In The Odyssey, the wayfarer discovers that lifes lessons are learned through epic dimensions as seen through lifes adventures, lifes test of loyalty, and lifes mistakes. Life is a grand adventure, and for one to understand and complete the grand adventure can be seen as a plethora of small adventures. Throughout the adventure of life, one must trust those closest to get one through rough and hard times there for those around one, namely Odysseus, can rely on his friends, family, and the gods loyalty for support through his adventure. In life most humans make mistakes throughout their life and so do heroes such as Odysseus. But no matter how many times you may prove yourself worthy, no one is perfect.
When a person takes a grand journey it is a great test and opportunity to prove himself a worthy person in front of family and friends. In order to reach ones objective victoriously one must endure a plethora of hardships. Time and again Odysseus has proven himself but the gods intervene and throw him a new journey or hardship any time they can with the intention of increasing Odysseus greatness. While Odysseus was disguised as an old beggar he took a beating of verbal insults from the suitors by the approval of the gods, “Yet Athena allowed the haughty suitors not altogether yet to cease from biting scorn. She wished more pain to pierce the heart of Laertes son, Odysseus” (180). Athenas intention is to let Odysseus realize how the citizens of Ithaca and his family were treated by the suitors and place even more revenge in his heart. Throughout the testing by the gods Odysseus grows spiritually and proves to be a smart and powerful opponent. Like every persons journey, Odysseus grew stronger on the inside, where it counts the most.
The gods have no regard for what may happen to the many people who live except the ones they favor. The gods themselves are evil in a variety of ways and aided men who are evil without care as long as the ones they favor remain safe. Although Odysseus is a good man, the gods fully support the slaughter of the suitors even though there may have been more ethical ways of punishing the suitors, “He spoke, but not a word did wise Odysseus answer. Silent he shook his head, brooding on evil” (198). The gods seem to take no worry that soon men will be killed without a second chance or a chance for redemption. The gods are selfish and only care about those who they think are great in a broad way.
When one is separated from another over a long period of time one looses hope that the other will ever return. Telemachus refuses to believe his father is alive due to the many years he has been away. Telemachus responds to Theoclymenus question about his father saying, “My father is Odysseus-if ever such there were! But long ago he died, a mournful death; so I, with men and a black ship, am come to gather news of my long-absent father” (147). Telemachus has given up hope of his father being alive. He refuses to believe what cannot be proven, like his father Odysseus, who is over cautious and does not believe what others tell him and he does not know for a fact.
While Odysseus and Telemachus are on their voyages from home, Penelope remains at home, her strength and longing for her husband allow her to remain completely loyal. Throughout all twenty years of Odysseus absence, Penelope with the help of the gods, has not given into all the suitors that constantly surround her. Now Odysseus journey is over and he has returned to take control of his palace, so the gods allow Penelope to envision Odysseus return, but she doesnt realize the dreams significance when she says, “I have twenty geese about the palace who pick up corn out of the water, and I amuse myself with watching them. But from the mountain came a great hook-beaked eagle and broke the necks of all and killed my geese” (192-193). The dream does indeed symbolize Odysseus return to his home and the slaughter of the suitors. Penelope may indeed realize what her dream means but is reluctant to accept the meaning of the dream because her husband has been gone for soo long and she must know for sure that it is indeed a symbol of her husbands return. Penelope symbolizes what every man wants in his wife, loyalty, and Penelope is second to none in remaining loyal to her husband.
Odysseus rarely looses sight of the greater picture of his life especially in critical moments of his journey. Since Odysseus men slaughter and eat the cows of the sun they are cut off from their vision of the greater picture and pay with their lives for their lack of vision. Odysseus clings to the remnants of the ship like he clings to his agreement with God when he explains, “I myself paced the ship until the surge tore her ribs off the keel, which the waves then carried along dismantled. The mast broke at the keel; but to it clung the backstay, made of ox-hide. With this I bound the two together, keel and mast, and getting a seat on these, I drifted before the deadly winds” (121-122). Odysseus understood that even though his hunger to eat the cows was great, his hunger for his home was even greater. He clearly recognized the greater reward of going home and seeing his family.
Odysseus needs Eumaeus to pass a series of tests to prove that he is completely devoted and trustworthy to Odysseus family. Since Odysseus needs assistance in taking back his palace from the suitors he must make sure he can trust all his friends and not meet the same fate as his good friend Agamemnon. Eumaeus proves to Odysseus that he is a good and trusting man since he treats Telemachus with great respect when saying, “The words were hardly uttered when his own stood in the doorway. In surprise up sprang the swineherd, and from his hands the vessels fell with which he had been busied, mixing sparkling wine” (153). Now certain for a fact that Odysseus can trust Eumaeus without a doubt, he can reveal himself to his son and proceed along with the plan to take back his kingdom. Throughout the process of testing Eumaeus, Odysseus tests him on a variety of different personal characteristics including how he loves Odysseus son.
While loyalty is a grand part of ones life, mistake are common and also play a vital role in the outcome of ones adventure. The suitors foolishly pervert Odysseus palace with their wrong doings. The suitors believed that they could escape and continue with their sins without punishment even when their doomed fate was in such plain site. When the slaughter of the suitors had begun they believed that the first death among them was a mistake, “They foolishly did not see that for them one and all destructions cords were knotted” (212). It is hard to believe that the suitors could not understand that their fate had finally come. It was indeed because they were not paying attention to what was going on in front of them due to the fact that they almost have Penelope in their position.
Odysseus indeed amuses himself with his creative guile but frequently needs assistance recognizing guile that may be used against him. Odysseus is constantly aided by outside forces in his quest to prove himself a hero. Now his mothers spirit assures his cautious mind that Persephone is not tricking him by saying, “In no wise is Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguiling you, but this is the way of the mortals when they die…” (106). Odysseus is being very careful not to trust anyone that he does not have complete faith in. He must even be assured that the spirit of his mother is indeed her and not another attempting to trick him. Odysseus, as one can see, may need reassurance throughout his journey not to be too cautious.
Infrequently though it may occur Odysseus broadly shows his flaws. Odysseus is great in many ways as he has proven himself time and again, but that only makes his mistakes stand out all the more. For instance, after the Phaecians safely deliver Odysseus, who is asleep to his home in Ithaca, their ship is turned to stone by Poseidon. When Odysseus wakes up he believes the Phaecians pulled a trick on him, “They promised they would carry me to far-seen Ithaca, but that they did not do… however, let me count my goods, and see that the Phaecians took none away upon their hollow ship” (127). One also witness dramatic irony for one knows that the Phaecian men lost their lives while taking Odysseus home and they did not take anything from his stack of gold treasures. No matter how great one is there are always mistakes someone can make.
In The Odyssey, the wayfarer discovers that lifes lessons are learned through epic dimensions as seen in adventures, loyalty, and mistakes. Homer teaches valuable life lessons using his mastery of a plethora of writing techniques. His unique use of epithets and epic similes prove and display the epic dimensions and proportions used in his writing. In The Odyssey one realizes that life is an epic adventure and that ones adventure can only be grasped if told in smaller tales. Daunting challenges in the many adventures one completes and life itself would be all to hard to endure without the assistance of loyal friends and family. In The Odyssey even, “long tried royal Odysseus” makes mistakes during his journey along with every other human because no one is perfect (62). Homer tells the reader a great tale of one mans life and the adventure to prove himself worthy in epic dimensions.