Literary Analysis of the Odyssey

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Literary Analysis of the Odyssey

This essay will provide a literary analysis of Homer’s epic, “The Odyssey.” It will explore the themes of heroism, loyalty, and the struggles of Odysseus. The piece will examine the narrative structure, character development, and the use of mythological elements, discussing how these contribute to the epic’s enduring significance in literature. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of Analysis.

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“The Odyssey” by Homer could best be explained as a man on a mission. The king of Ithaca, Odysseus, is shipped off from his family, and his hometown to fight in a war against Troy. He develops many heroic traits over the ten years he is away. He just desired to get back home once and for all. Throughout his excursion back home, he meets many things/people. One of those things he meets on his excursion is an disrespectful giant with literally one eye, called a Cyclops.

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Odysseus then meets a witch goddess that casts spells on Odysseus and his men, which actually made him, and his men lose track of time. Later, Odysseus meets a nymph who falls madly in love with him and in turn takes possession over the poor guy and holds him as a prisoner on her island.

Next, Odysseus has an encounter with the god of the sea, Poseidon, and Odysseus has made him extremely upset mainly because he actually blinds his son Polyphemus, so for payback Poseidon makes it exceptionally challenging to reach his hometown. When Odysseus finally got back home, he was soon to be faced with more annoying challenges. Guys (called suitors) from all over the world have made their way into Odysseus’ hometown thinking that Odysseus is dead. These suitors’ main goal is to take Odysseus’ place and marrying his admired wife, Penelope. In a lot of circumstances throughout this intriguing tale, Odysseus represents toughness, some crazy good intellect, and a heck of a lot of self control on his journey back to his hometown and finally get to see his son, Telemachus, and wife Penelope.

First, what started it all, Odysseus is known as the mortal who won against Troy because he built a huge wooden horse as a peace offering, but he and his men hid inside and then when they least expected it they began striking Troy’s soldiers after a celebratory meal, which then ended the war of Troy. This scheme itself shows Odysseus crazy good intellect that he has inside himself. He also establishes himself as a somebody, so that people will remember his name. On their excursion Odysseus and his men come to an island where they come across a one-eyed giant Cyclops, Polyphemus, son of Poseidon. While on this island, Odysseus represents patience and intellect like no other mortal in many ways. He knows there is no way they can beat the Polyphemus, or get the big ole boulder from the only door of the cave that Polyphemus had put there.

Instead, Odysseus makes puts together a strategic arrangement to blind the Cyclops by creating a spear, so that they would be able to sneak out without being captured and eaten. Though, they all had to wait until the Cyclops was drunk from wine and asleep to arrange their arrangement. Odysseus first uses his crazy good intellect by giving himself the name of “Nobody”, so when the Cyclops screams that “Nobody” is killing him all the other Cyclops would think he’s some crazy lunatic. Odysseus’ incredible self control is shown when he is waiting for Polyphemus to sleep and putting the spear in his only eye at the right moment after he had to anxiously wait. Since he did this to Polyphemus, he upsets Poseidon, which only makes his excursion even harder.

Odysseus’s toleration for his toughness is one of his main admirable traits that he developed. Not only was he physically tough, but he was also mentally tough. When Odysseus is on Aeaea where the goddess Circe lives, it not only took Hermes to help out, but it also definitely took a lot of mental exhaustion for them to get off of Aeaea. Odysseus was given a plant to basically shut her powers off, turn his men back into guys instead of pigs, and was able to find out from Circe how to get off her island since she was keeping them hostage. When leaving the island, Ogygia, where Calypso, the beautiful nymph, held him hostage he had to show his mental toughness to go up against her. Odysseus could have stuck around Ogygia and been with Calypso eternally been really satisfied, but he had been mentally tough and decided to go home to Penelope.

Coming home to Ithaca, Odysseus represents toughness, some crazy good intellect, and a heck of a lot of patience all at the same time. He had to wait and non selfishly deciding to not go running to his family knowing they could all be murdered, he represents heroic patience. His physical and mental toughness are represented when he went back home and won against all the men trying to take Penelope’s hand in marriage that caused Odysseus’s family unjustly. Odysseus shows his heroic traits all at once when he strung his bow and won against all those men in the competition for Penelope’s hand in marriage while masked in disguise, and murdering each guy.

Even though he was basically alienated for ten years from his life, Odysseus shows the reader how a man on a mission can conquer any challenges thrown his/her way. He developed many heroic traits over the ten years he was away. Somehow he was able to stay with a goal on his mind and find a way back home to his family. Without his crazy good intellect, a heck of a lot of patience, and amazing mental and physical toughness to beat a Cyclops, angry gods, nymphs, witch goddesses, nasty guys trying to steal his wife, he probably would have been alienated from his family for eternity.

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Literary Analysis of the Odyssey. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from