A Major Theme in the Odyssey by Homer

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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This essay will analyze a major theme in Homer’s “The Odyssey,” such as the struggle for survival, the journey home, or the nature of heroism, and how this theme is developed throughout the epic. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Greek Mythology.

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Any contest or ambition is ultimately decided upon how determined someone will be, with every choice demonstrating how far they’ll go to reach their intent. In The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer, determination is a major theme and it pushes Odysseus throughout the whole book. After Odysseus and his men were swept by a storm, they ended up on an unknown island in which they decided to explore. The men arrived upon a cave and through temptation Odysseus decided to settle in, creating a problem.

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The owner of the cave, Polyphemus, soon returns and traps most of them. When Odysseus was explaining how he and his men escaped he said, “Now I chopped out a six-foot section of this pole and set it down before my men, who scraped it; and when they had it smooth, I hewed again to make a stake with a pointed end” (Homer 230-234). Odysseus’s powerful desire to get home allowed him to execute his plan to perfection, brutally jabbing a sharpened stake into the cyclops eye and escaping. From here Odysseus was able to continue his journey and get one step closer to being with his family.

As well as Polyphemus, Odysseus had other factors prove his determination towards getting back home. After the events of Scylla, Odysseus and his men end up on the island of Thrinacia. Without Odysseus’s knowledge, all of his men slaughter the cattle of the Sun. Zeus punishes by sending a storm killing everyone expect Odysseus. The storm takes him back to Charybdis and during the flashback, he says, “As the whirlpool drank the tide, a billow tossed me, and I sprang for the great fig tree… Nowhere had I to stand, no way of climbing… But I clung grimly, thinking my mast and keel would come back to the surface when she spouted” (Homer 806-814). With all of his men killed by the sea and no ship to take him, hope would be lost for the ordinary person, but not Odysseus. The number one priority on his mind was still making it back home to Ithaca and his family. He kept holding on to the tree, preserving through the pain and suffering because he knew he had something to come home to and he wasn’t going to back down to anything. In the struggle Odysseus is having, Penelope and Telemachus fuel his determination, pushing him to try to reestablish his family which is very similar to the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in which the main character, Wade, is fueled by Art3mis and James Halliday.

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A Major Theme In The Odyssey by Homer. (2021, Mar 01). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-major-theme-in-the-odyssey-by-homer/