Fear of the Unknown, Cunning, and Hospitality in Homer’s Odyssey
Although one may not believe it, in our everyday world contrasting to that of ancient Greece, heroic-like trials can be found in the most mundane of events. Though I may not be a beefy Greek warrior living in the twelfth century like Odysseus, I have had my fair share of taxing experiences similar to that of Odysseus’ in Homer’s Odyssey. To achieve his goal of going home to Ithaca and to achieve my own goals, Odysseus and I had to overcome fear of the unknown, utilize cunning, and determine how to treat others hospitably
Fear is an emotion that can be found in any being, so it is not surprising that both I and Odysseus had to overcome it to reach our individual goals. In order to participate in a floor routine at gymnastics competitions I had to, learn how to do a back handspring which terrified me. Similarly, Odysseus was terrified at the thought of traveling to Hades, Land of the Dead, which he shows when he cries, “This broke my spirit.” (10.519) After Circe tells him of his fate, Odysseus is forlorn, for he is traveling into the unknown, which obviously scares him. Likewise, doing a back handspring scared me, because being unable to see where I was going before flipping over backward is what I considered to be the scary unknown. Nevertheless, both of us accomplished our goal, I managed to start practicing on a trampoline, and Odysseus and his crew mustered up their courage and sailed to Hades in the end. Fear is simply and emotion that all humans have in common, but what Odysseus and I shared was the ability to overcome it, but it is the use of a trait, cunning that that makes us all the more alike.
Cunning is a trait that Odysseus is most often remarked upon, but it is also a trait that we have both utilized in similar situations. Just over winter break I participated in an escape room with my friends, and it was a situation where we all had to use our wits to get out. Odysseus’ circumstances were decidedly more life-threatening but still similar to mine, for he had to use his mind when attempting to outsmart the cyclopes, Polyphemus and escape his cave. A prime instance of Odysseus using his brain is, when addressing Polyphemus he says, “You ask me my name, my glorious name-Noman is my name.” (9. 361-4) It is very clever for Odysseus to get Polyphemus drunk and state “Noman” as his attackers name, for it allows Odysseus to escape because the other cyclopes were under the pretense that no man was attacking Polyphemus. I was also clever when I solved small riddles and clues, integral to fleeing the escape room. Odysseus and I both accomplished our goal, for my friends and I managed to exit the room within the allotted amount of time, and Odysseus finally escaped the cyclopes’ cavern after stabbing out Polyphemus’ eye with his crewmates. Cunning was used in parallel instances for me and Odysseus, because we both had to escape from a situation by using our brains, yet it is not only cleverness, but also hospitality that we have in common.
Everyone must interact with people at some point in their lives, and it can be hard to know how to interact or approach people that one is not familiar with, but Odysseus and I made it work when we were both in an unfamiliar situation with people we did not know. On my first day at Free State High School I was very nervous because I did not yet know anyone but once others acted hospitable towards me, I found it very easy to be friends with them. When he arrived at Phaeacia, Odysseus was in a foreign situation with unfamiliar people, and his struggles were described when he thinks to himself, “How to approach this beautiful girl. Should [I] / Fall at her knees, or keep [my] distance / And ask her with honeyed word to show [me] / The way to the city and give [me] some clothes?” Odysseus’ hospitality is determined by how he chooses to approach Nausicaa, and it this situation it is shown just how well he is able to manipulate people. By first treating others kindly, I found that others would react in kind and I was able to make new friends. By heaping praise upon the royals of Phaeacia, Odysseus was able to make an ally out of the Phaeacians to further attain his goal of going home to Ithaca. By being hospitable Odysseus and I were able to experience the hospitality of others and move a step closer to our goals of making allies within an unfamiliar atmosphere.
By overcoming fear of the unknown, wielding cunning, and determining how to treat others hospitably, Odysseus and I have shared a lot of experiences that shaped me into the person I am today and turned Odysseus into a person who could finally make it home to his family in Ithaca.
The Lessons of Loyalty in The Odyssey, a Poem by Homer
The Lessons of a Journey
The epic poem The Odyssey written by Homer and translated by Robert Fitzgerald is the story of a man as he embarks on an unexpectedly long and brutal journey home from the Trojan war with his crew of men. Along the way, the protagonist, Odysseus is confronted by many conflicts and obstacles that he must use his strength, skills, or quick thinking in order to overcome, learning important life lessons along the way. Throughout Odysseus’ travels in the epic poem The Odyssey, the reader can perceive the importance of loyalty and perseverance not only for the success of Odysseus in finding and reclaiming his home, but also to have success in society today.
The theme and life lesson of loyalty is demonstrated throughout the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, as Odysseus must face many difficult challenges and temptations to abandon his family, his wife, his home, and his beliefs. By staying loyal, Odysseus is able to have a driving force behind his will to return to his home and family and ultimately succeed. For example, when Odysseus is trapped on the island of Ogygia, held hostage by the goddess Calypso, he is incredibly depressed, longing for his home and his family no matter what Calypso did for him: “By nights he would lie beside her, of necessity, in the hollow caverns, against his will, by one who was willing, but all the days he would sit upon the rocks, at the seaside, breaking his heart in tears and lamentation and sorrow as weeping tears he looked out over the barren water” (Homer 5.152-158). Odysseus is in despair of his situation, he longs for his home and his family and he is being held against his will. He is being kept on a beautiful island with endless food from Calypso and a beautiful woman in in heavy pursuit of him; many people would call this a paradise, yet Odysseus is being held against his will as he is determined to remain loyal to his family as well as himself and his morals. Loyalty is a life skill that is still applicable to society today. It is the basis of any relationship whether it be a friendship, romantic, or a business relationship. In order to succeed in today’s society, loyalty is absolutely paramount because of the immense number of relationships that you must make in order to succeed, no matter what your profession or lifestyle may be. The life lesson of loyalty is continually demonstrated to the reader throughout the epic poem and it is still very important and applicable to life today.
