…

The Virtuous Beings

Modern society glorifies people for much pettier accomplishments when compared to that of the ancient times. During the twenty-first century, a convicted felon may come back after serving a prison sentence and present himself as a figure of perfection. Less than five years ago, a football player, named Michael Vick was arrested and convicted of illegal actions involving the maltreatment of domesticated animals. Shortly after serving his sentence, he was once again beloved by his fans and rewarded with a phenomenal contract which would be worth wild in any corresponding lifetime. Looking at these examples, it’s easy to see how corrupted society is today. In the ancient world, their society was very more virtuous. Because of the different virtues of…

The Odyssey: a God’s Influence

The story of The Odyssey was greatly influence by the Greek gods. Throughout the book, the gods influence characters, greatly having an effect on the outcome of those characters. In the story, Telemakhos, son of Odysseus, is one of those dynamic characters, morphing from a distraught boy to a hero of great proportions. Although there are many gods, it was mainly Athena who had a part in his transformation. His change is constant and occurs during the entirety of the story, however, there are a few key times when Athens presence really pushes him closer to being that ideal Greek hero. These few times include when Athena first visits him in his fathers hall in book I, when he is…

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift. It is an honor; a spark; an excitement. We all have a world of our own. A wise author, Albert Camus, once stated, “you will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life” (Albert Camus). Life is about living to your fullest abilities; why waste our time looking for the meaning of each breath we take? Each person is a part of life. Each life has a world of its own. I believe that the meaning of life, defined by Victor E. Frankl, is to find meaning in our own life. Each and every person on this planet…

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift. It is an honor; a spark; an excitement. We all have a world of our own. A wise author, Albert Camus, once stated, “you will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life” (Albert Camus). Life is about living to your fullest abilities; why waste our time looking for the meaning of each breath we take? Each person is a part of life. Each life has a world of its own. I believe that the meaning of life, defined by Victor E. Frankl, is to find meaning in our own life. Each and every person on this planet…

Is Odysseus a Hero

I feel that Odysseus, like any person, can be a hero at some times and very selfish at other times. During the war in Troy, Odysseus was surely a hero, thinking smartly and protecting his men well. However, in books nine through twelve, Odysseus is definitely not playing the role of a hero among his crew. On almost any page you turn to in the book, you can find some act of selfishness coming from Odysseus. During his journey, Odysseus performs many courageous acts. At the island of the Lotus Eaters, he rescues his men from the addiction of the lotus flower. After the Cyclops captures them in his cave, Odysseus blinds the Cyclops with a sharpened log. Then Odysseus’…

Compare and Contrast Iliad vs. Odessey

The Iliad begins with Chryses, a prophet of Apollo, coming to a Greek camp and offering valuable “penalty tokens” requesting the return of his daughter who the Greeks had captured in a raid. Because Agamemnon believed she was rightfully his, he refused. Most of his fellow Greeks wanted him to return her in order to avoid conflict. In order to preserve his time (honor, respect, value), Agamemnon brings danger to them all. Chryses prays to Apollo and a plague is released upon the Achaeans. Achilles, a basileus in the Greek army, suggests seeking insight from the prophet Calchas. Upon doing so all are informed that Agamemnon is responsible for the plague because he refused to return his geras (prize), the…

Odysseus as a Leader

In the epic poem The Odyssey Homer, Odysseus has the ability to be a very good leader, but doesn’t always live up to it. Odysseus is a good leader because he thinks a lot of things through. Therefore, he knows what to do ahead of time. Another reason Odysseus is a good leader is that he knows when to trust his crew. Odysseus can be a bad leader because he doesn’t always tell his crew everything. Also, he doesn’t always have common sense. Odysseus is a bad leader because of his bad decisions. Odysseus is good at analyzing things to make them perfect so that nothing goes wrong. In the Odyssey, he and his crew go into a cave to…

