War & Peace in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ (version 2.0)

The importance and influence of Homer’s works to Greek culture and history simply cannot be overstated.  He has been labeled the “teacher of Greece” and he was widely lauded in his own day, as he continues to be in our day and age.  Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ is a monument of world literature, and it is a vitally important example of Greek mythological writing.  It is also fascinating as a kind of political document, a manifesto about war and peace, imperialism, violence, hatred, and so on. Although the Trojan War was an imaginary  conflict, its depiction by Homer (in both the ‘Odyssey’ and ‘Iliad’) is vivid and harrowing, and this may be because, depending on when Homer was really writing, the horrors of war might have been all-too-real in a land where civil strife and conflict amongst city-states were common.  With this possibility in mind, I want you to think about the ‘Odyssey’ not strictly as a mythological text but as a kind of political document, a creative act that negotiates the day’s crises of power and authority.  Hence, I would like for you to explore something related to war and peace as depicted by Homer and articulated through his many character dialogues and speeches.  Specifically, I want you to address a particular war-oriented theme – such as violence, hatred, justice, mercy, authority, violence, surrender, and negotiation – and examine that theme as presented in a particular passage from the ‘Odyssey.’  Pick a quotation or two from the text and then discuss it in terms of its political content.  In your discussion you should identify the central issue of your chosen lines, and detail the challenges and logic of characters concerning the subject; then, you must offer some thoughts on what YOU think about the topic within the context of the story (if not the culture of Greece more generally).  To borrow from one translation of the opening lines of the text:  “Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy.”  Tell ME, fair students, about the trials and tribulations of this hero, and tell US what you think the text has to say about war and peace in the context of Greek myth (and/or Greek society).  I shall be curious to see where the “muse” takes you in this response!

20 thoughts on “War & Peace in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ (version 2.0)

  1. The odyssey by Homer Is a truly brilliant and everlasting work. He uses the text to conceptualize a lot of the problems and things going on in Greece during the time of the book. One quote that exemplifies this is “be strong, dairy my heart; I am a solider; I have seen worse then this”. This quote is powerful to this story because it shows how many people were going through this at the time and the time of the trojan war where there was horrific things going on all around him in Greece and abroad. He also uses this novel to portray political unrest and civil war going on all over the different city states. He uses Odysseus king of Ithaca who has been gone 20 years as his portrayal. Where back home in Ithaca there is civil war over his queen Penelope and her hand in marriage where only her son Telemachus is there to protect her and constantly in danger from men like Antinous who attempts to kill him. This book also portrays the religon of the time using character in the book such as Athena, Zeus, and Poseidon. This can be seen from this quote “ah how shameless- the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone they say come all their miseries yes but they themselves with there own reckless ways compound their pains beyond there proper share”. This quote shows the religious context of back then and is saying that people blame the gods for all the pain in this world when much of it like war is caused by man themselves and the gods are not to blame. The gods are shown throughout the book such as the three I named mostly Athena who speaks for Odysseus to the gods and helps him to get home along his journey one example is with Calypso who turns his mean into pigs but Athena helps Odysseus to fight her power. The odyssey in my option is an amazing set of books cronicaling throught a interesting story the politics, society, and traditions of scientific Greece and is truly important and everlasting as an important novel of our civilization as a whole.

  2. When I personally think of the Odyssey, I think of a tale of a man running form the wrath of the gods. Yet does the Odyssey’s protagonist really deserve his fate of trails and running from supernatural god vengeance? Yes. There is, in my opinion, an action taken by Odysseus that is not justified by the reactions of the gods. The strong handed actions of the gods is there way of justice to those of the mortal world, and there was obviously one person that was constantly on the god’s s-list.

    Odysseus’s actions in the war with Troy were heroic and legendary, this is not in question. But it was his journey home that gained the negative attentions of the gods. First piece of negative evidence was the destruction of Ismarus. The fact that even after long conflict, the hero is willing to take supplies and lives from innocents is just unsettling. This act of pillaging was met with swift action by Zeus who threw a storm of more than nine days at his crew.