In The Odyssey by Homer, the theme of perseverance is indisputable as Odysseus embarks on a brutal ten year journey to find his home and his family, having to encounter countless challenges along the way. Though giving up may have been the logical choice on many occasions during his journey, Odysseus is able to use his perseverance and drive to continue onward throughout the long years. His perseverance and determination also causes others to look up to him and to be inspired by his determination and will to succeed: “You are a hard man, Odysseus. Your force is greater, your limbs never wear out. You must be made all of iron, when you will not let your companions, worn with hard work and wanting sleep, set foot on this land, where if we did, on the seagirt island we could once more make ready a greedy dinner; but you force us to blunder along just as we are through the running night, driven from the island over the misty face of the water” (Homer 12.279-285). Odysseus is seen as a leader not because of his rank or his power, but because of the way that he carries himself and the hardworking, never quit personality that he has adopted. This attitude that he carries himself with gives his fellow crew the notion that he is invincible and an obvious natural leader. The skill and trait of perseverance is equally if not more important as it was in the age of Odysseus. In our society today one must work hard in order to achieve anything of worth, especially when it comes to academics and one’s career. Perseverance is a lesson that clearly stands out all the way through this epic poem, teaching the reader the fabled lesson that in order to succeed one must work hard and be dedicated.
The themes of loyalty and perseverance are prominent throughout the epic poem The Odyssey written by Homer and translated by Robert Fitzgerald as Odysseus embarks on a long and difficult journey home from fighting in the Trojan war. Odysseus continuously expresses these traits as he overcomes the countless obstacles leading up to his return home. Without these skills, Odysseus would’ve been forever lost at sea or trapped on the island of Calypso having abandoned his family and his beliefs. Instead, his actions and characteristics teach the reader valuable lessons that are still relevant today, over 1200 years after this poem was written.
The Principles of Offering the Evidence in the Play 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose
Asking Questions and Seeking Answers
Evidence is the process of asking questions in order to confirm an event, statement, or issue; it is the process of seeking the truth through analyzation. In the play 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose, a group of jurors debates back and forth and reviews the story and evidence repeatedly to reach a verdict, the reader is introduced to seven different and equally powerful evidentiary forms and how these forms affect the outcome of a decision. The seven forms of evidence are one’s intuition, qualitative conjecture, personal experience, personal observation, witness or public testimony, qualitative conjecture, and conformation by authority or expertise, there is a large variety of evidentiary forms because they all provide different credibility and serve varying purposes. Therefore, understanding that there are many forms of evidence allows the reader to understand that, “Asking questions and seeking evidence requires an ability and willingness to face others; to discern not only who and what but how and why; to be attentive to the motions and intentions of language; to embrace things in an active and objective manner” (Garcia-Martinez). The presentation of diverse forms of evidence in Rose’s play demonstrates an effective visual representation of these forms while they are being used and the consequences they have on others. To realize and appreciate the seven evidentiary forms, it is important to first understand that evidence is not the truth but the beginning of the process to asking and analyzing questions and answers that lead to the truth.
The first evidentiary form to be reviewed is “one’s intuition” which, “involves some thing that one either knows or considers likely from an instinctive insight they possess, from a strong sense they develop, or from some compelling sensation of trust or confidence…” (Garcia-Martinez). In other words, this form of evidence builds from a “hunch” that, in this case, the jurors in the play cannot always logically or reasonably explain their thoughts but they possess an intense emotion that tells them to continue debating when attempting to decide the verdict. An example of “one’ intuition” in Rose’s stage play takes place when Juror Three begins talking about the stabbing that the eighteen-year-old boy is accused of against his father. He begins to speak of the angle of the cut regarding the boy’s height compared to his father’s, “Down and in. That’s how I’d stab a taller man in the chest, and that’s how it was done” (Page 55). Shortly after the jurors begin discussing the wound more intricately Juror Five steps in and says, “I suppose, it’s conceivable that he could have made the wound, but it’s not likely, not if he’d ever had any experience with switch knives, and we know that the kid had a lot of experience with switch knives” (Page 56). Juror Five had seen knife fights in the vacant lot near his home when he was younger, therefore, he had “hunch” or “feeling” that the boy should be more experienced with knives than the wound showed. This moment in the play is an example of “one’s intuition” because Juror Three contributed an idea to the group, thus, motivating the other men to consider his idea, then Juror Five analyzed and created an even stronger conclusion based off what was said plus his additional previous knowledge. Therefore, Juror Three’s “…intuitive suspicion or intuitive guess” (Garcia-Martinez) forced him to voice his thoughts which led to an answer of why the stab wound looked like it did and why it was placed where it was on the body, thus, he started the process of seeking answers for evidence.