Parallel Motivations in the Iliad and the Odyssey

The Iliad and the Odyssey were poems written by Homer about events in Greek mythology. The Iliad detailed the final year of the Trojan war, which pitted the Greeks against the Trojans, and this poetic story described the outcome of the war. Homer’s Odyssey describes the adventures of Odysseus (Ulysses, as he was known in Roman mythology) as he tries to return home, to Ithaca, following the Trojan War. But there is one them that is present in both of these poems, and that is that when everyone is longing for home, disaster and further complications always arise. In the Iliad, the Greeks are trying to wrap up the war quickly, because many of the men miss their homes, but…

The Odyssey Themes

Sorrow, Suffering, Grief, Agony, Distress, and Misery: According to Greek Mythology the act of being human demands that you must suffer and there is no escape from pain, it is the price you pay to be human. “By nights he would lie beside her, of necessity, in the hollow caerns, against his will, by one who was willing, but all the days he would sit upon the rocks, at the seaside, breaking his heart in tears and lamentation and sorrow as weeping tears he looked out over the barren water. “(5. 54-158) Mental suffering Penelope, Telemachus grew up w/o dad: “swerved aside, leaving his long spearshaft lodged in Amphinomus”(Book 22-100). When T kills A he shows Odysseus that he grew…

The Role of Women in The Odyssey

The Odyssey, by Homer, is an epic poem based on the story of an ancient Greek hero, Odysseus, and his twenty year journey—ten years spent fighting in the Trojan War and the other ten spent traveling home. In the poem, Homer presents the theme of the role and nature of women. Men were the dominant gender in ancient Greece, and women, who were inferior, were only valued for their beauty and their ability to reproduce. However, in this poem, Homer both exemplifies and defies those standards by presenting certain female characters with qualities that show the various stereotypes in ancient Greek society. Through several of the female characters, Homer portrays women in three different ways. The first type of woman…

The Heroic Journey of Odysseus

In almost all of the stories that have been written, there is a journey that the character undertakes to become whole and balanced, also known as the heroic journey. In the first stage of the journey, the departure, the hero leaves their known world and begins their adventure. After the hero undergoes the departure, they then move on to the next stage, the initiation, where they are put through tests and venture into the world of hero or magic or the previously unknown. The third and final stage is that of the return, where the hero must return back to his home. A perfect example of someone that underwent the heroic journey is Odysseus from the epic poem, The Odyssey…

Social Structure in Homer’s Odyssey

Homer’s epic, ‘The Odyssey’, is a lengthy poem that recounts the Trojan war hero, Odysseus’ arduous and protracted journey home to Ithaca. In it, Homer accentuates the somewhat feudal nature of his world, a societal structure that far more resembles his own than that which actually existed in Mycenaean Greece, less to supplement the story, but rather to serve as the primary focus. Despite the feudal qualities of the world that Homer relates, the poem is almost entirely devoid of class conscious thinking. Instead, the primary source of structure comes from the household. The ‘Odyssey’ serves as something of a champion for the oixos (Ancient Greek for the household as an entity) mentality, particularly in the face of threats of…

Comparison of Characters in the Odyssey

In Homer’s famous epic poem The Odyssey he displays the characters with a wide variety of morals. These morals influence decisions made by them which provide a looking glass for the reader to see their true nature. In a certain scene, the characters discuss Odysseus to what seems to be a beggar; however, the beggar is truly Odysseus in disguise. One way to clearly test a person’s character is through an idea provided by Bob Sutton: “The best judge of character is how he or she treats those with less power” (Sutton). Melanthius, Philoetius, and Ctesippus all are examples of how Sutton’s theory applies to people. Through making observations on how the selected characters act when speaking with the disguised…