    The second bit of evidence was the broken agreement to not touch the sheep of the sun god. While it can be argued that it was not physically Odysseus that broke this rule, his men are under his leadership and their actions are his responsibility. The gods reacted with wiping out his crew and leaving only the Ithacan king to deal with the consequences. The gods were once again dispensing justice to Odysseus’s actions, which he was warned about the sheep’s importance long beforehand.

    The biggest thing that got Odysseus into troubled waters was the blinding of Poseidon’s son, the Cyclopes. From his cry, “Hear me Poseidon… grant that Odysseus may never reach his home. But if he is fated to see his family again… may he come late, having lost all of his companions… and find trouble at home.” it was clear that the gods would retaliate. Not only retaliate, they would follow this cry as a blue print to his coming fate. This could be argued as self-defense but the gods don’t like their kind being messed with.

    Are the gods dispensing justice in a fair manor? I would say yes they are. The gods of Odysseus’s time were the ultimate rulers over mortals. Mortals’ actions, thus, were judged by these gods who had the ultimate power to do so. Once Odysseus began to interfere with the lives of the gods, they reacted in the way that would befit and satisfy those affected. As cruel as the gods may be, their actions are done in the hopes of keeping man in check and to enforce that they rule over all, justified in action or not.

  3. I think that the theme of mercy is important in the Odyssey in particularly with Athena and Odysseus. Athena pleas with Zeus to spare Odysseus after all that he has suffered. “Didn’t Odysseus please you with sacrifices beside the Greek ships at Troy? Why is Odysseus so odious, Zeus?” (Book2, pg2). This part is interesting because all of his misfortune stemmed from Athena setting him off course for not giving her sacrifice after leaving Troy. It seems like she sees what has happened to him has gone much further than she intended because it was her actions that indirectly resulted in Poseidon bringing Odysseus so much suffering. She then persuades Zeus who has power over all the Gods, to allow Odysseus to eventually return home. While Zeus agrees to let Odysseus ultimately return home, he allows Poseidon to continue to toy with him at sea.
    I think that it makes sense for Athena to be able to take pity on Odysseus because she extremely wise. Her wisdom overcomes emotion unlike most Gods and Goddesses, and she sees Odysseus has more than suffered for what he did. I think it’s also understandable that Zeus allows Poseidon to continue to harm Odysseus before he gets home because his son was blinded by him.

  4. “I am no God. Why liken me to the deathless ones? No, I am your father, on whose account you have suffered many pains and endured the violence of men.” I feel that this quote stated from Odysseus is an important one. In this passage he is speaking to his son, Telemachus, who he is talking to for the first time since he left for war. Since everyone wrote him off as dead, this is a hard concept for the son to understand and handle. This quote touches on violence, hatred, surrender and authority. The violent subject of this text is what Odysseus referred to as the violence of men. He knows that his son saw things, and lived through things that were not “pretty” or easy. Hatred comes through in referring to the Gods. We know from the reading that the Gods are not just or fair. They are brutal Gods and Odysseus does not want to be in the same category as them. He does not want his son to refer to him as a God. Surrender is what Odysseus is doing to his son. He is surrendering by saying, without directly saying, he made a mistake. He should have never left his son and he is surrendering those thoughts. He knows his son suffered because of him. Lastly this quote contains authority because I feel that Odysseus wants to just say sorry to his son and his son should just accept it because his father is authority. I think that maybe Telemachus should accept his father a little more. His father has been through a lot and war could not have been easy for him either. Maybe his father should have some how proved that he wasn’t a God trying to play a trick on Telemachus. One the same end, I understand Telemachus. With Athena meddling in all of the city (with good or bad intentions) how can he trust that the father he thought was dead, and suddenly came back to life? Again we all know these Gods aren’t always fair or just so can we blame Telemachus? Reading on past this quote in the story, they do reconcile and Telemachus believes that it really is his father and they share a tender moment. This type of story can kind of relate to today’s world too. All of us being a generation of war, we know what it is like to live through it. When a family member is gone for that long, and is there is a possibility he/she is dead, it would be hard at first to know they’re alive.