A frequent form of evidence is “confirmation by expertise or authority” because people respect others who are seen as intelligent or powerful. This evidentiary form “commonly occurs when an individual who is looked at as qualified, as distinguished or respected, or as possessing knowledge that others do not or cannot, provides insight or information about a thing or another person” (Garcia-Martinez). This credibility is obtained by someone over many years of experience in schooling, work, or training in another particular field. This evidentiary form is experienced when Jurors Eight and Five are discussing the el tracks which is where it is said that the murder took place. Juror Eight asked if any of the other men had lived near the el tracks when Juror Five answers “I’ve lived close to them” (Page 32). None of the other jurors answered that they lived near the el tracks, which then makes Juror Five’s following statements highly credible because he has a level of expertise, in this specific subject, that no one else does because he is the only person in that group that has lived near the train tracks. This sense of “authority” is something that he obtained only through years of living by the trains and thus being the only person to be able to speak of that experience with any personal insight. In this instance Juror Five was an expert because he had “amassed a level or experience, knowledge, insight, or skill in a particular field, and thus employed (or contributed to) certain systems of thought” (Garcia-Martinez). In conclusion, because of the confirmation provided by the experienced juror that lived near the train tracks, his following conclusions regarding the matter at hand were taken seriously by the other jurors because that gave him a sense of “authority” or “power” in that moment due to his experience.
Personal experience is a form of evidence that we often overlook because one does not realize that over time they become an “expert” in their day-to-day activities. “Personal experience” is defined as, “…an evidentiary form that is not scientific or infallible, rather, it involves the large-scale events and day-to-day occurrences a person individually experiences, and the resulting awareness or wisdom that is obtained from experiencing them” (Garcia-Martinez). To clarify, one’s ability to recall and apply what they have gone through allows others to know that certain outcomes are possible. In a sense, because they have personal experience relating to the subject at hand they are almost a testimony for what could happen under certain circumstances. For instance, Jurors Four, Three, Twelve, and Eleven relate to the boy accused of murder because they also had a rough childhood and were victims of poverty and the struggles that the young man faced they did as well, but they did not become criminals, let alone murderers, because of it. As Juror Three stated, “I know what it’s like. I never killed nobody” (Page 16). Thus, he is recalling his childhood and it is applying it to the boy’s childhood and concluding that there is another outcome possible other than falling though the cracks of society, instead one can persevere instead of letting their difficulties define them. Although, certain jurors can relate to the hardships that the boy has gone through they make clear that the path he has chosen to take is not one they agree with and the remaining men agree with them because their daily hardships provided them with wisdom. All in all, it is essential when seeking the truth to realize that daily experiences are a form of evidence because these daily hardships and lessons comes wisdom that one can then use in the future.
Another evidentiary form present in the stage play is “personal observation” which allows someone to use what they really have observed, noticed, and registered what they have seen as evidence. The evidence of “personal observation” is defined as, “…involves ‘an observer’, or ‘a witness’ or ‘an investigator’—a person taking the time to actively note something or someone and closely perceiving characteristics or conditions of that someone or something” (Garcia-Martinez). In retrospect, this type of evidence is provided by someone who visibly saw something happen and can analyze what those actions mean. Juror Nine provides a very convincing example of “personal observation” when he is speaking about the old man who provided a testimony regarding the murder. He observed that the old man was lonely, insignificant, and unaccomplished, stating, “A man like this needs to be recognized-to be questioned, and listened to, and quoted just once. This is very important” (Page 34). After Juror Nine observed the man during court he questioned his testimony because he theorized that the man could have just wanted attention and his old age meant that he had nothing to lose if anyone found out he was lying. The old man was the witness to the crime, or he declares that he was the witness but a witness’ credibility is due in part to their reputation in the community, history of lying, and character. The juror’s prediction “served as the basis for speculation, theory, research, reason, and knowledge” (Garcia-Martinez) and thus his speculation was evidence because it helped the jurors discover that the old man may have provided a faulty testimony. Overall, using personal observation as a tool that leads to the truth takes a substantial amount of concentration, time, contemplation, and scrutinizing.
The most formal of the evidentiary forms is “official or public testimony” and in this instance that witness is often accompanied with a significant amount of credibility. This form of evidence is defined as “…one’s (spoken-written) particular account of what occurred or what someone said, or what someone did. It hinges upon whether a person was actually present to observe some occurrence, words or actions of another, or whether a person was themselves involved in the whole action taking place” (Garcia-Martinez). In short, it is a statement, usually declared in a legal setting, by someone that saw the action occur or took part in it, which is what provides them with the credibility, that they were present at the time. To exemplify, the jurors reference the testimony made by the old man that he saw the boy running after he heard him screech “I’m going to kill you!” When the man first provided his testimony it seemed reliable, because he did leave near the boy’s home and he was convinced that he saw the boy running away after the sound of a body falling. The problem is that a testimony can be spoiled if fueled by a selfish or personal motive, which the juror’s suspected because the man was old and supposed he wanted attention. Thus, this evidence is not always reliable, “though this form of evidence is compelling and convincing in our society, the one testifying can have selective observation or memory, have selfish or personal interests, or omit certain information” (Garcia-Martinez). So, although “public or official” testimonies are usually concrete forms of evidence it is important to remember that who the testimony comes from is essential in case they have any hidden motives and that a testimony alone is not concrete evidence but the key to the truth.
