Deception And Disguise In Homer’s Odyssey

1355 words - 5 pages

Homer’s Odyssey challenges the common view on deception as employed only maliciously. Both a mortal, Odysseus, and one of the most revered goddesses, Athena, have the common noble goal of bringing Odysseus back home to his family after nearly two decades of absence. To achieve that goal, they mainly use deception and disguise in various forms that their physical and mental powers allow. Odysseus is famous for wittily deceiving others through verbal means, fact noted by Menelaus and Helen of Troy (Book 4). He even doubts Athena, as his own skills have made him doubt other’s honesty. Athena states after realizing Odysseus’s disbelief, “Would not another wandering man, in joy, make haste home to his wife and children? Not you, not yet” (8. 420-422). Odysseus wants to make sure that Athena gives him substantial evidence regarding his family and being back because “empty words are evil” (4. 891). After this exchange, when Odysseus knows him and Athena are on the same team, they use those skills to uncover the truth of matters or people’s character and return home.
From the beginning until the end of the Odyssey, Athena and Odysseus use physical disguise to ensure that justice and truth prevail. Athena uses her infinite disguising powers to change status, sex, and age and appear as the Mentor, a little girl, a “young man’s figure” and more (3.281). While all disguising instances are essential towards helping Odysseus go back home, the Mentor disguise seems to be the most important. In Book 2, Athena transforms into “Mentor’s form and voice” as a strategy to persuade Telemakhos to believe in his potential and pursue the journey ahead of him (2. 425). Mentor is in fact a person here, Telemakhos’s tutor and Odysseus’s comrade in battle. His name is not only suggestive of his wisdom and experience, but he is also in charge of the household as per Odysseus’ request until he returns. Thus, even physical disguise has at its heart critical thinking and mental deception, as Athena knows that the Mentor is a trustworthy person that Telemkahos will be receptive to. At the end of the Odyssey, Athena resumes the Mentor disguise again to persuade Odysseus to refrain from entering a big conflict: “though still she kept the form and voice of Mentor” (24. 614). Therefore, she uses Mentor’s appearance in both crucial instances, initiation and resolution, to accomplish her noble goal of bringing Odysseus home and ensuring a good aftermath.
Further, Athena does not only use these disguising and deception skills to appear as someone else; she also uses these skills to disguise Odysseus as a beggar to help figure out who he can trust and avoid being killed by the suitors (16. 558-560). After all, it would have been fruitless to overcome so many trials, some of his own making, to fail the last milestone of revenging on the suitors intelligently. Through the beggar disguise, he is able to discern who are his loyal and disloyal servants, Penelope’s loyalty and...

Find Another Essay On Deception and Disguise in Homer’s Odyssey

Essay on Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey

899 words - 4 pages Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey   During the course of history, the world has seen many fine works of literature like Homer’s epic, Odyssey. This book is a standard against which to compare all literary novels. The symbolism permeates the pages drawing the reader into the intriguing plot that includes twists within the central theme. Also, the author intelligently uses imagery and diction painting dramatic images in

Use of Epithets In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey

851 words - 3 pages Use of Epithets In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey Throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer’s use of the epithet in describing Odysseus becomes essential as a means of characterizing the hero. Homer uses several epithets, or nicknames, along with the name “Odysseus” as the story unfolds in both tales. Three of these include the descriptive epithet “wily Odysseus,” the laudative epithet “Odysseus, the great tactician,” and the

The Realtionship of a Father and Son in Homer’s Odyssey

1027 words - 4 pages With time come change, change in the human experience. That fact applies no differently to literature, specifically reflected through reading ancient prose with a modern lens. A relevant example is the relationship of a father and son in Homer’s Odyssey. Through characterization on the surface, this significant relationship appears quite distinct in contrast to such relationships today. However, these quite humane and sentimental relationships

Xenia and Hospitality in Homer’s epic The Odyssey

815 words - 3 pages “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9). Hospitality can lead down a path of happiness and joy when ensued. In Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Xenia is an important factor in the foremost important character’s journey home. The role of xenia in the odyssey when followed can be very beneficial and when not followed, deadly. When abiding by

Of Gods and Mortals: Deception and Disguise

1029 words - 4 pages Homer’s Odyssey challenges the common view on deception as employed only malignantly. Both a mortal, Odysseus, and one of the most reputable goddesses, Athena, have the common noble goal of bringing Odysseus back home to his family after nearly two decades of absence. To achieve that goal, they mainly use deception and disguise in various forms that their physical and mental powers allow. Whereas deception can hardly be viewed as a tool towards