Odyssey- Odysseus’s Behavior

Odysseus’s behavior was ironic when he deliberately concealed part of Circe’s prophecy from his men because when Odysseus and his men went through Scylla, all of the men were scared and some of the men were killed. In the Odyssey it said that: “My men all blanched against the gloom our eyes were fixed upon that yawning mouth in fear of being devoured” (Homer886) This quote showed that Odysseus’s behavior was ironic because since he did not tell his men that they were going through Scylla so they were terrified. The men just saw this huge whirlpool in the middle of the sea and were not really pleased to hear that they were going through that and not knowing the…

Gilgamesh and Odysseus

Odysseus main challenge is to help defeat the Trojans in the battle of the Trojan horse. All the men who survived the war and the sea were safely back at home, other than Odysseus, he still had a long journey ahead of him. In the beginning of his journey, his challenge was brought upon him by the powerful God of the sea Poseidon. Poseidon became Odysseus enemy after a Cyclops held him and his crewmates captive. After escaping the Cyclops, Odysseus blinded it with fire and his sword. The Cyclops was the son of Poseidon, after telling his dad what happened Poseidon became full of rage and swore to Odysseus that he would pay for what he had done, and…

The comparison of the Memory for Forgetfulness and The Odyssey

Memory for Forgetfulness is written by Mahmoud Darwish in 1995 and it explains how a person can forget things. The Odyssey is written by Homer in the year between 750 BC and 650BC and it also explains the idea of memory and forgetfulness. The Odyssey is a poem written by a very young woman who lived at the place now called Trapani. Some critics have called the Memory for Forgetfulness has the modern Palestinian odyssey. In the Memory for Forgetfulness, in the first paragraph we see that the characters are forgetful. He does not know when they meet or when they part. You can also see the aspect of memory when the characters say that they remembered that they had…

The ancient greek code of honor as demonstrated in Iliad and Odyssey

The Ancient Greeks are a proud people who placed a supreme importance to their accepted ideals of heroic honor. In some instances, fulfilling the duty of the code of honor was considered more important than saving their own lives (Perry 66). The Greek believed that an honorable man is able to keep or defend his woman. The Greek male are often portrayed as courageous and heroic and for him to lose a woman is a blight to his manhood (Perry 66). Iliad is a story of war between the Greeks and the Trojans. In Book 3 it is revealed there that the cause of the seemingly pointless war was to redeem King Menelaus’ honor when his wife, Helen, was kidnapped…

Women in “The Odyssey”

In Homer’s The Odyssey, women are looked at in two ways; as being the evils in the world and hindering on Odysseus’s homecoming or as being loving and faithful. On his journey home, Odysseus weaves his way through many hardships and temptations that are created by the women he meets on his voyage back to Ithaca. Calypso and Nausikaa play a large role in representing temptation while Penelope represents loyalty for she was the only good and loyal woman who waited for Odysseus to return home unlike Clytemnestra who found a new lover. Calypso, a nymph from the island of Ogygia, took in Odysseus who had been shipwrecked after the Trojan War. After falling in love with him and wishing…

The Relationship Between Telemachus and Odysseus

Telemachus is often overshadowed by Odysseus many heroic deeds and conquests; while Telemachus attempts to be just like his father, he never earns the full respect of those close to him and is never seen as a true figure of power or authority in others eyes or even in his own. In Book 2, the suitors mock Telemachus for his weakness and indecisiveness. Eurymachus writes off the omen of the fighting eagles, voicing his belief that Telemachus (whom he refers to as the boy [l. 212]) cannot follow through with his tiresome threats because he lacks the power to challenge the suitors. Later, Leocritus states that despite encouragement from the elders, Telemachus will never make the journey to uncover information…

A reflection of Odysseus and Modern Day Heroes

Written about two thousand and seven hundred years earlier, the Odyssey is still influencing modern storytelling today. Odysseus, the legendary Greek king of Ithaca and protagonist of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey was recognized as a great hero of his time. He was known for his defining qualities of superior strength and athleticism, sharp intellect, sensual ness, and a thirst for glory. These character traits are still being used to attribute modern day fictional heroes such as Neo, Captain Jack Sparrow, James Bond, and Spiderman. Accordingly, the heroic qualities of Odysseus can be still be seen in today’s modern day fictional heroes. Odysseus’s superior strength and athleticism resembles to modern day character of Neo in The Matrix. In the Odyssey,…

