Odysseus Homecoming Essays

All Odysseus wants it to go home. Sure, the goddess-sex is nice; yeah, Nausikaa is kind of cute; but he really just wants to go home. He tells us that "what I want and all my days I pine for is to go back to my house and see my day of homecoming" (5.219-20); and then that "there is nothing worse for mortal men than the vagrant life" (15.343); and then, when he finally does make it home, hugging his wife is like arriving on shore after nearly drowning.

Yeah, we think "home" is important. There's even a fancy Greek word for how important the concept of "homecoming" was to the Greek: nostos. Recognize that? It's the room of our word "nostalgia": the longing for home.
The thing is, the desire to be home conflicts with the ancient Greek imperative to go out and win honor. You can't become a hero if you're sitting by the fireside with your wife. And a lot of scholars see the Odyssey as specifically about nostos, in contrast to the Iliad, which is about kleos, or fame and glory. Notice how Odysseus' desire for kleos—telling Polyphemos his name and address—is exactly what gets him farther and farther away from nostos?

But twenty-four books later, and we're still not sure which one wins. Is nostos the higher good, after all? Remember that Achilleus in the underworld says that he regrets his choice to go for glory: he'd rather be a slave on earth than a king in the underworld. Or is kleos still the better option—no matter how much you miss your wife's white arms?

Homer's Epic Poem, The Odyssey Essay

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In Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey, the recurring theme of intelligence is important because through intelligence, Odysseus is able to utilize wit and cunning to suit his needs and wants, as well as defeat bigger and stronger opponents than he. Through the stories of Odysseus' sufferings throughout the Trojan War and his struggles of homecoming, Homer portrays intelligence as being an effective application of strength used to gain an advantage over his opponents. Odysseus is depicted as an intellectual hero, who focuses on brain and sophrosune, rather than the typical martial hero, such as Achilles in the Iliad, who focuses on brawn and action provoked by emotion. The first instance when readers are told of Odysseus' great skill in the…show more content…

In Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey, the recurring theme of intelligence is important because through intelligence, Odysseus is able to utilize wit and cunning to suit his needs and wants, as well as defeat bigger and stronger opponents than he. Through the stories of Odysseus' sufferings throughout the Trojan War and his struggles of homecoming, Homer portrays intelligence as being an effective application of strength used to gain an advantage over his opponents. Odysseus is depicted as an intellectual hero, who focuses on brain and sophrosune, rather than the typical martial hero, such as Achilles in the Iliad, who focuses on brawn and action provoked by emotion. The first instance when readers are told of Odysseus' great skill in the use of cunning and wit is in Book 3 when Nestor explains that "no one [at the Trojan War] could hope to rival Odysseus, not for sheer cunning [for] at every twist of strategy he excelled [them] all" (3.134). Then later in Book 4, Menelaus tells of how Helen was trying to trick them out of hiding to win glory for Troy but Odysseus knew it was a trick and "reined [Diomedes and him] back...and saved [them] all" (4.318-322). Another example of his intelligence is shown when Odysseus "scarr[ed] his own body with mortifying strokes, throwing filthy rags on his black like any slave" (4.274) to disguise himself as a beggar so he could hide his true identity. These descriptions help characterize Odysseus as a hero who excels in his ability to actively

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