Curiosity in Odyssey
The Odyssey is a Greek epic about Odysseus. He was a war hero who had to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. He encounters many difficulties on his journey that afflict his crew as well as himself. The story spans over twenty years and includes many islands.
The Odyssey can be seen as an allegory of the temptations and curiosity people face in life. Odysseus must protect himself and his men against the Sirens and Lotus Eaters who try to lure them away from their journey. Odysseus travels to the Land of the Lotus Eaters.
Curiosity in Odyssey: The lotus flower
Odysseus goes to the Cyclopes Island to get food. However, he wants to see Polyphemus, the cyclops.
“Oh, that was so sound! But I refused. I wanted to see the caveman, and what he had to say – it was no pretty sight, it turned to out, for my friends.” (763).
Although Odysseus didn’t have any reason to visit Polyphemus (which was a very dangerous thing), curiosity won him over and he agreed to go. He could have eaten the food (which was delicious and plentiful), but instead he put his whole crew at risk.
People have been hurt while trying to find attractive objects and beautiful women. Circe warns Odysseus not to listen the Sirens’ song, which is deadly, during Odysseus’ journey. “The beautiful voices of ardor calling over the water made it tempting to listen. I tried to shout ‘Untie Me?’ to the crew …” (785).
Odysseus approaches them and hears the songs. He is tied to the mast. Odysseus wanted to hear the song because of his curiosity. The Sirens’ lure sound is a sign of times when people get thrown off track by curiosity.
Curiosity in Odyssey: Themes
The major themes of The Odyssey have a significant role in shaping the moral and ethical foundation of many of the characters. Through the themes, the reader learns more about the characters. These themes are more complex the more complicated characters. Odysseus is the most complex and curious character. He or she embodies all of these themes to a certain degree.
Modern readers may find it strange to think of hospitality as a major theme within a literary work. Homer believed that hospitality was essential in his world. Fagles (p. 45), and Knox (p. 45), refer to hospitality in Homer’s world as the dominant part of “the only code moral conduct that is applicable in the insecure The Odyssey world.”
Strangers arriving in your neighborhood can be dangerous or benign. Residents should be ready for trouble. However, many strangers are just wayfarers who need help. The same goes for residents, their family members, and friends.
To show their humanity, civilized people invest in hospitality in the hope that others will treat them well while they travel. Homer’s world is primitive in communications, so strangers can bring and receive information. The Homeric Greeks were able to learn about the world and keep up-to-date from the outside through visitors.
The epic is filled with stories about Odysseus’ experiences with hospitality. Odysseus’ home is being taken over by a host of suitors who exploit Ithaca’s long-standing tradition in hospitality. Telemachus, Penelope and others lack the strength or the will to expel them. They also cannot hope for much help from the community as the suitors are some of the most powerful families in the region.
Odysseus is aided by the Phaeacians, and initially Aeolus, in his wanderings. After Odysseus conquers his mother, Circe is of great help. The Lotus-eaters may be a little to helpful. Cyclops (Polyphemus), on the other hand, is a sweet-sounding host of death and Cyclops (Polyphemus), doesn’t pretend to be open to hospitality. Polyphemus actually laughs at the idea and the gods who support it.
Zeus, the king of all the gods is well-known as the greatest advocate for hospitality and suppliants who ask it. Yet, even he allows Poseidon, the sea god, to punish the Phaeacians because of their generous tradition of returning wayfarers back to their homelands.
Curiosity in Odyssey: Loyalty/Perseverance
Loyalty is another personal virtue that is a main theme in the epic. Penelope is the most famous example of loyalty in epic. She waits patiently for her husband’s return for twenty years. Telemachus is another example of loyalty, standing by his father in the face of all his suitors.
Eurycleia, Odysseus’s old nurse, is loyal to Penelope as well as her absent master. Eumaeus the swineherd and Philoetius the cowherd are outstanding in their loyalty to their masters and his possessions. Eumaeus is a humble, but excellent host. He speaks with respect to the royal family and detests the invasion by the suitors.