Recklessness in the Odyssey

Odysseus’ overdeveloped pride and arrogance led him to act recklessly in Book Nine of the Odyssey. This caused unfortunate scenarios for both Odysseus and his men. Odysseus had a lot of pride. This is shown when he states that he is “known to the world” and that his fame “has reached the skies” – book 9 line 21-22This is the pride that he has of his name, which leads to his questionable judgment. He regarded as a great hero and that makes him believe that his decisions cannot be wrong. It is very interesting that in the Greek culture where reputation is so significant, it is the very thing that leads to his damaging behavior. Odysseus shows recklessness throughout the…

The Odyssey vs The movie “O Brother Where Art Thou”

The Odyssey, is a legendary tale written by David Adams Leeming. This epic tells the story of a wise man named Odysseus who struggled to return back to his homeland, Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. In comparison to the text, the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou,” has a similar plot and is based on The Odyssey. In the movie, Ulysses Everett McGill is the main character played by George Clooney. Everett and Odysseus both encounter different struggles in their journeys throughout the movie and the book; however, both characters’ main goal was to be reunited with their families back home. The first and most obvious similarity between the movie and the text are the main character’s names. In…

Duality in “The Odyssey”

Odysseus exhibits a certain duality in his nature that defines his persona and controls his actions. In Book Nine of The Odyssey, both oppositional sides of Odysseus are poignantly illustrated: the tactful, crafty leader who uses reason, and the rash warrior in search of home and glory who acts impulsively. From the opening scene, Odysseus uses his cunning and charm to win the respect and honor of the Phaeacians and their king, Alcinous. This is shown when he states, What a fine thing this is, to listen to such a bard/as we have here—the man sings like a god./The crown of life, Id say” Clearly, Odysseus is trying to flatter and win the favor of his hosts in order to…

Hospitality and Destiny in the Odyssey and Sundiata

Princeton’s Wordnet defines hospitality as “[the act of] cordial reception: [or] kindness in welcoming guests or strangers.” Since the start of this semester, we have read about two different journeys in which hospitality plays an important role in fulfilling the destiny of the main character. In Homer’s Odyssey, many examples of this are apparent, whether they are for the benefit or the downfall of the protagonist Odysseus. However, Odysseus is not the only one whom hospitality rules. His son Telemachus also is affected by his hospitality towards others. In Niane’s Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, the theme of hospitality runs thick throughout the narrative, as Sundiata is greatly affected by how the other characters receive him. If it were…

Criticism of Homer’s “The Iliad”

Homer’s Iliad would have been severely criticized by Socrates, as depicted by Plato in The Republic. Plato is critical of Greek literature and mythology and even went so far as to propose a system of censorship in the ideal city. Plato believed myths to be lies and thus the propagation of these lies should be halted in society. In The Republic he wrote, “Whenever they tell a tale that plays false with the true nature of gods and heroes…they are like painters whose portraits bear no resemblance to their models.” In this excerpt, Plato is saying that when literature “plays false with the true nature of gods and heroes”-which means depicts false information-it paints a false impression of reality. Therefore…

Leadership qualities of Odysseus throughout the book

Throughout the Odyssey, the lead character, Odysseus, is presented as the ideal Greek leader. He demonstrates this through the treatment of his men and how he deals with problems that are presented to him. Because the Odyssey was first a spoken myth, it took on the shape of the society in which it was told. Including that society’s moral and ethical values, as well as its desires in the traits of a leader. A leader must first be defined, then set apart from other potential leaders, then the leader must be tested through his actions, only then can a definite leader be defined. First, one must define the ideal Greek leader. An ideal Greek leader commands the respect of those…