One’s senses can detect the quality of something and, even based of incomplete information, can lead to a conclusion. The evidence called “qualitative conjecture” is “…forming an opinion or a conclusion on the basis of incomplete information relating to, or gauged by, the particular quality of something—some overall or some specific attributes or characteristics of a thing such as its existence, appearance, sound, smell, tone, or its mood” (Garcia-Martinez). In other words, someone makes a conclusion based on a person’s characteristics or qualities, this can have a negative connotation because people usually use this form of evidence to generalize or stereotype others. Juror Ten fabricates a qualitative conjecture about the boy accused of murdering his father stating that, “You know how those people lie, I don’t need to tell you”, “…they get drunk, and bang, someone’s lying in the gutter”, “Nobody’s blaming them, that’s just how they are” and “Most of them, it’s like they have no feelings” (Page 59). In this case, Juror Ten determines the boy’s innocence because of what he thinks his qualities are and “drew some kind of observational judgement or reasoned conclusion from them” (Garcia-Martinez). In the instance of Juror Ten he made a generalization about a certain group of people which then weakens his argument because it comes across as ignorant, racist, and biased therefore, it is fundamental to evaluate the person that constructed the qualitative conjecture because they can be judgmental and close-minded.
Although, all these previous forms of evidence are very compelling the most influential, believed, and valued one is “quantitative conjecture” because in today’s society numbers mean everything. A “quantitative conjecture” is defined in the class notes as, “…occurring when one forms an opinion or a conclusion on the basis of incomplete information relating to, or measured by, the particular quantity of something—some overall or specific attributes or characteristics of a thing such as its size, frequency, weight, proportion, cost, duration, etc.” (Garcia-Martinez). As stated, this is a powerful evidentiary form, if not the most powerful, because statistics are engaged to help further confirm a “hunch” or idea. Specifically, Jurors Eight and Five strategically employ time values to discover and present to the rest of the jurors that the time frame provided by the witnesses does not seem exactly accurate. Juror Eight is asking his fellow peers the length they believed it would take for an elevated train to pass a given point. Juror Eleven responds, “I would think about ten seconds, perhaps….” (Page 32) while Juror Eight reports, “An el train passes a given point in ten seconds. That given point is the window of the room in which the killing took place” (Page 32). He then also has the other jurors reenact the situation of the old man getting out of bed and slowly approaching his window down the hall, where they found that the time given compared to the time it would actually take did not match. As Juror Eight brought the other men along on this path of discovery he knew the affect his was having on their opinions because they cold not argue with factual and statistical data, “Anything numerical is fundamentally measurable; it can be “proven” to some extent, so it tends to be more regarded than anything experiential or personally observed” (Garcia-Martinez). Ultimately, all this juror’s minor attempts to shed light on the severity of this young man’s freedom accumulate and eventually change everyone’s opinions, even the most stubborn of the men.
All in all, to seek truth and understand that evidence is only a stepping stone to discovering reality one must be able to thoroughly detect and comprehend the seven diverse types of evidentiary forms and their affects. This is proven in the stage play 12 Angry Men by Reginal Rose where the reader witnesses how one juror asked questions that demanded answers that did not come easily, thus, forcing others to explain their point of view and realize that fault in it, leading to justice for one young man. Seeing questions as a process to the truth, “…done to obtain clarification, gain insight, and develop answer” (Garcia-Martinez) is crucial because it allows somebody to more carefully analyze the criteria they have in front of them and come to a rational and logical solution. This stage play frequently demonstrates the variety of evidentiary forms and how they seek the truth, such as: “one’s intuition”, “confirmation by expertise or authority”, and “official or public testimony” just to name a few. The characters in the play provide excellent examples of each evidentiary form, but not only the form but its significant and everlasting affects on the people debating. Because of Juror Eight’s fight to seeking evidence through questions, answers, and evidence he was able to convince all the other men not only of innocence but of the importance of questioning the information that was presented to them instead of solely accepting it. Although, it would have been a much more rapid and uncomplicated method to just accept what the witnesses said and what the juror’s believed he dove into the evidence, which brought them, eventually, to the truth.
Aeneid, a Poem by Homer and the Theme of Individual Struggle Between Love and Duty
Battle Between Love and Duty
Dido made Aeneas forget about his duty for some time, but in the end, duty matters more than romantic love, and his feelings will always come in second. But when Aeneas leaves because of duty, the love that Dido felt creates pain that often needs to be hidden away, although it is sometimes too much to keep in. On the other hand, a lack of romantic love, which Pete Mecca dealt with while being in Vietnam, can also lead to a positive outcome of longer service and less worries. I have chosen to write on duty versus love because as an army girlfriend, I will also be able to include my thoughts, as well as my boyfriend’s, who is currently in Afghanistan.