Contrast this are Melanthius, a goatherd, and Melantho, a maidservant. Melanthius is now friendly with suitors and insults Odysseus, even though the king remains disguised. Melantho does more, including sleeping with the enemy and disrespecting Odysseus/the beggar. Loyal servants get rewarded, while those who betray their master get punished more severely.
This can make the issue more complicated, as many of those Odysseus expects loyalty to be his property. Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, is literally her husband’s property. Even though it may seem abhorrent to modern readers, possession is part the reason for a double standard in sexual fidelity.
Penelope must be faithful to her husband. One can imagine what Penelope would do if Odysseus returned, given the story of the battle in the hall. Odysseus is not subject to the same expectation of faithfulness.
Particularly Penelope, Odysseus and Odysseus embody the theme perseverance. They are both survivors, which is why they are so well matched. Odysseus was absent for 20 years. He has lost 10 of his friends at the Trojan War, and he has lost 10 on his return journey home.
Antinous, the most aggressive suitor, claims Penelope has fought the invaders for four years (2.96). She played one against the other and faced them with cunning. Her trick of weaving a shroud to protect her father-in law, Laertes, is a prime example of this.
Odysseus is known for his perseverance, particularly in the section of the epic that concerns his wanderings (Books 9-12). He perseveres through the use of guile and courage, strength, determination, and determination. The seven years as Calypso’s prisoner is his most challenging test of perseverance and loyalty. He can’t trick or fight his way out. Odysseus longs to return home, even when the beautiful goddess-nymph seduces him with immortality.
Curiosity in Odyssey: Vengeance
The most prominent representatives of the theme vengeance are Poseidon, Odysseus and Odysseus. Odysseus blinds a giant-eyed Cyclops to help him escape the cave of Cyclops (Polyphemus). The Cyclops is Poseidon’s son. Odysseus has taken on a formidable foe.
Poseidon cannot kill Odysseus, as the Fates have decided that he will return home. The sea god can fulfill Odysseus’ wish that Odysseus arrive in Ithaca broken and alone, with his shipmates missing, and his family in turmoil (9.590-95).
One of the most controversial parts of the epic is when Poseidon vents his frustration on the Phaeacians, whose only offense was following their tradition and welcoming Odysseus home (13.142ff). ).
When directed at his suitors or disloyal servants, Odysseus’ vengeance against them is impressive. As he bears witness to the insults and attacks of Antinous, Melanthius the goatherd, and Melantho the maidservant Melantho in disguise, he displays remarkable tolerance.
Each one will go down in a horrible death. Book 22: In a surprise attack, Odysseus first kills Antinous, the leader of the suitors. Then he kills Eurymachus the smooth-talking suitor with an arrow in his liver. After the killing of the suitors, Melanthius (and Melantho) dies more slowly. Odysseus seeks revenge on the suitors’ disrespect for him and the servants’ loyalty to his office, property, and family.
Appearance vs. Reality
Athena and Odysseus are deeply entwined by the theme of appearance versus truth. Athena is known for her ability to makeover. In The Odyssey, her most famous illusions are disguises for Odysseus or herself. Telemachus is introduced to her as Mentes, the king of Taphians.
He has just visited Ithaca when he was a friend of his father’s. She can encourage the prince and guide him to a detailed discussion about the problems in his palace. Telemachus is most well-known for her role as Mentor, an Ithacan advisor who protects the prince from his murderous suitors, and helps him grow up.
Athena alters Odysseus’ appearance on several occasions. This is either to hide him or make him seem more powerful than he usually does. When Odysseus is preparing for the banquet in his honor at the Phaeacians (8.20-22), she alters Odysseus’ appearance to make him appear taller, larger, and more magnificent in every way. Athena disguises Odysseus as an old beggar when he returns to Ithaca in Book 13.3 of The Odyssey.
Odysseus is not a stranger to disguises. He disguised himself as a beggar during the Trojan War to gain entry to the city. ).
