Odyssey-reflection

After finishing the Odyssey by Homer, I’ve discovered several interesting points that I wasn’t aware of before reading the actual version of it.

Firstly I’ve found the weeping of Odysseus particularly interesting. He is constantly portrayed as sly, clever man who has the support of Athena, even seeming like a demi-god. Odysseus’ strength and tactic is clearly shown by the scene in which all 108 suitors are killed by Odysseus and his proponents. However, on Calypso’s island and with Phaikians, Odysseus weeps without hesitation, which contrasts with his bold character. Also, when he sleeps with Kirke and remains on her island for a year we can see that he can be moved by the women. Even though he is persistent and seemingly unconquerable character, I could see his humane aspect through these events.

Secondly I’ve thought about the question that we’ve talked about in the beginning: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In Greek mythology, it seems as if the gods’ decisions have major impact on one’s life. For Odysseus and Telemakhos, Athena is always beside them and guides them throughout the whole journey. However, Odysseus pierced the eye of Poseidon’s son Kyklops and displayed hubris. So even though he is a great hero and is good-natured, he still goes through hardship because of god’s dislike. But gods were powerless in front of the death: they couldn’t bring back dead ones, and the greatest character that distinguishes human and god is mortality and immortality. This raised up a question of whether Hades (god of the underworld) has ability to control deaths and hence is the most powerful god in that sense. Moreover, I could see the importance of fame and how hubris resulted from it. Since human are mortal beings, they want to gain fame in order to be remembered by others eternally- the only way to live forever. When people gain more fame, it’s prone for them to display hubris, making them sound as if they are more than what they actually are or even surpassing a god. This seems to be the reason why hubris was regarded as one of the biggest sins.

Therefore, Odyssey really broadened my knowledge of Ancient Greek society and culture. It also taught me various details of the Odyssey I was previously unacknowledged of.

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