Love can make you, or the one who loves you, want to just talk about anything to get to have a full conversation, but it can also make you forget about your duty and what you need to do. This is evident in Virgil’s Aeneid in Book 1 when it is said that “luckless Dido / drew out the night with varied talk. She drank / long love and asked Aeneas many questions: / of Priam; Hector; how Aurora’s son / was armed; and now, how strong were Diomedes’ / horses; now, how tremendous was Achilles” (1.1044-1048); she most likely was not trying to talk about heroes and wars, but she just wanted to speak to Aeneas. I can agree with Dido here that when this is what is on their mind, and it is what they want to talk about, you listen. The night before Phillip left for Afghanistan, he was excited about his first combat deployment, and we stayed up talking until 7 am about our lives and about what he was going to be doing over there. We only had so much time to talk, and we were both willing to talk about whatever the other person wanted. After my interview, I spoke with Pete Mecca for a bit about the interviews he does with veterans and about Phillip. He told me that communication is important; it is good for them to receive packages and letters over there because it makes them feel loved and encourages them, so I was glad that I have been able to keep in touch with Phillip quite a bit. But as we see in the Aeneid when Aeneas delays leaving and makes it clear that he only leaves because of duty, having a romantic love at home can make it harder for them to leave. Phillip’s deployment could not have come at a worst time because we had just started to date, and even though he wanted to get a combat deployment in, his mind changed fairly quickly, and he no longer wanted to leave. “Pious Aeneas” (1.534) and Phillip both had no choice but to leave because when it comes to war and duty, love always comes in second, something made clear when Captain Harrison barely made it in time for his wedding. An interaction that I hold dear between Aeneas and Dido includes “Her speech is broken off; heartsick . . . But though he longs to soften, soothe her sorrow / and turn aside her troubles with sweet words, / though groaning long and shaken in his mind / because of his great love, nevertheless / pious Aeneas carries out the gods’ / instructions. Now he turns back to his fleet” (4.533-545) because it resembles an interaction a soldier and his loved one would have before a deployment, except Aeneas knows he won’t see her again; Phillip’s last words to me before he left for the plane were “I’ll see you in four months, okay?”
I am blessed to be with someone who tells me as much as he can without breaking the rules of his security clearance, but with that comes lots of worrying that needs to stay hidden away on my part. I get the occasional “I’m going out on convoy” or “I’m working tonight, should be quick” and although it is nice to know that I shouldn’t expect to hear from him for a while — I would probably freak out if I didn’t get a message or a call for two-three days —, I also can’t stop worrying until I get a text saying that he is back and is safe. But because I don’t want to bother him or to worry him about my feelings, I don’t say anything. I know he has bigger things to worry about and I keep my fears and thoughts to myself. “The supple flame devours her marrow; / within her breast the silent wound lives on” (4.88-89) in the fourth book points out that love is inward and internal, which is how it must be when a loved one is serving. Although Dido cannot keep it in any longer and kills herself as she “mounts in madness that high pyre, / unsheathes the Dardan sword” (4.893-894), I can relate to her very strongly and realize that sometimes I can’t keep it in and I either ask questions that I shouldn’t be asking, including “would you tell me if you killed someone” and “where exactly are you going” or I say things such as “I wish you could come home already, this isn’t easy.” Dido also represents the life as an army girlfriend and families’ values because she listens to his stories without complaint, puts him above her life/duty while he puts his duty above her, and tries her best to keep her pain to herself to make his life easier. Their marriage — or lack therefore — represents the difference between being an army wife and being an army girlfriend; had their wedding ceremony been valid, she would have had more rights and would likely have followed him, as an army wife would, but because it wasn’t, she is not recognized as anything important and has almost no rights, like an army girlfriend. An army wife gets to be on based, is allowed to have more information about the deployments, and gets told if something happens to her husband abroad, but a girlfriend needs a visitor’s pass to get on base and only gets so much information about deployments, much like Dido in regards to Aeneas’ departure.
But Pete Mecca, the veteran I interviewed, was not involved with any romantic love during his deployments to Vietnam. Even though I had expected for that to have an adverse impact on him, he believes that it had little to no impact on him and led him to serve for two and a half years, something he might not have done if he “had had someone to come home to.” As we talked to him about family members and relationships, he mentioned that the reason why he kept going back to Vietnam was that he was not involved with anyone and therefore had no one to go home to, even though he did have a family. This showed me that coming home to family versus coming back to a romantic love is different, and I realized that this is shown in Virgil’s Aeneid since he accomplishes much more when he is not romantically involved — he travels, fights, and explores — even though he has the gods, including his mother, Venus, and Rome to found for his descendants. But throughout his voyage, they are on his side supporting him, just like Pete Mecca had the full backing of his family, who even sent him care packages during his service. Venus cares for her son, as seen when she says “what great offense has my Aeneas given, / what is his crime…” (1.323-324) because she is worried about his fate, and it is clear that Gods uses divine intervention to get Aeneas to where he needs to get. Jupiter already knew that Aeneas would come home to Italy, as seen when he says “I unroll the secret / scroll of the Fates…/ [your son] shall wage tremendous war in Italy/ and crush ferocious nations and establish/ a way of life and walls for his own people” (1.365-369), and even though Pete Mecca’s family did not know whether or not he would make it home, they sure hoped so and did their best to help him however they could.
Although romantic love can create a support system and is something to come home to, it can also lessen the sense of duty felt by soldiers, like it did with Aeneas when he was with Dido. But in the end, duty comes above love and they must follow orders, whether they come from their commanding officers or the gods. But for those many soldiers without romantic love, such as Pete Mecca and Aeneas in many books, it leads them to serve and travel more; Mr. Mecca spent two and half years in Vietnam and Aeneas made it to Italy.
