Odysseus’ Journey in Homer’s the Odyssey
As said by Arthur Ashe, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”. People tend to think the goal is everything, but the goal or the destination could not exist without the journey there. Journeys teach things that cannot be learned after reaching a destination. It is what occurs during traveling that is important for the outcome. Odysseus’ journey shaped him into the man he was when arriving back home, he could not have evolved without the experiences from the journey.
Throughout Odysseus’ journey, he developed as a character by the challenges he faced. When Odysseus left Ithica and conquered Troy as told in the Iliad his character bragged to Poseidon about how he didn’t need him, it is seen he has lots of pride at this point in time. In order, they sailed to the island of Ismarus after Troy for supplies and it was supposed to only be for supplies. “ The wind drove me … to Ismarus, / the Cicones’ stronghold. There I sacked the city, / killed the men” (9.45-47). Odysseus’ greed and feeling of power lead him to fight and kill the Cicones even though they did not have to. From then on he was faced with nothing but hardships inflicted on him by the gods. After encountering Cyclops, Laistrygonians, Sirens, Helios’ cows, Calypso and many more obstacles he eventually sailed on by himself.
While sailing in the sea Poseidon decided to hit him with some of his storms. Odysseus was messed with by the god and ended up floating amongst the sea for 2 days and 2 nights and during those days he broke. “I throw myself on your mercy, on your current now- / I have suffered greatly. Pity me, lord, / your suppliant cries for help,”(5.495-497). He saw that he was not as powerful as he thought he was. He was at a low point in this period of the text and prayed for help. After 20 years of facing challenges away from Ithica, he finally arrives home. He has changed from being arrogant and egoistic to patient and humble. He was willing to put aside his pride to protect his family and kingdom in the long run. “Wild, reckless taunts- and just as he passed Odysseus… / Odysseus was torn. . . / should he wheel with his staff and beat the scoundrel senseless?- / or hoist him by the midriff, split his skull on the rocks? / He steeled himself instead, his mind in full control,” (17.254-260). He took the abuse from the suitor even though he could have taken him down easily. He was patient and has greatly developed since the beginning of his story.
It can now be acknowledged that the development of Odysseus was affected by the journey and not the goal of coming home. Though some may say the reason Odysseus was able to develop was because of his goal to be home again. Near the end of his story, he stayed on Calypso’s island for 7 years held hostage. He cried for home every day, but every night he was forced to sleep with Calypso. “His sweet life flowing away / with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home”(5.168-169). Even though he always kept home in mind during his time on Calypso’s island, this was after he had faced most of the challenges that made him humble. This obstacle helped his development as a character because it helped him see this was out of his control, but not because of his goal. When he was back at the kingdom of the dead he saw his mom there.
She told him of the invading suitors on Ithica. “Go, quickly. / Remember all these things / so one day you can tell them to your wife”(11.254-256). This supports the reason Throughout Odysseus’ journey he developed as a character. He could not have done so without the experiences he faced during it. Every obstacle he faced helped him to become humble. Though he had home in mind he did not develop from the thought. Every single challenge he adopted to and progressed from.