  5. There’s no doubt that justice is a significant theme in The Odyssey. Although there may be a lot of justice in The Odyssey, it isn’t exhibited in a courtroom. Justice is based around a divine opinion of cause-and-effect. There’s a precise balance in the world ruled by the gods, and bad actions (like angering those gods) gets you into trouble. In Book 1, the passage where Athena explains Poseidon’s grudge against Odysseys at the request of his son the Cyclops gives modern audiences a glimpse into Greek society, and even their opinions on suffering and peace, during that era. “But Poseidon is stiff and cold with anger / Because Odysseus blinded his son, the Cyclops… The Earthshaker has been after Odysseus / Ever since, not killing him, but keeping his away / From his native land” (Book 1, 180). Reading the other books, we learn just how many trials Odysseys faces in his attempt to return home. Poseidon forces Odysseus to wander the sea for almost twenty years, because the man stabbed his son’s eye. The audience is shown just how powerful and temperamental the gods were through this imitation of justice Poseidon gives to Odysseus. Although my personal, modern point of view is that Poseidon is completely unjustified in harassing Odysseus across the seas, (because Polyphemos deserved the blinding for eating his crew members and trying to kill them all) the Greeks listening to this story in ancient times were likely expecting Odysseys’ fate. It was the common belief that if a person did something to make a god angry, they would be cursed. That was the justice of the gods. I believe the ancient Greeks probably always feared from the anger of the gods because it would bring them misfortune and that this element of the epic poem is meant to be a sort of cautionary tale to those who listened to it.

  6. One of the passages that appealed to me the most was in Book 11 when Odysseus was performing sacrifices in order the attempt the contact the souls of the dead. He succeeds in doing this and the first soul to appear to him was the soul of Elpenor, one of his crewmen. Elpenor met his demise after he drank too much liquor in an attempt to drown out all the horrors he has witnessed on this journey and fell asleep on the top of the roof. He fell off the roof and broke his neck in the fall.

    The exchange of Elpenor to Odysseus went as follows:

    “Do not leave me unburied, unmourned, when you sail for home or I might become a cause of the god’s anger against you. Burn me with my armor, such as I have, heap me a barrow on the grey sea’s shore, in memory of a man whose luck ran out. Do this for me, and fix in the mound the oar I rowed with my shipmates when I was alive.”

    In this passage, Elpenor begs Odysseus to take his body back to his homeland and give him a proper burial. Odysseus obliges and says he will carry out Elphenor’s wishes. The context of this particular passage really struck a chord with Odysseus as he was speaking to his “comrade’s ghost” because I think this represented just how much Odysseus had lost on his journey home. To have someone you worked with, traveled with, and fought alongside with speak to you as nothing more than a faint memory lingering in between the real world and the Underworld must have really tormented Odysseus. His fellow comrade was someone he could once again briefly speak with—but never touch or interact with ever again.

    I thought this passage applied to the themes of authority, justice, and mercy. Odysseus served as Elpenor’s authority figure—he was to do as Odysseus commanded. However, in their final exchange, it was Odysseus who took the order from Elpenor to return his body and properly bury it. In times of great strife and grief, authority sometimes takes a backseat in terms of doing things right. This was a great act of justice and mercy that Odysseus partook in because he took the time in his vastly complicated journey to justify things by returning one of his men home.

    I thought this passage applied to concepts of war because in war, soldiers are killed every day. This verse conveyed so much of the emotion and anguish that occurs when a loved one is killed in battle and it is the deepest and most desperate wish that that person’s body be returned home to be given a proper funeral. It is the final act of mercy and justice that can be offered to someone before their body is laid to rest and it allows peace of mind to be given to those affected by the loss of someone—just as Odysseus was given peace of mind knowing that he could bury his fellow comrade in one last merciful act of respect and kindness.

  7. “Now I’m in for it. I’m afraid that Calaypso was right on target when she said I would have my fill of sorrow on the open sea before I ever got home. It’s all coming true. Look at these clouds, Zeus is piling like flowers around the sky’s rim, and he’s roughened the sea, and every wind in the world is howling at me.” To transfer this excerpt as political content, one must view Zeus as the judge. In the world of greek mythology he is the strongest ruler and the judge of all man so it only fits that he holds the highest chair in the justice system. The sky and ocean are acting as his police men and adding pressure to Odysseus’s journey. Calaypso is the trusted attorney who tried to steer him in the right direction and surely enough she was right that Odysseus would not finish his trek without facing sadness and struggle. Even today, the justice system tends to be objective. They pick and choose who is truly given justice and they make it more difficult for some to come out on top. In my interpretation of the Odyssey I view Zeus as the puppet master behind the justice system and he is acting purely to offset Odysseus’s journey.

