Godlike Odysseus Essay, Research Paper
Odysseus, son of Laertes, was godlike in many ways, but he also showed some human or mortal characteristics. In The Odyssey by Homer, he shows this in a few ways while on his way home to Ithica from the land of the Lotus-eaters, and also when he is home. Either something upsets him like a human would get upset, or he does something a human would do and normally wouldn’t see from a god.
First, I noticed when he was escaping for the Cyclops’ cave, he had to get the last word in: ” ‘If, O Cyclops,/A mortal man shall ever ask you/ How it befell your eye was blinded/ So hideously, then answer thus:/ It was Odysseus blinded you,/ Taker of Troy, Laertes’ son, Who dwells in Ithica.’ ” In other words “Ha ha, it was me, Odysseus the mortal, that blinded you.” This sounds not only like a human or mortal, but a mortal little kid.
The next time I noticed Odysseus acting like a human or mortal, was in the story of “Scylla and Charybdis” when Scylla ate some of his men. Odysseus at that time, lost what he thought, were his best men, he said that it was one of the saddest things he’s seen: “As he, if then he takes a fish,/ Flings it aloft out of the sea/ All quivering, even so she swung them/ All quivering up to her high crag./ There she devoured them, one and all,/ Before her doorway, while they shrieked/ And still stretched out their hands to me/ In dying agony. that sight/ Was the saddest sight my eyes/ have ever seen, while through sore trials/ I wandered the sea’s ways.” I interpreted this like it was one of those things a person would tell and cry about, and yet another characteristic of a human.
The last of the few examples I saw Odysseus give in the Odyssey, showing characteristics of a human, was in “Penelope Tests Odysseus.” It came about when she tests him to see if the man there really is her husband (Odysseus), by ordering Eurycleia to move his bed outside his room: ” ‘Now, Eurycleia, and make ready/ His firm-built bed. Make it outside/ The room he built himself. Aye, move/ His firm-built bedstead forth and strew/ Upon it bedding-fleeces, covers,/ And bright-hued rugs.’ ” Then, Odysseus shows more mortal characteristics: “All this she said/ To try her husband. But Odysseus/ Was angered at her words, and thus/ He spoke to his true wife: ‘What woman!/ What words are these you now have said/ To pierce my heart!…’ ” These words from Penelope show to me how smart and clever she is, and the words from Odysseus show to me how easily he can be upset like a human.
With these three examples from the story of The Odyssey by Homer, I am convinced Odysseus had human-like characteristics and showed them in this story. I think it just goes to show that even the biggest of heroes, the best role models, etc., all have some things that show that they’re only human.