Odysseus was one of the famous Greek poets. He was Laertes and Anticlea’s son and was married to Penelope (a woman thought to be inordinately faithful) and was a father to Telemachus. Odysseus was the king of Ithaca, a favorite place in Athens, and was one of the few Greeks that returned home safely from troy and the Trojan War though it took a long time before they returned. He is believed to have written some poems in the end of eighth century BC. Odysseus was among the leader of Achaeans who have contributed to most part of Greek literature.
In his different walks of life, he is view as a hero and in other side as a failure, in the focus of his bibliography as written by homer, his participation in Trojan war and his tricks that made him stand unique paving way for his success in his missions. He was a family man who focused on achievements and did not believe on failures, he believed in as supernatural power of gods that were making him strong in believe that they were in his support in the victory. The essay focuses on the life line of Odysseus, participation and contributions as well as his character traits as narrated by different poets and other literatures. Joachim, 2005)
Odysseus early life When Odysseus was a young boy, he exhibited on his talent; his main fond was archery and was excelling on it. Young Odysseus was fond of hunting with his dog, Argos, he could not stop doing what he liked no matter the challenges example is when he was gored by a bear and left a scar on his thigh. The scar was a lifetime mark that would help his old nurse Eurycleia when he returned from his wonderings. He was know to mind less about the appearance, some people went far as saying that he had bandy-legged, but when he began talking, he was unstoppable.
His cleverness brought him closer to goddess Athena; he became his protector at troy and later on the sea. Odysseus became one of the original suitors of Helen of troy. He came woo her in Sparta for it was expected of him though his main interest was in her cousin Penelope. To avoid dispute among the suitors that were interested in Helen, Odysseus suggested to her father to help him win Penelope, Helen’s cousin, her father feared the preference of one suitor. Odysseus suggested to Tyndareus to exact an oath to all suitors that they will defend the favored suitor and protect his marriage against anything wrong that may be done to him.
Helen married Menelaus of the cursed horse. Icarius of Lacedaemon, the Penelope’s father, offered his daughter to Odysseus, the man who defeated him in foot race. Penelope’s father, the old king of Lacedaemon was trying to make the newly wedded couples to stay in Lacedaemon but Odysseus refused and set for Ithaca. After much insisting, Odysseus had to bade to his wife either to move with him or return to her father. Penelope did not respond but instead she covered her face which was a clear indication that she wished to move with her husband, this was a clear prove of her cleverness and wily as her husband. Martin, 2007) On arrival in Ithaca, Odysseus had to build a new palace for him and his new bride. The couple got a son, it did not take long before the news came to them that Paris had eloped Helen. After the Paris abducted Helen, her father invoked an oath of Tyndareus, Odysseus refused to make good out of it. He pretended to be mad just to proof his sanity after he avoided hitting a child. (Kayakas, 1988) Odysseus character Odysseus is described as a hero due to his cunning intelligence.
The use of deceptive speech describes him well and is well manifested in his character traits as a peer of Zeus in counsel. His disguising character takes form altering his appearance and verbal, this may be seen in the event when he blinded Cyclops when he told him that his name was nobody the managed to escape after blinding Polyphemus. When polyphemuss was screaming and Cyclops asks him why he was doing that, he said that nobody is hurting him, every one (Cyclopes) thought no one was hurting him and may be he was suffering in the hands of immortal Zeus.
According to Odyssey of Homer, it is evident that Odysseus was arrogant and proud, as he sailed away from the Cyclops’s island, he boasted as he shouted his name saying that no one defeat him ‘great Odysseus’. The Cyclopes were not happy with him and the threw bitter words to him as he tells his father that Odysseus blinded him which enraged Poseidon and caused the god to curse Odysseus home coming and delayed for a long time. (Rodney, 2006) Odysseus events Odysseus events are narrated and given from the middle of the plot; this has been done through flashbacks and story telling.
The later authors have done this through imitation, examples of these authors are Virgil and Aeneid, the modern poets were not left behind such as Pope Alexander in the mock epic, mock-heroic also commonly known as ‘the rape of the rock’. At first we find Odysseus trying to assert control on the household and later at Athena’s advice while in search for news concerning his lost fathers. Odysseus was a captive for a long time of the beautiful nymph Calypso who he had spent with his seven years of his lost ten years. (Karykas, 2003)
After his release by intercession of his patroness Athena, he leaves and his raft was destroyed by his known enemy Poseidon who was much annoyed because Odysseus had blinded Polyphemus his son. Odysseus washed up Scherie, which was the home to Phaeacians and is assisted by Nausicaa who treats him with great hospitability. When he returned he narrated about his adventures since he left troy to Phaeacians and the leader of his adventures satisfying their curiosity. This flash back extends back to where Odysseus stands and his tale told.