Analysis of Iliad as a Morality Play
The Characteristics of Morality Plays as made Discernable in the Iliad
In the Iliad, Homer highlights how it is human nature for individuals to be susceptible to malicious intentions no matter how deep seated one’s moral compass is, thus allowing the Iliad to be considered a morality play. The Iliad is also considered to be a morality play primarily because of how there are characters other than the protagonist that demonstrate the embodiment of virtue and corrupt behavior. The play also allows the audience with the opportunity to obtain moral advisement. It is the summation of these characteristics that allows the Iliad to be considered a morality play.
A major moral of the Iliad is associated with how the failure of reason and the lack of control over human passion is shown to be the chief cause of discord and tragedy. If man behaves irrationally, irrational situations will happen to him. Nature and the Gods join in to enforce this irrationality and then tragedy results in this question of who and what is responsible for man’s destiny. The basic belief of the ancient Greeks was that man is in the grip of forces far stronger than he and is at the whim of those forces or more specifically subservient to the will of Zeus at the same time. There are also issues of personal responsibility and men must make decisions in which they weigh their passions against reason. Achilles’ main preoccupation which manifests most frequently in the epic is wrath and it is the source of much suffering on the part of his fellow warriors. He refuses to join their battle out of pride and they endure many losses and fatalities due to his selfish decision making. In the case of Achilles, it is his vengeance and rage that inundate him and eventually cause him to succumb to his fateful early death.
The purpose of the Iliad is to show the importance of man’s life in this very struggle itself. Achilles is a hero because he emerges from this struggle a better man. He first goes through stages of pride, fury, and revenge which are all brought on from a state of anguish. He is deprived of his honor and loses his best friend because of his irrational behavior, but when he finally charges into battle knowing he is doomed to die and is moved by the poignant pleas of Hector’s father to return Hector’s body he undergoes an important transformation. He recognizes that there are forces greater than himself and he comments that men are wretched things and the Gods who have no cares themselves have woven sorrow into the very pattern of people’s’ lives. It is with this realization that he develops a genuinely tragic vision of life and grows into a full tragic hero. This transformation provides the audience with the opportunity to be encouraged to live a righteous life and obtain moral guidance, thus making this epic a morality play. The Iliad also contains several characters that accurately depict the virtuous and corrupt traits that appear throughout the epic. Odysseus is a clever character, however his actions reflect his misguided moral judgment. He appears to use deceit and dishonorable war tactics to get ahead in the Trojan war. His cleverness and lack of honor allow him to get further in life, however it is known that he pays for his actions later on through his journey back to Ithaca as made apparent in the Odyssey. The principle of retribution for one’s actions is made apparent through Odysseus and other characters within the Iliad.There are many themes and messages in the Iliad- one of the themes is justice which operates in a very brutal way in the story and more often than not men find themselves confused, deceived, and ultimately destroyed by powers beyond their control represented of course by the Gods.
The Iliad is considered to be a morality play for numerous reasons, however it is primarily often referred to one due to how the protagonist represents either humanity as a whole or as a structure. It is also considered to be a morality play because of how it encourages the audience to live a righteous life, provides them with moral guidance, and consists of supporting characters that are the personifications of virtue and corrupt behavior.
Homer’s Epic ballad The Iliad and The Odyssey
In Homer’s epic ballads The Iliad and The Odyssey, Achilles and Odysseus are the outstanding saints. Achilles battles Hector outside the dividers of Troy since Hector executed his closest companion, Patroclus. In the wake of battling in the Trojan War, Odysseus goes up against an excursion to return back to Ithaca to see his significant other, Penelope, and his child, Telemachus. These epic stories are about the Mycenaean or Bronze Age, antiquated Greeks, who prospered from around 1600-1100 BC. There are numerous contrasts between the Iliad and the Odyssey that point to incredible ideological changes in the time between the last type of the Iliad and of the Odyssey.
In the Iliad, Menelaus settles his own particular house, which demonstrates a culture in which any work is to be attempted in the event that it prompts more noteworthy opportunity. In the Odyssey we see a disposition which wins today towards difficult work and submissiveness. Flexibility was initially thought of as autonomy from others, while it later turns into the inverse of bondage. The Iliad tells the last section in the tale of two noteworthy Bronze Age “”Greek”” unions engaging each other. It’s a long, wandering epic, yet it fundamentally rotates around the “”exceptional Achilles’”” battle to face his hubris and progress toward becoming refined.
The Iliad depicts the conflict between two similarly splendid and excellent gatherings of “”Greeks””, and The Odyssey portrays contact with the “”Other””, spoke to as beasts and witches The Iliad is a story of undying magnificence where brave activities can reverberate crosswise over ages, outlasting the individuals who performed them. Achilles grasps this perfect, until the point that he is summoned from Hades in the Odyssey, grasping a negative disposition towards death and transcendence. The Iliad is a work of military purposeful publicity that legitimizes Mycenaean control of the most profitable ocean entry of age (the Bosporus), and The Odyssey legitimizes colonizing Italy and Sicily toward the West.
The Odyssey, conversely, mostly happens outside of that basic culture and portrays contact with pre-Mycenaean Mediterranean societies. The story concentrates on Odysseus and his family’s battle to recuperate from the Trojan War’s delayed consequences and, principally, with Odysseus battle to make it back home. The Odyssey is viewed as an epilog or continuation of the Iliad and contains a large number of similar characters (Odysseus shows up in both); huge contrasts however incorporate the setting, i.e. the Iliad concerns war, while the Odyssey, peace in outcome of war and the reality the Odyssey contains significantly more enchantment.