Recognizing Odysseus with his three relatives on Ithaca provides a significant twist on the theme “Aspect vs. Reality”. Telemachus sees him as Telemachus’ son. He is a beggar visiting his family’s pig farm. Athena transforms Odysseus into something so amazing that Telemachus wonders if it is possible to be alone with him.
The faithful nurse Eurycleia, who is a loyal servant, identifies Odysseus privately at the palace when she sees a mark on his leg while she bathes him. However, she vows not to tell anyone.
It is not clear whether Penelope recognizes her husband. Although she suspects him at times, she doesn’t officially accept him until he divulges his knowledge about their wedding bed. It is also controversial to read about Odysseus’ meeting with his father, Laertes (Book 24). Some critics claim that Odysseus is cruel to his father by keeping his disguise; others believe that he helps restore his father’s dignity.
Athena is impressed by Odysseus’ craft and guile. She says that even a god would need to be “some champion lying cheat”. (13.330). In The , trickery, deception, lies, and illusion are often admired traits. They are a favorite of Athena. It is easy to see why Odysseus has become her favorite mortal.
A common question about literature is how the main characters develop over time. The theme of spiritual growth is central in The Odyssey, particularly as it relates Telemachus or Odysseus.
Telemachus, who is struggling to find a way to handle the suitors that have overtaken his home and to seek the blessing of his mother for marriage, opens the epic. Telemachus is in peril; he is a pretender for the crown and is no more than a burden to the men who will be king. Telemachus must grow up quickly.
The story follows the typical pattern of a coming to-of-age story. The youth starts out with great intentions and an admirable, even naïve spirit. He encounters many obstacles, fails temporarily, but ultimately triumphs.
Telemachus is assisted by Athena to call an assembly of Ithaca’s leaders, and confronts their suitors. He speaks very well but finds little support from the community. However, he has made the first step towards maturity.
Telemachus visits Odysseus’ old friends King Nestor of Pylos (and King Menelaus from Sparta) at Athena’s suggestion in the hope of learning more about his father. Telemachus learns a lot more about himself and the proper conduct of a prince at the court of these great men than he does about Odysseus. Telemachus is still hopeful that Odysseus will return. Telemachus wins the battle test and gains his father’s trust when Odysseus returns.
Odysseus is not as linear in his growth. Twenty years earlier, he was already a mature man when he went to the Trojan War. His trials are more about refinement of spirit. His growth is in wisdom and judgment that will make him an even better king.
Odysseus is compelled to mock Polyphemus, the Cyclops, as he flees from the one-eyed creature. Odysseus shouts out his real name to the giant, allowing Polyphemus, the Cyclops’ father, to identify his tormentor. This causes Odysseus and the Phaeacians serious problems.
Odysseus is more prudent when he returns to Ithaca. To obtain information on the enemy and to know who to trust, he disguises himself. Even though he is being taunted by his suitors and his servants, Odysseus keeps his cool and waits for the right time to strike back. The time is right when he strikes. Odysseus appears to have become a more wise and perceptive leader by the end of the epic than he would have been if he had returned from Troy straight away.
The Odyssey contains a beautiful passage where Odysseus meets Achilles’ ghost in Hades. They are both very kind to one another. Achilles is reminded by Odysseus about his own troubles. Achilles compliments Odysseus for his extraordinary adventures. But Achilles says that death is not a consolation. It is better to be the slave of a poor man rather than the king of all the deceased.
It is difficult to picture Achilles as a slave of a poor man. And it is even harder to believe that he is stating a literal truth. He is emphasizing his greatness and the inexplicable pain of being Achilles.
He says, “I have endured the wrost and identified myself with that; you have only survived.” Odysseus on the other hand says, “You are very honored indeed; but you are deceased; I am doing a really difficult and great task.” The gulf between them and their distinctive views on life can be seen in a few lin.
It is important to never stop asking questions. The reason curiosity exists is its own reason. When one contemplates the mystery of time, of life and the amazing structure of reality, it is impossible not to be amazed. This is enough, if one only tries to understand a small part of the mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Curiosity is at the heart of education. If you tell me curiosity killed the cat I will say that the cat died noble.