Trustworthyness in Homers Odyssey and Medea by Euripides

Categories: Medea

Truth is an extremely important quality in all human beings. Being truthful vital whether you are a noble, or whether you are a beggar on a street corner. It is essential to be honest because honesty and truthfulness show a lot about ones character, and show a person’s true colors. Odysseus and Jason, two main characters in Greek Mythology portray many differences facing trust, and portray two different views on how to be trustful and how not to be. Odysseus is trustful throughout the Odyssey, but lies when he must to help others, whereas Jason is nothing but a sneaky, deceitful liar who in the process hurts his wife and brings horror upon himself.

Throughout the Odyssey, written by Homer, and Medea, written by Euripides, we will truly see Odysseus’ and Jason’s true colors.

In “The Odyssey”, Odysseus is truthful to his family and friends. Although Odysseus is truthful, there are many instances where Odysseus does indeed lie, but does so for the right reasons.

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I believe is ok to lie, when you are helping friends and family in the process. Not all lies are harmful, but it is not ok to hurt others in the process. Odysseus lies to his enemies so that he can keep his identity a secret. Odysseus being powerful, handsome, and a great lover is envied by many people, and has to lie to keep himself out of harms way. Odysseus lies for the right reason when he meets the Kyklops; “Kyklops, you ask my honorable name? Remember the gift you promised me, and I shall tell you.

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My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy'” (Homer, Book IX, II. 380384). In this quote, Odysseus does indeed lie to the Kyklops, but does it to protect his identity. Odysseus does not want to reveal his true identity to the Kyklops because his father Poseidon is trying to kill him. It will not be smart on Odysseus’ part to be truthful in this case, because Odysseus could have been dead if he revealed his real name. If Odysseus revealed his name, Kyklops would have surely killed him on the spot. Odysseus in many circumstances is not truthful, but lies for the right reasons to keep himself out of trouble.

Another instance where Odysseus is not truthful is when he disguises himself as a beggar. “The swineherd later on will take me down the port-side trail–a beggar, by my looks, hangdog and all. If they make fun of me in my own courtyard, let your ribs cage up your springing heart, no matter what I suffer, no matter if they pull me by the heels or practice shots at me, to drive me out.” (Homer, Book XVI, Ln. 290-296). Odysseus did this not to be dishonest or deceitful, but did it to save his kingdom and redeem his throne as he once had twenty years ago. This lie is not dishonest because if he were not disguised, it would not have been easy to kill all of those suitors. Odysseus may have indeed been dead if he was not disguised. Odysseus also disguises himself as a beggar in front of his beloved wife, Penelope, so that he can reveal himself later, after all the suitors are dead and out of his home. “O honorable wife of Lord Odysseus, must you go on asking about my family? Then I will tell you, though my pain be doubled by it: and whose pain would not if he had been away as long as I have and had hard roving in the world of men?” (Homer, Book XIX, II. 176-182). In this quote, Odysseus is playing it off to Penelope while dressed up as a beggar. Odysseus could have told Penelope to keep his identity a secret, but I believe Odysseus wanted everyone out of his kingdom before, and his home the way it was twenty years ago before he exposed himself. Although Odysseus is untruthful to his wife, he does it for the right reason and in no way hurts his wife or family.

Although Odysseus lies sometimes, there are many times where he is completely truthful. Odysseus through out the Odyssey is truthful to his family and friends. Odysseus promises Penelope that he will return from his voyage, and he stands by his word. “With eyes brimming tears she ran to him, throwing her arms around his neck, and kissed him, murmuring:” (Homer, Book XXIII, Ln. 209-211). I believe Odysseus is a man of his word. When it comes to the people he loves, he will abide by his word and will follow through with his promises. Because Odysseus kept his word, he makes Penelope very happy and brings a smile to her face. After all of these years, Odysseus could have been dead, but instead survives to make his true love happy once more. Odysseus’ truthfulness shows us his true colors, and that Odysseus is indeed a hero and a truthful man.

In “Medea”, Jason unlike Odysseus can be considered the plays villain. Jason is not truthful throughout the play, especially to his wife, Medea, and his children. Breaking a promise is indeed a lie, especially when you promise to love and cherish another person for the rest of your life. Jason is so untrusting that he left his wife and children behind for another woman. “For, deserting his own children and my mistress, Jason has taken a royal wife to his bed, The daughter of the ruler of this land, Kreon.” (Euripides, II. 17-19). Leaving your family behind is one of the most untrusting things a man can do. Jason broke the oath between himself and Medea the day they got married. “And poor Medea is slighted, and cries aloud on the Vows they made to each other, the right hands clasped In

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Trustworthyness in Homers Odyssey and Medea by Euripides. (2022, Feb 06). Retrieved from

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