They are comparable in that the Trojan War is the shared trait between them. There is likewise the way that Homer composed both epic sonnets, and highlight two Greeks who are perceived as epic legends. Achilles is extraordinary, yet comparable from Odysseus in that Achilles lives for himself and Odysseus is a family man- – when he isn’t messing around with goddesses; in any case, they both are brimming with hubris which costs them significantly. The greatest distinction is that Achilles bites the dust, and Odysseus lives and gets back home.
Crossing the Border Between Civilian and Warrior in the Odyssey by Homer and the Things They Carried by Tim O’brien
Throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus crosses countless borders, from the literal borders of kingdoms like Phaeacia and Ithaca, to the borders of life and death in Hades. However, there’s one border Odysseus seems to be unable, and perhaps even unwilling, to cross: The border between soldier and civilian. Every situation he encounters is one that must be treated with either trickery or violence, the things that won the Trojan War. Such a problem isn’t unique to the legendary hero, though. For as long as there has been war, there have been warriors scarred by its horrors.
War has always facilitated the changing of borders, be they the borders of country, culture, or even ownership. Such changing, however, can be violent. War is hell, as the old adage goes, and staring into hell is a traumatic experience. This is not a new idea. The term shell shock has existed since World War One, and some have argued that the concept has existed since even before that. Jonathan Shay postulates that one of the soliloquies in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1, written circa 1597, describes PTSD eerily well. If we take the assumption that ancient people knew of PTSD, even if they didn’t have a name for it, to its logical conclusion, it’s fair to assume that Homer knew of PTSD when he was writing the character of Odysseus.
Symptoms of PTSD include unwanted memories, overly negative assumptions about the world, hypervigilance and increased irritability. All of these traits can be found in The Odyssey’s titular character.
The Trojan War was no doubt traumatic. Odysseus would have seen the Trojans tear down his 1 allies, while their greatest champion, Achilles, sulked in a tent. He would have stood helpless as he saw the supposedly invincible warrior die from a miraculous shot to the ankle. And he would have to bear the responsibility for the innocent women and children slaughtered when his own scheme of the Trojan horse allowed his comrades inside the city. Indeed, the suffering of the innocents in the city is deliberately invoked by the text when Odysseus breaks down at the memory of the war.
To make matters worse, Odysseus’s losses don’t end there. His crew, all fellow survivors of the war, die in horrific ways. Be it from being eaten by a cyclops to being struck down by the sun god Helios, Odysseus is the only survivor. But even before these traumatic events, Odysseus is irritable and cruel, blaming his men for things that are simple human folly. By the time he reaches Phaeacia, Odysseus isn’t even willing to reveal his identity to the friendly Phaeacians, paranoia having overtaken him. Compounding this is the patronage of the goddess Athena, whose two domains, wisdom and battle, are constant reminders of what Odysseus did in the Trojan war, and whose advice tends towards the violent, such as when she tells Odysseus he has to murder all the suitors, rather than, say, revealing he’s alive and kicking them out of his house.
Of course, PTSD is as much a problem in the modern era. Perhaps the most well-known cause in the modern American consciousness is the Vietnam War, and many awful accounts have returned from said war. In his book The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brian describes things like peeling the remains of a fellow soldier off of a tree, or another soldier strapping a puppy to an antipersonnel mine and detonating it. And just as Odysseus was the popular image of the Trojan War hero, the Vietnam war hero has its own images in the popular consciousness. Perhaps one of the most well know is Rambo, who is wandering the world until he is forced off track by a malevolent outsider who triggers war flashbacks with his mistreatment of Rambo, resulting in violence. The similarities with Odysseus’s plight are obvious. The difference, though, are also worth mentioning. Odysseus is portrayed as a hero worthy of legend, a man who is something to strive to be like. John Rambo, however, is portrayed as a broken man who was forced to witness horrors, and barely came back to tell his tale. This is reflected in the ending of these stories as well. Where Odysseus comes home and does happily reunite with his wife, Rambo never finds what he was looking for and ends up arrested. This might be due to the differing views on war in the societies that produced these works. Ancient Greek society held a much more positive view on war and bloodshed, with warriors who could slaughter hundreds of men being lauded as heroes. Contemporary American society, however, holds a much different view on war, especially the Vietnam war, which was viewed by many as unnecessary and wasteful, and the brutal elimination of enemy combatants is not viewed as something to celebrate. Consequently, the veterans of these two societies would be viewed differently and portrayed differently in the arts produced by their societies. So why exactly, with all its risks known, were wars started? And why did people join in on these wars, when even surviving wasn’t without its downsides?
In the ancient Greek society, part of that can be attributed to the accolades given to famous warriors. But part of it can also be 3 attributed to the fact that in these wars, on fought side by side with royalty, kings like Agamemnon and Odysseus, and had just as much of a chance to receive the same spoils of war they did. And if the people who started the war were fighting right alongside you, then surely it was a cause that they felt was worth dying for! Vietnam, however, was fought because the United States government wanted to topple the current Vietnamese leader, and the people who fought were forced into it, drafted, while those who started the war sat back and watched as people died for them. It’s sad that, despite having known about its negative effects on the human psyche for so long, people still start and fight in wars. This is something that’s probably not going to change until people realize that nobody who goes into a war, crosses that border between civilian and warrior, comes back whole, and that sometimes coming back at all is less merciful than the other option.