  8. There are two quotes that stuck out to me throughout the reading that I believe exemplifies one of the main themes in the Homer’s Odyssey which is hierarchy among gods, goddesses, and mortals and the impact of the hierarchy.

    “Father Zeus, whose power is supreme, / If the blessed gods really do want Odysseus to return to his home,/ We should send Hermes, our quicksilver herald,”


    “Well send him off now and watch out for Zeus’ temper. Cross him and he’ll really be rough on you later”

    I picked these two quotes because they glorify Zeus in two aspects; his temper and the amount of power he has. The Odyssey also shows the levels of power and hierarchy during Greek society at the time. Now although Odyssey’s journey was prolonged by Poseidon after Odysseus blinded Polyphemus, Zeus was still in control of this decision by allowing Poseidon to delay the journey. In the hierarchy at the top is Zeus then followed by other gods, such as Poseidon, followed then by the goddesses, such as Athena, and then mortals. By Odysseus, a mortal, blinding Polyphemus that was an act of defiance against the gods. The gods, besides Poseidon, met at Mount Olympus to discuss Odysseus’ fate like a modern day judge and jury. Athena gave a speech on how he should be allowed to return home rather than be stuck on the island with Calypso. Goddesses’ power and authority was above mortals’ it was lower than the gods’. The role of the goddesses were shown when Hermes told Calypso that it was time for Odysseus to return home. She wanted him to stay on the island to be her lover but because Zeus didn’t want that he couldn’t stay. It shows the double standards and power struggle between not only men and women, but also between the gods and goddesses. So in my opinion, if Athena wasn’t Zeus’ favorite child her speech might haven’t had made an impact and the story would have ended. With this hierarchy set in place and the gods interfering with mortals’ lives it can lead to violence or to peace. The conditions of Odysseus and his crew faced while on the seas were violent and dangerous just like war. The outcome of whether they would make it home or even stay alive till the next day was uncertain. Athena is a symbol of peace advocating for Odysseus to go home feeling that he has suffered enough for his actions against Polyphemus.

  9. This indeed is quite an epic text depicted from Greek culture, it has everything. Conquer, failure, grief, love, loss, fear, strive, it’s an ever changing story with so many different emotions, and key players in it, and I feel like Homer was trying to capture the real life emotions of these real geographic cultures during this pre-democratic political era. Not that we will ever unveil the truth of these stories, nor will we discover is the basis was of true figures, but I do believe it is clear that these are real “conflicts” of the time, to an extent of course. The idea of war, was so realistic to the people of this time period, and I see how the character Odysseus was so relate able, in the sense soldiers felt what he felt; misery, feeling like there was no hope, and the feeling of sorrow, these were real mortal emotions. “We lost six fighting men from each of our ships, the rest of us cheated destiny and death,” this was a very significant statement made by Odysseus, during his recollection of the battle. I feel as is this was a true representation of how truly hopeless these soldiers actually were, and that saw in their minds that if that hadn’t already been killed, it was only a matter of time. They knew the gods were against them, they weren’t there to shed any light or give mercy on their troops. I think this may of been significant in the Greek culture and highlighted the powers of the hierarchy during this time, and that maybe it hinted that your fate wasn’t really in your own hands, it was in the hands of your rulers and there was nothing you could do about it, they will ultimately determine your “destiny”.