Odysseus got a ship through loan from shipbuilding Phaeacians to return to Ithaca, he is assisted by swine hearder Emaeus to meet Telemachus, in the process he got back his house hold and managed to kill the suitors and then he was able to reunite with his faithful Penelope, his wife. Odyssey is divided into 24 books in all modern editions and translations. The message contained there in is convincing but not original, Alexandrian editors developed this by 3rd century BC. Through the period, the books have been given different titles. Barry, 2006) Odysseus and culture Different cultures have risen in concern of Odysseus; some of the cultures describe him as a hero and others as a scoundrel. Odysseus was ruling the Cephallenians, this were the people who were dwelling on the islands that was on the northwest coast of Greece. His palace was on the rocky island of Ithaca, compared to other Greek princes that were fighting at troy; he was not as wealthy as them though he was living a comfortable life. (Malcom, 2000) Trojan War
According to myths of Greek, the Trojan war was war that was Achaeans against the city of troy after Helen was stolen by troy of Paris from her husband Menelaus who was the King of Sparta. Trojan War was among the most important events that happened in the Greek mythology which was narrated by many and different works of Greek literature that included the Iliad, Homer and the Odyssey. Trojan War believed to have originated from a quarrel between the Aphrodite, Athena and Hera goddesses after the Eris, goddess of strife and discord offered them a golden apple, and this is also referred to as apple of discord that was marked to be the fairest.
When the goddess went to Paris and judged that Aphrodite as the fairest and should be the one to receive the apple. In exchange apple, Aphrodite made Helen to be the most beautiful woman and fallen in love with Paris who would take her to troy. Achaeans desecrated temples and they slaughtered Trojans, they got the wrath of gods’, only few of the Achaeans returned home safely while others found colonies in different places in the shores. The Romans were led by one of the surviving Trojan to their origin, Italy. Wood, 1998) Odyssey describes the Odysseus journey home. He was among the Achaean leaders. Other parts of the war have been narrated by cycle of epic poems, though has survived in fragments. The war episodes were important for they provided materials for the Greek literature and for the Roman poets like Ovid and Virgil. Odysseus had fought for more than ten years in the Trojan War before he came up with the idea of wooden horse. This was probable the reason why wily or crafty was attached to his name.
Odysseus incurred another decade on the way before arriving home after blinding Poseidon’s Cyclops son that brought a wrath to him. This delayed him to arrive in time so this covers him and his crews return way to Ithaca from Trojan War. (Jonathan, 2004) Dilemma of Odyssey Though the ancient Greeks great epic poems were attributed to the confusing figure of homer, not much is known about him and the contribution of odyssey beyond his name being attached to the poems. There is some doubt whether homer was the real author of Odyssey and Iliad.
Homer played a primary role in shaping the master work, much is said about the probability of his contribution, if he is the real author, he must be a great literature artist. Odysseys are the most influential poems; Odysseus epics are used in the Greek education and culture throughout the age and have formed a backbone of human education from the time of Roman Empire and spread of Christianity. The translation of odysseys have brought an impact on Renaissance culture of Italy, this have helped in forming European tradition.
The poems are of some use in determining when Homer and Odysseus lived, this gives a clue that make it easy to assume that they lived around 8th century, The Odyssey may belong closer to this period. The dilemma behind this is that odysseys were oral; this was to be passed through generations till the time of writing. Odysseus own means of poems are through singing. Another dilemma is what would affect the accuracy of when epics came to written form. (Michael, 1976) Conclusion
Odysseus was a man of different character; no one could really describe his character confidently. He was a man of high moral and he used his cleverness to avoid what he wanted and avoid what seemed not good for him. During the Trojan War, Odysseus was a man his group could not do without; his mode of decision making was quite unique and stood as a pillar for the victory. The life of Odysseus was a life well lived, he left a legend behind that would become a literature to learned in European education, this was an epic that taught much of the Greeks’ empire and history.
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