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Theme Analysis Home: Odysseus' desire to return to Ithaca governs his actions.

He fights fiercely when attacked by much stronger enemies, and never gives u , even if this means that he must sacrifice his crew. Odysseus even overcomes the more leasant obstacles, like the leasant yet im risoning treatment of !aly so, and the warm sentiments from "ausika and her family. #hen he returns home, his main riority is to regain his wealth and osition, and he does this by mercilessly slaughtering those who were disloyal to him.

Customs: !ustoms that go against $reek ideals are looked down u on in The Odyssey. Odysseus' men are eaten because they assume that the !yclo s customs are the same as their own, and this is described as obviously savage. #hen the suitors abuse the $reek custom of hos itality, and act like leeches as they waste Odysseus' food and wealth, they are unished severely, more so than %oly hemous, because the suitors should know better being $reeks themselves.

Will of Gods: &eus' will revails in all things, but Athena runs the show in The Odyssey. 'he carefully sets u events to her liking, first guiding Telemachus on his (ourney to %ylos and his manhood, and then she arranges Odysseus' return to Ithaca. 'he masterminds the slaughter of the suitors, and Athena even sto s further bloodshed when she orders the suitors' relatives to make eace with Odysseus. Athena has been ulling on the strings throughout the entire novel, with her father's ermission, but to the main characters, life seems to be full of unfortunate choices and hard times.

Truth and Deception: The Odyssey is full of lies)from foes of Odysseus like !irce, to the suitors who lan to kill Telemachus while lodging in his house, %enelo e lies to the suitors, and Odysseus often disguises his identity in lies to rotect himself. A difference e*ists between the +good guys+ lying and the +bad guys+ lying, and it is one of intent. %enelo e lies to the suitors so she can remain faithful to Odysseus, and Odysseus lies so that he will not be vulnerable to dangerous men.

Summary The following story comes entirely from Homer,s other great e ic, the Odyssey. Though Athena and %oseidon hel ed the $reeks during the Tro(an #ar, a $reek warrior violates !assandra in Athena,s tem le during the sack of Troy, so Athena turns against the $reeks and convinces %oseidon to do the same. The $reeks are beset by terrible storms on the way home- many shi s are destroyed and the fleet is scattered. Odysseus and his crew are blown off course, which starts a decade)long series of adventures for the great $reek chief.

The war and his troubles at sea kee Odysseus away from his home, Ithaca, for twenty years. In his absence, his son, Telemachus, has grown into a man, and his wife, %enelo e, is besieged by suitors who assume Odysseus is dead. %enelo e remains faithful to Odysseus, but the suitors feast at her house all day and live off her su lies. 'he holds them off by romising to marry after she finishes weaving a shroud for .aertes, Odysseus,s father. /very night she secretly undoes the day,s work, leaving the (ob er etually unfinished. One day, near the end of Odysseus,s voyage, the suitors discover %enelo e,s ruse and become more dangerously insistent.

Athena,s anger subsides and her old affection for Odysseus renews, so she decides to set things right. #hile %oseidon, still angry with Odysseus, is away from Olym us, she convinces the other gods to hel Odysseus return home. In disguise in Ithaca, she convinces Telemachus to search for his father. Telemachus goes to %ylos, the home of "estor, who sends him to 0enelaus in ' arta. 0enelaus says he has ca tured %roteus, the sha e)shifting sea god, who says Odysseus is being held risoner of love by the sea nym h !aly so.

At that moment, Hermes is visiting !aly so and relaying &eus,s command that Odysseus be allowed home. Odysseus sets sail on a makeshift raft and is in sight of land when %oseidon catches sight of him, unleashing a storm that again wrecks the homesick $reek. The kind goddess Ino swee s down and gives him her veil, rotecting him from harm in the water. After two days of swimming, Odysseus reaches the land of the %haeacians and their kind king, Alcino1s. The king,s daughter, "ausica2, finds Odysseus, naked and filthy from slee ing on the ground, and leads him to the king. 3eceived warmly, Odysseus tells the story of his wanderings.

He and his crew first encountered the .otus)/aters, who eat the narcotic lotus flower and live in stu efied bliss. A few men try the drug and do not want to leave, but Odysseus drags them back to the shi . They sail on and dock in front of an inviting cave, where they search for food. There is wine, food, and ens full of shee in the cave, but the cave,s owner, the giant !yclo s %oly hemus, returns. He seals the entrance with a giant boulder, s ots the intruders, and eats two of Odysseus,s men. He kee s the others tra ed in the cave and eats two more at each meal. Odysseus lans an esca e, giving %oly hemus wine until he asses out drunk. The men then take a giant red)hot shar ened stake they have made and oke out the monster,s only eye. 4linded, %oly hemus cannot find the men and finally rolls back the boulder blocking the entrance and uts his arms in front of it, figuring he will catch the men as they try to run outside. Odysseus has already thought of this, so the $reeks go to the ens and each tie three rams together. The ne*t day the $reeks hang onto the undersides of the shee as they go out to

asture. As they ass the entrance, %oly hemus feels only the shee ,s backs to make sure there are no $reeks riding them, enabling them to esca e.

