The Odyssey Essay, Research Paper
The lessons that Odysseus learns on his way home to Ithaka will allow him to get back to being a good, father, and leader of his civilization. He needs to relearn all of what he once knew as leader of Ithaka in order to safely survive there. Luckily, Odysseus has a strong will and is able to accomplish all of his goals. The three most important lessons he learns are the need for opportunity, the importance and enjoyment of group activity, and the last, most important, hospitality.
The need for opportunity is an important quality, of a civilization, that Odysseus must learn in order to be leader of Ithaka. If he doesn?t realize that all the people in his civilization need opportunity his community wouldn?t be able to grow, and prosper. In a Greek culture ruled by Gods, as Odysseus lives in, he would also be punished if he didn?t correctly rule over his city, fairly. On his journey home Odysseus learns the values of opportunity in many different place, the most important being at Alkinoos? castle. It is here that Athena guides Odysseus after Poseidon ruins his first ship. Here Odysseus asks kindly, for help on returning home. He doesn?t, at first, reveal his identity but he lets the king, and his wife, know of his troubles, ?here is a man bruised by adversity, thrown upon your mercy and the king your husband?s, begging indulgence of this company,? tells of a man?s hard fought journey home. He also, even though he hasn?t been physically trying to get home for that long, shows that all those years at Calypso?s he was thinking about just how much he missed Ithaka and his family. Alkinoos has mercy on him and helps out Odysseus.
Another important part of a civilization is the enjoyment of company and group activity. Odysseus learns important keys to this at Alkinoos? palace, also.
An uncivilized city wouldn?t be able to sustain such healthy social lives. They would be to busy just trying to survive, and wouldn?t be able to communicate well with each other. The three main types of important group activity, in Greek times, are feasts, storytelling, and sports. After Odysseus begs for mercy from the king, and the king grants him it, they all sit down to feast, and give thanks to the gods. After a good, hospitable, supper the two parties feel more at ease with each other, and are able to get to know each other better, ?Friend, I, for one, have certain questions for you,? shows the comfort between two strangers, after one dinner. They all talk and communicate well with each other. The next day Alkinoos brings back storytelling and sports to Odysseus. First, the king invites a Harper to come tell stories of the Trojan War. He tells of the Trojan Horse. Near the end of this story Alkinoos realizes his guest is crying, not knowing the identity of Odysseus, yet, he doesn?t know why. So to change the subject he invites Odysseus to join them all in track and field sporting events, ?Let our guest go home and tell his friends what champions we are at boxing, wrestling, broadjump and foot racing.? This shows just how important sporting events are as entertainment, and getting to know each other.
The most important key to a civilization Odysseus must learn before returning home is the importance of hospitality. Without it the other keys wouldn?t be able to co-exist. In a civilization run without any real laws or rules to live by they must all rely on each other?s hospitality. There is no law enforcement so if they can?t trust and depend on each other their whole city would fall apart and crumble. For Odysseus, being king of Ithaka means he has to know the value better than anyone, because his whole city depends on him. Luckily, Odysseus is able to see this custom in full effect in many places throughout his journey. At Kalypso?s cave, Alkinoos? palace, and on the islands he and his men travel they all show some kind of hospitality. At Calypso’s cave and Alkinoos? palace there is definitely signs of hospitality. Even though the two places are opposites, uncivilized and civilized, they still show signs of hospitality. At Alkinoos you get a specific insight on how to treat others from Ekheneos, ?Alkinoos, this will not pass for courtesy: a guest abased in ashes at our hearth,? this shows how you have to be nice and respect others.
Also, that you have to be invited into someone?s home, and not just take what you want. The islands he and his men go to also show uncivilized people, so Odysseus knows how not to run his city, and show the strength and will power of people to obey rules set out by the gods. It wasn?t easy for Odysseus, but after he learned, and understood this value, he was ready to go home.
The Odyssey is a story about a man?s journey home to his city, and family. Along the way that man must learn lessons on how to run his city. These lessons will allow him to get back to what he knew best, and serve as a good leader to the people who once depended on him. The lessons the man is learning, on how to run a civilization, are key not only back in the times of the ancient Greeks, but to this day. In order to have a civilization people depend on, and need other people.