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“The Odyssey” Analysis by Richard P. Martin

Odyssey is a Greek poem attributed to Homer; and is an essential aspect within the contemporary western principle. In this epic Odysseus had traveled to fight the Trojan War and due to his return, suitors tried to convince his wife Penelope that he had died in the war so that she could marry them. During this time, a spirit of his mother told him about the plan of the insatiable suitors and then he decided to go back home and kill all of them. The objective that made Odysseus lie to Eumaeos, Penelope and Athena through deceit and disguise include the following reasons. He needed to know the character of the suitors, discover the character of the servant girl; discover which of the hand-maidens were loyal and to test Penelope’s love for him.

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Penelope seems somehow attracted to the beggar who is in the real sense her husband; as she invites him to her personal room to hear his story and later orders that he be bathed and his clothes changed. The intimate attraction she feels for the husband in disguise raises the concern and interest as to if; she was attracted to him for the fact he was really her husband. Another interesting issue is the utterance she makes to him as a beggar; saying she would confront the suitors to string her husbands bow, then shoot through twelve axe heads. The offer she utters to him was that whichever of the suitors did that would marry her. The most interested aspect in this part was that she was offering to tell the stranger her secrets and planned moves, which gives the idea that maybe she had found out who he really was or had feelings about it.

The wife seems to react so positively to the stranger who happens to be her husband; as she appears to like his brevity, and his utterances for example that the suitors were generous because they were not giving out their own food. The reason she shows a positive attitude towards the stranger is because she noticed positive traits in him, and possibly had a feeling that he was her husband. The other reason for the positive dealings was the hospital nature she is portrayed to have, as there was even another beggar at her house.

The strategy Odysseus uses against the suitors was planning his disguise so that they would not know him, and that he would learn everything about them. The strategy he used upon them was appropriate for the situation, as he would not have encountered them if he had revealed himself right from the start. However he uses the strategy to murder them therefore making it not to qualify to be ethical.

The next morning after he had killed the suitors he portrays his guilt by instructing everyone to pretend that there was a wedding party, so that nobody would come looking for the suitors. Odysseus punishment to the house servants was not justified, as they had only showed signs of dishonesty and lack of loyalty which were not worth having them killed.

The fact that the wife does not believe that it was him, makes him take her through a conversation of secret proofs. This seems interesting because it portrays the doubtful character of the wife towards Odysseus, but is helpful in that it helps her get convinced that he was the one. The doubtful character of the wife seems surprising, as it does not even allow the wife to accept that it was Odysseus that had come back home.

The town people are enraged at Odysseus but after being told that he had been helped by a god, they calmed down. This shows that the herald uses the religious nature of the people as a weakness, to help him cool them down. The godly attachment to the deeds of Odysseus further makes the people believe that he was a hero. From the epic, he can be considered a hero as he was the only one who was able to deceive so many people, bow his bow, and shoot through the twelve axe heads. The fact that he was capable of influencing so many people to lie for him, campaign for him to become the king and walking out of the rage of the people qualifies him to be a hero too.

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Work cited

Martin, Richard. “The Odyssey”. The Johns Hopkins University Press. (2004): 200-460.

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