The Odyssey Essay
Hunger, whether a literal hunger or a hunger for power has always been a downfall for humankind. In the Odyssey hunger destroys the lives of many men. Even though the Odyssey is just an epic it reflects in many ways how hunger can ruin and sometimes even destroy someone’s life. In history, hunger has shown itself in many different and unique ways. For example Hitler’s hunger for power destroyed millions of lives. It forced millions of people to move their homes and change their lives or to even lose their lives. Hunger has caused people and even entire nations to be decimated.
If people could control there hunger the world and its people would be a safer and happier place. In this epic hunger rules all. In the Odyssey Odysseus shows several types of hunger. One that stands out above others is Odysseus hunger for knowledge. Odysseus is always on a quest for knowledge. To him knowledge is more powerful than anything else. No other weapon can stand up to knowledge. This has put Odysseus and even his crew in much danger and trouble in “The Odyssey”. Odysseus shows his hunger for knowledge in the “Lotus Eaters” when he sends his men to scout the land when they get to the land of the Lotus Eaters.
If he would have never done that he would not have lost two of his men to the mind numbing effects of the Lotus plans. One of Odysseus’s other crazy acts to learn knowledge was in the “Cyclops”. In the epic Odysseus led himself and his men into a Cyclops cave. This caused several of his men to be eaten by the Cyclops. Many of Odysseus’s men have died because of his hunger for knowledge. Odysseus shows his hunger again when he ventures into the land of the dead!
The man is so crazy to even try to go to the Underworld. Odysseus lives for wisdom and something that shows knowledge is everything to him is that the Goddess f Wisdom, Athena has taken Odysseus under her protection. But even with Athena as his protector Odysseus will face many troubles because of his hunger. Many of his men will suffer for his many mistakes. Odysseus also has a hunger for self glorification. He is always trying to make himself be in the spotlight. Odysseus tries to make himself a figure of the perfect hero that everybody should bow down to. An example of this is in the beginning of the story that Odysseus is so self-glorified is he even tempts Poseidon by saying that he does not need the gods and that he only needs himself.
If Odysseus never did this he would have gotten home without having to make the long journey which is told in “The Odyssey”. But since Odysseus thinks he does not need the gods it forced him to face many dangers and to lose his crew. His wife has been forced to wait several years because of Odysseus’s insolence. Another example is when Odysseus goes back to Ithaca disguised as a beggar he tells his swineherd that he has seen “Odysseus” and that Odysseus is strong, perfect, and amazing. He is always trying to make himself seem like the most amazing person.
Odysseus is a lustful man. He is a man that is not faithful to his wife. But if his wife would so much as dare think about another man it would be the end of the world. In Odysseus’s mind everything is about Odysseus. In the story Odysseus first becomes unfaithful with Circe and then later with Calypso. He is the perfect example of someone that says one thing and does another (a hypocrite). But because of his lust many problems have been unearthed and left unchecked for many years in the Odyssey. It has caused that his wife Penelope has to wait several extra years for Odysseus.
It has also brought the problem of the suitors upon Ithaca. The reason being is that if Odysseus would have arrived home earlier the suitors would not have tried to make a move on Odysseus’s throne. Odysseus also has a hunger for power. He always wants to be the leader. He wants to be the person that everyone is looking up to. This caused him to go through great grief and sorrow many times throughout the Odyssey. The first of these incidents was when the Cyclops took away several of his men and ate and killed them.
Also when Scylla and Charybdis took away more of his men Odysseus felt responsible for their deaths and went through a depression like state. In the “Lotus Eaters” Odysseus lost some his men to the Lotus plant. This hurt him as well. But the one that affected him the most was when Zeus cast his lightning at their ship and killed everyone except Odysseus himself. Odysseus is not the only one with a hunger for knowledge in this story. His crew also has the same hunger. They have taken after Odysseus in many ways but this one above all has shown itself.
There are several examples showing where there hunger has gotten them into trouble or placed into the face of danger. One time above all where this has affected them was when the crew opened the bag of winds that Odysseus would not let them open. This caused the ship to come into view of Ithaca but then be pushed far out to sea away from their home and ultimately to their own deaths. The crew always wants to know what’s going on. If they come across a new land they automatically want to explore it. An example of this is in the “Lotus Eaters”.
The crew wanted to know about this new land and because of this curiosity they lost two men. The crew also has a great hunger for the taste of food and drink. They indulge themselves whenever they can. One example of this is in Circes hall. The crew ate her food and drank her wine which ultimately had them turned into pigs. If they had never taken the food right away and had thought about their situation they would have never been turned into pigs. But the men’s hunger for drink and food overpowered their other thoughts. The crews mind is always on the thoughts of food and drink.
If food and drink weren’t in the world the crew would no longer love life as they do. They are always indulging themselves. Another instance of where the crews hunger for food overpowers all other thoughts is on the island of Helios, The Sun God. The crew was shipwrecked on this island with no food or water but there are a lot of cattle there so the crew wonders why. Odysseus specifically tells them they can’t eat the cattle, but Odysseus makes the mistake of not telling the crew why they cannot eat the cattle. The crew not knowing why they cannot eat the cattle and dying from starvation takes a chance by eating the cattle.
They believed they would rather die by drowning then by starvation. This angers the Sun God Helios. Helios makes Zeus kill every one of the crew except Odysseus. The suitors also have a great hunger for many things. They have a hunger for Odysseus wealth and all his lands. They want to be the king of the land. They want to be the ones in control the ones with the power. They want this so bad that they try to take his wife. This hunger did them no good when Odysseus returned home to find them eating his food and drinking his wine. This brought the wrath of Odysseus down upon them all.
This led to the suitors deaths. But that wasn’t the own thing that brought Odysseus’s wrath. The suitors want to be king of Ithaca. The reason being is because Ithaca is a wealthy and powerful nation. They want to have all the power and all the wealth. These men let their or hunger for power rules their lives. Since they let this hunger rule their deaths came a lot earlier than it would have if they wouldn’t have let that same hunger rule. The thing that angered Odysseus the most was that they were trying to take Odysseus’s wife Penelope as their own.
This angered Odysseus so much that he killed them all for the men’s insolence. If the men would have just stayed in their own land they would have never faced their own demise and would have lived to be old and happy. But the suitor’s greed drove the men to their own demise. The suitors are another perfect example of mans greed. Man is a species that always wants more. Nothing can ever stop man from wanting. “The Odyssey” shows perfectly how hunger in a man or in several men can ruin someone’s life. In The Odyssey a man and his crews hunger ruin the lives of themselves and many others.
It forces the men to go on a journey that could have been easily avoided. This hunger causes their own lives and the lives they meet to experience the men’s hunger. These men are a perfect example of the hunger men can have in the real world. Even though Odyssey is just an epic it shows perfectly how hunger can destroy someone’s life. Hunger, whether a literal hunger or a hunger for power has always and will always rule people’s thoughts. If you don’t control your hunger it will destroy you and everything you love.