Deception in Homer's The Odyssey

1384 words - 6 pages Cor. 11: 14). Deception is used for many different psychological reasons and it is used in Homer’s The Odyssey by many characters in the poem, including mortals, gods and goddesses. Odysseus is a man of many faces: war hero, adventure seeker, devout Hellenist when he chooses to be, and even bloody murderer. The face he is most known for in The Odyssey, though, is a cunning and deceitful face. As he is planning to escape the cave of the one

The Static Character in Homer’s Odyssey

1005 words - 4 pages The Static Character in Homer’s Odyssey The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by W.H.D. Rouse (between 900 and 700 BC.) is "The best story ever written" (7). This is a story about a man named Odysseus Laertiades who went off to war. After winning the war, he and his men were heading home when their ship got off track. They ended up in the land of the Cyclops. They were held captive by a god's, Poseidon Earthholder, son. Odysseus came up with a

Essay on Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey

1080 words - 4 pages The Importance of Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey   In the epic poem, Odyssey, Homer provides examples of the consequences of impulsive and irrational thinking, and the rewards of planning and rationality.  Impulsive actions prove to be very harmful to Odysseus. His decisions when he is escaping the cave of the Cyclops lead to almost all his troubles through his journey. As Odysseus flees the cave, he yells back "Cyclops - if

Use of Disguise in Homer's Odyssey

1080 words - 4 pages The Use of Disguise in Odyssey     In Homer's Odyssey, the use of disguise to help convey a false identity assists the characters in accomplishing their plans.  Without the use of disguise it would thwart Odyssey’s attempts at arriving back to his homeland. Each disguise has its own individual purpose, for example Athene's image as Mentor to advise Telemachos.  The main intention being to assist and encourage Telemachos into searching

Loyalty Conflicts between Family and State in Homer’s Odyssey, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and

3396 words - 14 pages Loyalty Conflicts between Family and State in Homer’s Odyssey, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Antigone Everyday we are faced with hundreds of decisions. Some of the decisions take very little time and are made without a second thought. Other decisions hold more at stake and can tear a person in two while trying to make the final decision. The basis of many of the hardest decisions is the conflict between family and state

Homer’s Odyssey and the Odyssey of Our Lives

1585 words - 6 pages Homer’s Odyssey and the Odyssey of Our Lives        Homer’s Odyssey is a magnificent mythological tale. This work was presumably created after his encounter with goddess Athena. Although Odysseus’ journey is filled with unrealistic adventures and mythical powers, some principles behind this story can relate to our everyday lives. Odysseus’ adventures in Odyssey relate to the heroism, intellect, and ruthlessness that are in our lives

Similar Essays

Deception And Disguise In "The Odyssey"

1396 words - 6 pages Deception is defined as a crafty procedure or practice meant to deceive or defraud. People tend to view this as a sinister action. No matter how sinister it can be, it can also be utilized to gain information and knowledge. How a person uses deception varies among different people. Generally, the more clever people tend to utilize deception very efficiently. Odysseus masters deception in the Odyssey by disguising himself. Odysseus isn't alone

Different Forms Of Disguise And Deception In Twelfth Night

1121 words - 4 pages Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night Twelfth Night is said to be Shakespeare's most complete comedy. As in most comedies, Twelfth Night celebrates different forms of disguise and deception in order to make the play more entertaining. ”There's something in it that is deceivable”(ActIV, ScIII), indeed the crux of the play is based on disguise and deception. The most significant deception would

Greek And Roman Culture In Homer’s Odyssey And Virgil’s Aenied

1033 words - 4 pages Both Homer and Virgil were great writers who wrote about the same war from two different perspectives. Because both writers came from two different backgrounds, Homer being Greek and Virgil being Roman, their culture became the theme of the epic heroes journey as warrior being either Greek or Roman. The Odyssey, written by Homer, is a heroic tale about the adventures of Odysseus in his pursuit of returning home to his wife. The Aeneid

Learning Temperance In Homer’s Odyssey Essay

1541 words - 6 pages Learning Temperance in Homer’s Odyssey Being a work of importance in the western tradition of philosophy, The Odyssey is much more than some play written by Homer ages ago. Though The Odyssey certainly is a dramatic work and partially intended for entertainment, it also provides insight into the ways of thinking of the time it has been written in. Aside from illustrating the perspective of early Greek philosophy The Odyssey also raises