Temptations Of Odysseus Essay

1476 words - 6 pages


Temptations of Odysseus
     Odysseus: a hero in every way. He is a real man, skilled in the sports, handy with a sword and spear, and a master of war strategy. Most of the challenges and adventures in his return voyage from Troy show us this even if we had no idea of his great heroic stature and accomplishments in the Trojan war. I found in my reading of the Odyssey that most of the trials the gods place upon him are readily faced with heroic means. These challenges are not
necessarily welcomed by Odysseus but accepted as part of his role. He is the hero, its his lot to wield sword and shield and bravely face the next army or monster. Then we begin to see more of the challenges do not require our hero to fight his way out. These threats are the most difficult problems for Odysseus to overcome. The tests like the isle of the lotus eaters, Circe's island, and Calypso's island were the hardest challenges for Odysseus. His encounter with Polyphemus the Cyclops, the Laestrygonians, Charybdis and Scyylla, and the kingdom of the dead: these dangers were on his level, heroic battles where he could fight valiantly and if it was his fate, die valiantly. The challenges where heroic means were not a solution to overcome the danger were the most formidable tasks that could easily destroy Odysseus.      Odysseus and crew are finally on their way home after the war, after nine days on the rough sea, they arrive at the isle of the lotus eaters. The lotus eaters are a group of people who have a lot of fun, thanks to their consumption of the lotus flower. This confrontation provides Odysseus and his crew with the first of their challenges (Odyssey 9:1-103). This threat is definitely one that a heroic confrontation is unlikely. This danger is not any physical threat to him or his men. The lotus eaters create a situation where Odysseus and his crew are tempted by a gift. This gift of immediate gratification threatens to take away several their basic heroic element. By eating the lotus flower they would find immediate happiness, however they would never make it home. They would died old men on that island without their families, they would be broken in a sense. Without the memories of their homes, wives, and children they would be just a shell of who they were. Odysseus would sooner die than to never see Penelope again and be robbed of their long term gratification of returning home. He would cease to be a man and a hero if he stopped caring and lived out the rest of his days on the island with the lotus eaters. On that level the lotus eaters were trying to rob the men of their memories. What do you have left without memories? Are you still a human being without your memories? Memories are what shapes a person and without them you're just a shell, a shadow of what you were. Odysseus responds to these tests as he knows best, with brute force, dragging his men back to the ship and lashing them down. They immediately...

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