  10. It is evident that the “odyssey” contains many war-oriented themes; the one in particular I want to zero-in-on is the element of hatred in this story. There is quite a lot of it…
    Most of the animosity in the story is between the Gods and the humans. Many times Odysseus and his crew blame the Gods for their tribulations thus spewing out hatred to the Gods. For instance, in Book 9 there are two instances where it is because of man’s propensity to be relentless and impetuous why misfortune falls upon them, and they blame the gods for that misfortune. First instance: they go to Ismaros and “pillaged” the town, Odysseus recalled that he “divided fairly as I could among all hands/and then gave command to pull out fast/that was my order but the fools wouldn’t listen/they drank a lot of wine and slaughtered/sheep and cattle on the shore”. Because of their relentlessness they pillaged the town and slaughtered the men, then, even when Odysseus told them they need to make a hasty retreat the men’s’ emotions of desire drove them to slaughter the animals and to drink the inhabitants’ wine (they kind of sound like gluttons). After all this Odysseus has the audacity to say “we were out of luck/cursed by Zeus/to suffer heavy losses.”
    The other instance is of course with Polyphemus. In the beginning the Cyclops was right to call them “pirates”. Anyway, the men start eating the Cyclops’ food and then they get into that whole mess that ended in a stake through an eye. Afterwards, Polyphemus asks Poseidon to avenge him by ensuing misery to the crew. My point is that it is because of the men’s deeds that they suffer, so they should not “point-fingers” to the Gods but rather need to reflect on their deeds.
    With most literature, it is a direct reflection of the times in which it was written. The reflection includes the politics of the times, and in the Odyssey’s case there must have been a lot of hatred between the powers of the time. And then I would believe that a lot of people blamed the God’s for the calamitous events that would occur between these powers.

  11. “Mortals! They are always blaming the gods for their troubles, when their own witlessness causes them more that they were destined for!” (Homer,Book 1). This is right when Odysseus is trying to get back home (Ithaca) and return to his wife. For Odysseus, even if he returned home to his wife, this did not end his bad luck. There was a goddess named Calypso, who wanted to acquire Odysseus.

    None of the Gods had like Odysseus, except for one, named Poseidon. Agamemnon’s son Orestes, had killed Aegsithus. That is what the above mentioned quote is referencing. The messenger, Hermes, had warned Aegsithus not to kill and than marry the wife of Agamemnon. Even though Hermes had advised Aegsithus, he still decided to proceed, and in the end he ended up getting killed.

    I believe that this certain quote is in some-type of war-like. It shows Hermes trying to prevent anything bad from happening, and than having someone not listen, and in the end paying the consequences. This seems like a violent scene in Homer’s story. I feel that if they had listened to the messenger, Hermes, nobody would have been killed.

  12. Odysseus in this story finds himself trapped, unable to return to his home of Ithaca. He is facing the will of Poseidon who is the father of the Cyclops that he blinded. He spends years after the Trojan war longing to return home and his family presuming he is dead try to stave off men that will have his wife.

    This story shows just how much the balance of power is tipped from the Gods to men. If men do something to make the Gods angry, they either kill them, or torment them like Poseidon not letting Odysseus return home. Also, men should stop blaming the Gods for every bad turn they make. Like for example, “Mortals! They are always blaming the gods for their troubles, when their own witlessness causes them more than they are destined for!” This shows us that the hearts of men and greed, can cause they primary cause of our own suffering.

    Negotiation is also a tactic used in this story. As seen by Athena trying to convince Zeus, who ultimately has the last word to let Odysseus return home. “By now all the others who fought at Troy, at least those who survived the war and sea were safely back home. Only Odysseus still longed to return to his home and his wife.” Even today there is negation for a lot of what we do. If there is a decision to b made that effects the outcome of multiple people, there will be negation.

  13. Negotiation is a major theme in Homer’s The Odyssey. All throughout the epic poem negotiations are made by Odysseus. Some of these are very noticeable while others are not. A less notable example would be the constant loss of Odysseus’s men throughout his journey, as he trades those lives for his return home. A more conscious example of this would be when Odysseus encounters Circe. Circe takes some of his men and transforms them into animals and then Hermes comes and gives Odysseus instructions on how to get his men back and defeat Circe.
    Odysseus tricks her and then says, “I’m not getting into any bed with you / Unless you agree first to swear a solemn oath / That you’re not planning some new trouble for me”. Here Odysseus trades sex and Circe’s life for the freedom of his men and the guarantee that she will not harm any of them anymore.

