The Odyssey Thesis

The Odyssey Thesis

In the Odyssey, temptation is specified as hunger– both literal hunger (temptation for food) and figurative hunger i. e. temptation for high-end, aspiration, wealth, ladies, power, splendor etc. This “hunger”, whether literal or metaphorical keeps Odysseus’s guys from reaching their houses and unifying with their households. However, yearning for family or grief for loved ones drives away “appetite”. Odysseus is the only man among his team to reach home to Ithaca since his yearning for his family and native land goes beyond the “cravings” he experiences and experiences.

Inordinate hunger/ temptation causes Odysseus’s guys forgeting their goal to reach their native land. The opening lines of the Odyssey describe Odysseus as

“the wanderer, blown off course time and once again

After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 3, Page 1

This shows that there is penalty for extreme cravings. It implies that Odysseus and his team were blown off course after they ransacked Troy due to the fact that this plundering of Troy is a display screen of supremacy and a way to satisfy their “cravings” for vengeance.

As a result, they’re penalized by the Gods who delay their journey time and again. Nestor informs Telemachus that before they begin their journey back home Menelaus and Agamemnon have a quarrel and they call

“an assembly of the entire army in a careless way, towards sunset/ And all out of order [they] had actually all been drinking”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 150, Page 32

This shows that their temptation for indulgence and white wine cause them to become careless which in turn results in the Greek army splitting into two sections triggering confusion, thus delaying their journey back house and putting several lives in jeopardy.

Zeus plans for them

“a bitter journey house”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 144, Page 32

because they

“were not all prudent or just”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 144, Page 1=32

suggesting that they didn’t manage their prompts that made them loose sense of right or wrong. While recounting his story to the Phaecians, Odysseus informs them how he ransacked the land of the Cicones in Ismaros and how he and his team

“pillaged the town and eliminated the males. The ladies and the treasure that [they] took out …”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 42, Page 126

showing the men’s desire for power, wealth and females.

This “appetite” makes the guys complacent and oblivious of threat and although Odysseus commands them “to take out fast” they do not listen and continue enjoying

“consuming a lot of wine and [butchering] a great deal of sheep and livestock on the coast”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 49, Page 126

This leads to their bitter defeat when the Cicones return with reinforcements and eliminate numerous of Odysseus’s guys. Right after, Odysseus and his guys reach the land of the Cyclopes.

Odysseus claims he has a

“strong premonition that [they] had a rendezvous with a man of terrific may, a savage with no notion of right and incorrect”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 204, Page 130

However despite this “premonition” Odysseus enters the Cyclops Polyphemus’s cavern to prove his metis to himself and his men. This appetite for splendor practically endangers their possibilities of safe escape when after outwitting the Cyclops, Odysseus begins boasting and proclaiming

“Odysseus the marauder [put his eye out], Child of Laertes, whose house is on Ithaca”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 502, Page 139

His men try to stop him but they aren’t able to

“convince [his] hero’s heart”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 498, Page 138

Odysseus’s boastful statement causes Poseidon to address his child’s (Polyphemus’s) pleas to make Odysseus journey back home long, miserable and difficult. Hence Odysseus’s “appetite” for glory triggers his homeward journey to end up being laden with torment. In the witch Circe’s home, Elpenor, one of Odysseus’s men falls from the roofing and passes away. When Odysseus concerns his ghost in Hades, he informs Odysseus that

“Misfortune and excessive red wine reversed [him]

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 56, Page 159

This demonstrates how temptation for wine causes men to become reckless thus causing their downfall, and sometimes death.

In the Island of Hyperion the sun, Odysseus alerts his men not to consume or hurt the cattle, but they proceed and eat the livestock however. This outrages Hyperion and Odysseus observes that

“the hides crawled, and the meat, both roasted and raw, mooed on the spits like cattle lowing”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 406, Page 189

In spite of these dark prophecies his guys continue slaughtering the livestock displaying how their cravings exceeded not just their desire to go house but also their fear of Gods.

Odysseus tries his best to conserve his crew but

“the fools [are] destroyed by their own recklessness When they [consume] the oxen of Hyperion the sun, which god snuff [s] out their day of return”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 8, Page 1

Longing and sorrow for household and home drives away “cravings”. And Odysseus returns home to Ithaca just due to the fact that this yearning for his native land and household has actually exceeded his “cravings”. Menelaus states that whenever he thinks about Odysseus, he doesn’t want to “sleep or consume” suggesting that his yearning to be unified with his bosom good friend is so terrific that it repels his appetite.

When Penelope comes to know that her son Telemachus has actually started a journey all by himself, she is grief-stricken. She

“would not touch food or beverage But only lay there worrying about her child”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 846, Page 67

Her fear of losing her only child is so frustrating that she is unable to consume or drink. Yearning for her beloved son has extinguished her hunger. While stating his journey to Telemachus, Menelaus says that “while [he] wandered through those lands generating wealth [his] brother was murdered … So [he] did not delight in being lord of this wealth… he] would gladly cope with a third of [his] wealth And have those guys back who died in Troy” (94-108 page 46-47). His pain and longing for his enjoyed ones consumes him and all the wealth he generated out of “hunger” for riches does not matter to him anymore due to the fact that he knows he has lost something dearer. His sorrow for his bro and his associates has purged him of all “cravings”. When Odysseus visits the ghost of Tiresias in Hades, the seer alerts him and his men not to eat the cattle of the sun when they reach the land of Hyperion.

He tells them that he and his crew might just make it home if they

“curb [their] own spirit”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 102, Page 161

He says

“leave these (the cattle) unhurt, keep your mind on your homecoming” suggesting that all cravings can be curbed if one concentrates on their homecoming”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 108, Page 161

As the legendary advances, we see Odysseus “curbing” his spirit and not succumbing to temptation particularly at the land of the Lotus Eaters and in the Land of Helios the sun. His mind is focused on going back to Ithaca and despite the fact that he is starving, he does not succumb to his cravings.

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  • Paradox In The Odyssey

However, his willpower becomes most pronounced when he is in Ogygia. Calypso deals him whatever- love, shelter, riches, food and even immortality. However Odysseus is unmoved. He stays with her and shares her bed, but reluctantly so. His sorrow gradually increases as time advances. When Hermes concerns Ogygia to order Calypso to release Odysseus, he understands that the island

“was enough to make a checking out God enraptured at its sight”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 77, Page 72

However Odysseus isn’t delighting in the charm this land has to provide. He is seen sitting on the coast

“sharpening his heart’s sorrow, Gazing out to sea with hollow, salt rimmed eyes”

Homer, The Odyssey Essay Thesis, Chapter 85, Page 72

Odysseus is not lured by the high-ends the island has to use or the permanently beautiful nymph goddess. His yearning for his native land and household purges him of any temptations or “hungers”. He is concentrating on the sorrow and longing for his family in his heart, while focusing on the barren sea lacking any temptations.

It is because of this longing for his native land that Calypso lastly gives up on him, and by the Gods styles, he leaves Ogygia, suffering on the “sterilized sea” for numerous days prior to finally reaching the land of the Phaecians from where he is granted safe conduct to his homeland- Ithaca. Hence we see that Odysseus is the only hero capable of resisting all type of “hungers” due to the fact that his love for his native land and his yearning to be joined with his household consumes him and purges him of all temptations.

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