"e*t, Aeolus, the kee er of the #inds, gives Odysseus a riceless gift, a leather sack that holds all the storm winds. Odysseus can sail home safely as long as he kee s the bag closed, but his in5uisitive crew o ens the bag, unleashing a fierce storm that blows them to the land of the .aestrygons, cannibals who destroy every shi in the fleet e*ce t one. At their ne*t sto , several men scout ahead and encounter the sorceress !irce, who turns them all into igs e*ce t one man lucky enough to esca e. #arned, Odysseus sets out for !irce,s house armed with an herb Hermes has given him. #hen !irce cannot affect him with her magic, she falls in love with him. 'he returns his crew to human form and they live in lu*ury at her house for a year. 'he then uses her magic to tell them how to get home: they must travel to Hades and s eak to the dead ro het Teiresias. In the world of the dead, Odysseus and his men lure Teiresias,s s irit with blood6a favorite drink of the dead6and ask his hel . He says that Odysseus will eventually reach home. He advises them not to harm the o*en belonging to the 'un, as terrible things would ha en. 4efore de arting Hades, the $reeks talk with some of their old war comrades, including Achilles and A(a*.

!irce has also given them another iece of information6that they must not listen to the 'irens, women who lure men to death with singing that makes them forget everything. %assing the island of the 'irens, the crew lugs their ears with wa*, but the insatiably curious Odysseus re5uests to be tied to the mast with his ears left o en. The shi then asses between 'cylla and !harybdis, the dreaded rock)and)whirl ool duo that destroys many shi s. They finally arrive at the island of the 'un, where the famished men recklessly slaughter and eat one of the o*en while Odysseus is away. The 'un destroys their shi , drowning everyone but Odysseus. He is carried to the island of !aly so, where he is held for many years.

After hearing this long account, the kind %haeacians have ity on Odysseus and 5uickly re are a shi to take him home. He falls aslee on board and awakens on a beach in Ithaca. Athena comes to him, tells him he is home, and begins to craft a way for him to reclaim his wife and home with a sur rise entrance. 'he transforms him into an old beggar and sends him to stay with /umaeus, his faithful swineherd. Athena then goes to Telemachus and tells him to return home but to sto by the swineherd,s shack on the way. There, Athena transforms Odysseus back to his normal form. The father and son are reunited and come u with a lan to get rid of the suitors. Odysseus again disguises himself as a beggar and goes to his alace. Only Argos, his old dog, recogni7es him. Argos dies when Odysseus, trying to reserve his disguise, ignores the dog.

Inside, the boorish suitors mock the beggar and one even hits him. Offended by this breach of hos itality, %enelo e orders the old nurse of the house, /urycleia, to attend to the stranger. As the old woman washes him, she notices a scar on his foot. As she has served the house for many years, she recogni7es the scar and the beggar as Odysseus. He makes her romise not to tell a soul, even his wife. The ne*t day, %enelo e decides to hold a contest: whoever can string Odysseus,s gigantic bow and shoot an arrow through twelve rings can marry her. All the suitors try and fail, but then the beggar stands u and asks for a try. The suitors scoff, but the beggar 5uickly and easily strings the massive bow and shoots an arrow with dead aim. He then turns and begins shooting the suitors. Taken off guard, they reach for their wea ons, but Telemachus has hidden them all. They try to run away, but Telemachus and /umaeus, to whom Odysseus revealed himself earlier that morning, have locked all the doors. 'oon all the suitors, even a riest, have been killed6only a bard is s ared, as Odysseus remembers how much the gods favor song and oetry. Odysseus finally reveals himself to %enelo e, and after twenty years of se aration, they live ha ily ever after.

Analysis If the Iliad has given #estern culture a model of heroic warfare, with mores of bravery, strength, and honor, the Odyssey has rovided something else entirely. It is not an e ic not of social and olitical communities and relationshi s, but an e ic ortrayal of one man over the course of many years. As such, it is a closer ancestor to artistic forms more familiar to us, such as the novel or film. /ven the word odyssey itself has entered the language, meaning a long wandering, voyage, or 5uest. #hile the Iliad is often characteri7ed in terms of its grandeur and stately glory, the Odyssey, a far more seductive tale, has drawn readers by virtue of its sheer, engaging delight.

Odysseus has fascinated generations of writers, from 8ante to 9ames 9oyce. He is erha s the most com le* and, in a way, modern character of all of $reek literature. His motivations are many, which makes us relate to him and believe his e* erience of emotion. It is not as easy to relate to Achilles, half)divine and invulnerable aside from his heel, or Agamemnon, willing to sacrifice his daughter based on a ro het,s advice and a vow he has made. Odysseus is more human and ractical)minded, relying on his own shar wits rather than trusting himself to divine aid, as other characters do.

As we are able to understand where Odysseus is coming from, we can also s ot those actions of his that have less than virtuous motives. A rime e*am le is his stay with !irce: basking in lu*ury with a beautiful mistress, he whiles away an entire year feasting and drinking, unfaithful to a wife and son who, at great danger and in much unha iness, are trying to hold his house together. .ikewise, Odysseus wishes to hear the 'irens, song out of curiosity but also out of a desire for leasure- to attain this wish, he is willing to abandon rudence and to ut himself

above his fellow sailors. This as ect of Odysseus has led some of the e ic,s inter reters to see him as thirsty for e* erience, regardless of the cost to himself or to those, like %enelo e and Telemachus, to whom he owes allegiance.

At its heart, the Odyssey is about the im ortance of memory6of one,s ast and one,s true role. :orgetfulness recurs as an ever)tem ting evil. It is easy to taste the lotus blossoms to feel ha y and wish to stay forever, to sit feet of the singing 'irens, and to stay in beauty and lu*ury with !irce. These s ecific instances are symbolic echoes of the tem tation of forgetfulness that ermeates the entire e ic. #e may even wonder how Odysseus, after ten years of the des air and trium hant ecstasy of war, can go back to his old married life. This challenge resonates (ust as owerfully today, rooted not in a articular time or culture but in the human condition itself.