  14. My favorite passage comes in two parts, in the last book(s), when the suitors are all about Penelope, and Odysseus is just about to return home.
    “… when they had finished preparing the meal, they fell to feasting. There was plenty for everyone, and when they all had enough of food and drink, their minds turned toward rest, and they took the gift of sleep…” (Lines 514-517, Book 16, “The Odyssey”)
    “… thus Odysseus and Telemachus strode quickly out of the farmstead, sowing death for the suitors with every step he took.” (Lines 28-30, Book 17, “The Odyssey”)
    There are many conflicting issues around the central issue at hand. Odysseus has been gone for many years, his wife’s hand is untaken, and so are all of the riches and titles of Ithaca. All believe the King of Ithaca to be dead, and such, the issue of succession is at hand. As we know in war, death is inevitability, and it should be no one’s fault to think the missing King is dead after all this time. But that does not keep a grieving heart from grieving and Penelope truly did love Odysseus, especially so much as to wait so long and push off all of her suitors.
    So while Penelope is continuing to mourn and love her “dead” husband, King of Ithaca, and his subjects (as well as many foreign suitors) bid for his seat, Odysseus returns with his son. One could look upon the way in which Odysseus slaughters the suitors mercilessly, one after the other, and as the passage says “with every step”, and want mercy for them. They aren’t exactly in the wrong after all. But in early and other passages, it’s explicitly mentioned how Penelope’s suitors simply eat and feast all day in the halls. I would say not only does their avarice and sloth make them poor suitors, but poor swords, waging a war of love for Penelope’s heart. Unfortunately for them, Odysseus wages war with a trusty spear.
    And while we may debate much about the text of “the Odyssey” itself, such as the period in which Odysseus was gone, the validity of him historically, how Greek “courting” actually went, and none can deny the issue of succession and the progenitor of a throne in war. Even in the modern day, if the President dies, his Vice President takes over. If a Sergeant, on a battlefield dies, his Corporal gains superiority. It is a real issue, and at some point, grieving wife or not, I simply find this passage romanticizing the relationship of King and Queen nothing more than that, romanticized (as romantic as it maybe).

  15. In the ‘Odyssey,’ it contains many war-related issues. The one I would like to talk about is authority because mostly all the characters had to answer to someone, meaning Zeus. None of the characters in the story never really make a decision without Zeus’ input. In Book 5, it states, “Light flooded the halls of Olympus where Zeus, high Lord of Thunder, sat with the other gods, listening to Athena reel off the tale of Odysseus’ woes.” In this line, Athena is talking to Zeus and the other gods, besides Poseidon, about Odysseus’ fate. This quote indicates that Zeus is like the judge of the world. If this were modern, I picture that Zeus would be sitting in his throne with the other gods around him like they were the being the jury to Athena’s case.
    I think that the text is saying that war is up to the gods and what Zeus decides what your fate is going to be. Throughout the story, Odysseus is constantly being brought up to Zeus and the gods to see what his fate will be. During the time when this was written, they would always pray to the gods in fear that if they did not, something bad would happen.

  16. Throughout the entire story of the Odyssey, there are a plethora of themes that go hand in hand with war and peace. It is very easy, for example, to pull out examples from the text that support ideas and themes such as violence, hatred, or negotiation. Hatred, for example, is seen in the various ways Poseidon seeks revenge upon Odysseus for blinding the Cyclops. Negotiation is also another frequent theme throughout the story, as there were many negotiations regarding Odysseus’s fate on more than one occasion. However, I think the war-oriented themes that sum up this era the best are surrender and authority, because they suggest a lot about the hierarchy of things in this society. It is true that hatred, justice, negotiation, violence, and mercy are all evident throughout, but in the end the authority of the Gods, especially Zeus, trumps all. Athena argued for the fate of Odysseus, but only was she granted what she was negotiating when Zeus agreed to allow it. When Hermes delivered the news to Calypso that she was to free Odysseus, she was angry and reluctant. However, after a long complaint about how she disagrees with this order, she finally states, “Zeus has the aegis and none of us gods can oppose his will. So all right, he can go, if its an order from above…”. This shows the authority of Zeus and the surrender of the God’s below him. These two themes are also depicted in the actions of Odysseus himself. After leaving Calypso’s island, he was thrown into the angry seas of Poseidon and his raft was broken. At first, he was reluctant to trust any deity, and was even skeptical of the goddess who tried to save him with a protective veil. However, after being thrashed around in the waters and becoming extremely close to drowning, Odysseus’s spirit broke and he surrendered by praying and begging God for mercy. He prayed, “A wandering mortal, pitiful to the gods, I come to you….hear my prayer”. Only when Odysseus surrendered to the Gods and prayed with the last bit of energy he had did the waters that plagued him calm. From reading the Odyssey, it becomes clear that the hierarchy of authority in this culture was concrete, and that although there may have been negotiation or mercy, it was only because the most powerful allowed it.

