Analytical Response 1: the Odyssey
The Odyssey is about a hero named Odysseus that went to the Trojan War. It took Odysseus many years to go back to Ithaca. Odysseus had a wife, and a kid before he left for war. Suitors thought that he died and that he was never going to return. Suitors were at Odysseus house courting his wife, Penelope. Penelope told the suitors that if they wanted to marry her, they need it to string Odysseus’s bow and fire it through twelve axes. The suitors stayed at Penelope’s and Odysseus’s house until they can string Odysseus’s bow and one lucky suitor will get to marry Penelope. When Odysseus finally gets back home, he doesn’t tell people right away who he is. His son, Telemachus, is the first person who sees him, and Odysseus’s tells him that he is his father. Telemachus also tells Odysseus’s about the suitors and Odysseus finally decides to do something about it and try to save his beautiful wife, Penelope.
There are several themes within The Odyssey. In the Odyssey there are several themes that stick out while reading. Some of the themes are loyalty, pride, family, and suffering. These themes from the book aren’t only shown by one person but by several including Odysseus. Loyalty is shown in the book by Penelope. Penelope doesn’t want to get marry because she still believes that her husband, Odysseus, is still alive and that he is going to come back home. Penelope waited as long as she could, but she had to decide as soon as possible before the suitors kill themselves. On the Odyssey, page number, 191 lines 105 thru 111 Penelope says “ Young men- my suitors, since Odysseus is dead- Eager as you are to marry me, you must wait until I finish this robe- it would be a shame to waste my spinning- a shroud for the hero Laertes, when death’s doom lays him low, I fear the Achaean women would reproach me if he should lie in death shroudless for all his wealth.” Penelope has remained faithful waiting for her husband to come back home. She was telling the suitors that she is going to be working on a burial shroud for Odysseus father and that after she finishes it, she will choose a suitor to marry. Every time Penelope must choose someone, she makes up other things so that the suitors will continue waiting. On the other hand, Odysseus does not show loyalty to his wife or marriage. Odysseus still not home and it is taking him several years to find a way to go back home. He’s been lying and cheating to his wife, Odysseus slept with other women while he was “trying” to get back home. Another form of loyalty towards Odysseus is his crew, they were always loyal to him. His crew believed in him until the time that Odysseus wouldn’t tell them about what was in the bag that Aeolus gave him full of air. On the Odyssey, page number 284 lines 41 thru 51 it says “As soon as I fell asleep, the men started to talk, saying I was bringing home myself silver and gold as gifts from great Aeolus. You can imagine the sort of things they said: “This guy gets everything wherever he goes. First, he’s freighting home his loot from Troy. Beautiful stuff, while we, who made the same trip, are coming home empty-handed. And now Aeolus has lavished these gifts upon him. Let’s have a quick look, and see what’s here. How much gold and silver is stuffed in this bag.” All the lies and the suffering his crew went through made his men feel betrayed, and they did not trust Odysseus anymore.
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Another theme from the epic poem The Odyssey is suffering. The suffering we see in the book is both physical and emotional. Not only did Odysseus suffer but his family and crew did too. For example, on page 277 lines 279 thru 286 it says “This brought no response from his pitiless heart but a sudden assault upon my men. His hands reached out, seized two of them, and smashed them to the ground like puppies. Their brains spattered out and oozed into the dirt. He tore them limb from limb to make his supper, gulping them down like a mountain lion, leaving nothing behind- Guts, flesh, or marrowy bones.” Odysseus’s crew went to a cave where the Cyclops named Polyphemus eats some of Odysseus men and traps them in his cave. Odysseus was responsible for all the suffering of his crew because he refused to listen to his men when they told him not to go into the cave until the person who lived there got there. But Odysseus never listened to his men and did whatever he wanted. His crew suffer more than what they were supposed to because Odysseus was making all the decision by himself. Another example is how his family suffer when he wasn’t home. Penelope and Telemachus suffer through the whole book because Telemachus didn’t get to spend any time with his father and Penelope did not get to spend any time with her husband.
The last theme would be Pride. Odysseus had more pride when they won the Trojan war. He said that he was the one who won the battle. On the book on page 281, lines 498 thru 503 Odysseus says “They tried , but didn’t persuade my hero’s heart- I was really angry- and I called back to him: ‘Cyclops, if anyone, any mortal man, asks you how you got your eye put out, tell him that Odysseus the marauder did it, Son of Laertes, whose home is on Ithaca.” When Odysseus fights the Cyclops, he uses his intelligence to scape and kill him because he thinks he is smarted than everybody else. When Odysseus and his crew scape the cyclops, Odysseus yells back his real identity. Odysseus always had trouble getting back home and that was all because of his pride. Every time he wanted to do something right it ended wrong. For example, when he was with Circe, he stayed there with her for almost a year because she turned his crew members onto animals. Until later he realized that he needed to go back home. Everything that happened to Odysseus was because of his pride and bad decisions.