  17. Greek mythology and more specifically the Odyssey are crucial in understanding the culture and mentality of the people of the time. From the texts we can make numerous inferences about the way of life during Ancient Greece including, most notably the brutalities of war and the devotion to the Gods. “The blade itself incites to deeds of violence.” It is a line from the Odyssey that partially exposes the violence of the time. The quote presumes that by making or owning a weapon, one is inciting violence because the weapon does not have a purpose other than to take human life. The possession of a weapon was vital and maybe even inevitable in these ancient times because violence was commonly accepted as a way to resolve disputes or it was used as the go to method in the event of a quarrel. It was humans, society, who resorted to violence and death as an option whether it be in war or elsewhere. One may argue that without the presence of swords, there would be much less death and much less violence. However, I believe that in the absence of “the blade” the Greeks and other surrounding cultures would result to throwing rocks or find some other way to murder one another. From this belief, I can venture to say the violence was widely accepted and taught in these early civilizations as people were widely scared for their lives and safety and felt it necessary to protect themselves in any way they could. Therefore, the deaths, wars, destruction and violence can be more blamed on the people and their cultural norms and survival instincts rather than the creation and availability of the sword as concluded from the quote.

  18. The Odyssey is filled with adventures and actions that focus around the theme of war. While reading, the word authority kept coming to mind. While Odysseus was on his way home he stopped at many islands and encountered both gods and monsters. At each of these stops whoever inhabited the and always tried to make it clear that it was theirs and tried to trouble Odysseus and his crew. An example of this is when they meet the Cyclops. After several questions are exchanged the Cyclops replies “Cyclopes don’t care about Zeus, or his aegis, since we are much stronger.” This shows that Cyclopes has authority over his land and his heard. To show this authority, the Cyclopes would eat of the men from the crew every night. He also kept them trapped in his cave treating the crew like they were part of his heard. Odysseus is able to blind the trick the Cyclopes and once he is safely away he yells to the Cyclopes telling him who he really is and how he has escaped. This shows that Odysseus now has authority over Cyclopes. This type of authority can also be seen when they first go to the island where Circe lives. She tricks the crew and enchants them. Only later does she help Odysseus, however she still seems to have authority since she tells him what he must do next in order to get home. Back at the home that Odysseus has left, there are many men eating his food and courting his wife. These men are trying to take the power that Odysseus once had, again they are all trying to gain authority and power in Greece. Throughout the Odyssey everyone is trying to gain authority so they can rue over others. This also seems to be the downfall of many characters.

  19. The Odysseus had a lot of amazing quotes that can be used as an example of how politics use to be in the past and how it is today. One quote that I found to have some sort of political mean behind it could be from Book 19 of The Odysseus. Homer writes that “Just as I have come from afar, creating pain for many— men and women across the good green earth— so let his name be Odysseus . . .the Son of Pain, a name he’ll earn in full.” The main theme behind this quote is that Odysseys was born in violence. It was said that during that time war and chaos was common and that Odysseus’s name actually came from his grandfather Autolysis, who named the “hero” when he was just an infant. In my opinion what you name someone is who they optimally become in the future; and for Odysseus’s story you can see that violence has be in his life from the moment that he was born. Pain, is part of his makeup because, he is destined to live with it from birth.

    Another way that I can sort of analyze this quote would be to look at the mean in a political state of mind. For example, Odysseus’s was the king of his land, and from my point of view I believe that he was not the best or kindest of kings. It’s almost like having a bad president who instead of killing and causing evil, he can ruin the economic and raise taxes. Lesly id have to say that war is a common theme for Greek stories, the God and the Titans will always be at war with one another that can never change. The only why for peace to be found is for the “God” to be happy; that can only happen after all of the enemies are dead and buried.

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