The Analysis Of Homer’s “Oddysey”
The concept of the journey has beguiled respondents since the beginning of time. Stories about the movement of people and how these travels affected them resonant because they are universal, where the physical experiences make way for personal growth, or even operate metaphorically. When we turn to the distant past of western literature, the stories that have survived are Homer’s great works of poetry, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Without these texts, Western literature would be very different and they have laid the foundation for many other great stories. The literary works of Homer and Charles Frazier, respectively “the Odyssey” and “Cold Mountain”, are stories of a journey. But they are much more than that. Both focus on a journey, but it is the inner working of the main characters that interests us. Both follow a strikingly identical storyline, in which themes, concerns as well as structural elements are at times indistinguishable. Both works are based on the return of a hero to his home, specifically, to his love interest.
In Homer’s “Odyssey” the themes, perseverance, love and loyalty are expressed through the relationship between Odysseus and Penelope, likewise, in Frazier’s “Cold Mountain”, the aforementioned themes are symbolized through Inman’s interaction with Ada. These comparisons are no accident. Frazier once admitted he actually borrowed stylistic elements from Homer’s “Odyssey” in an interview he had with the Boston Globe, as he explicitly said “When I heard the story [from my Grandfather,] one of the first things I thought of was a structure like The Odyssey. I didn’t want to write a book about the generals and the battles. I thought of it in terms of The Iliad and The Odyssey: the book about fighting the war, and the book about the warrior coming home.”Undoubtedly, Frazier borrows from this storyline for one purpose: establish that Inman is a protagonist, who is an ordinary character made to reflect on the concerns of the post-modern society. Just as obviously, this change in context has created the need to develop Inman into a hero for the modern age, which means that he will subvert many of the heroic traits that were considered normal for an Ancient Greek.
“Cold Mountain” is an American Odyssey, and to that end this essay attempts to understand how Frazier uses and changes the source material. For even while the structures of the two texts are similar, there are more differences than might be imagined. Inman might be a hero, but he is a hero for the post-modern world, despite the novel being set 150 years before the time of writing. Moreover, our modern-day Penelope, Frazier’s Ada, must be altered for her to capture the respect of the reader and to address issues of gender representation that are demanded by the modern reader. While Ada might be caught at a disadvantage, she seems to be less passive than her antecedent. Effectively, in order to answer the proposed question, these changes must be addressed. This essay sets out to determine how Frazier has used and subverted Homer’s poem. Firstly, “the Odyssey” will be summarised in terms of its concerns, structure and context.
The Greek world was very different from that of the American Civil War, or more significantly, from the late 20th century. In order to judge the significance of the changes, the starting point needs to be isolated. In the next section, we will go into greater depth regarding Odysseus as a Greek hero and what traits made him so attractive to the reader. The same will be undertaken for Penelope. Only once these characters are thoroughly deciphered can a comprehensive study of the changes in Frazier’s novel be attempted. In the fourth section of the essay, Odysseus and Inman will be compared with a close reading of the specifics of the text, and this process will then be repeated through a comparison of Ada and Penelope. By looking closely at the behaviour, choices and actions of the characters of the novel, we may be able to see the points of inspiration from the original poem. Both the novel and the poem are works of fascinating depth, and both focus on a very specific world and world view.
THE WORLD OF “THE ODYSSEY”
”Homer’s “Odyssey” is a poetic work that focuses on the journey of an epic hero whose primary aim is to return to his homeland through overcoming impediments. With respect to context, the work of Homer is set in the Bronze age of Greece, though it is believed that the poem was not written by one person and was actually changed and added to over many hundreds of years. The battle being described may have occurred 700 years before the believed date of composition. Therefore, it is difficult to understand just which world is being represented here: that of the battle, or of the writing, or of the Classical Age, which was so influenced by both poems. It is hard to overestimate the importance of Homer’s works. In Ancient Greece and Rome, a proper education consisted of memorising these epic poems. A properly educated person could recite them, but they were mostly used as a way to make a witty comment by delivering one or two lines at a good moment in a discussion. The reasons for this popularity are down to the quality of the poetry and the way the situations and characters reflect contemporary concerns. This was an age when the people of Greece assumed that gods were present among civilizations. Hence, the inclusion of timeless Greek gods, specifically, Athene, Hades, Helios, Hermes, Poseidon and Zeus, can be mainly linked with the belief of Homer’s audience; the audience of Homer, actually argued that gods present on earth were orchestrating natural events such as rain, earthquakes and growth of plants, in other words, mythology comprised a formidable portion of the daily lives of the ancient Greeks. The aforementioned gods were all assigned with certain strengths and qualities; the daughter of Zeus, Athene, for instance, was known as the goddess of war, wisdom and agriculture, whereas Hermes served as a messenger and represented commerce as well as theft.
ODYSSEUS AND PENELOPE: CHARACTERISATION
Another significant aspect regarding Homer’s “ Odyssey” is characterization. In comparison to the protagonist of Frazier’s “Cold Mountain” Inman, Odysseus can be regarded as an epic hero as every other Homeric hero rather than an a character who bears insignificant traits and merely reflects society. Despite severe situations, such as facing the sirens and battling the infamous Cyclops, Odysseus manages to prevail with minimal harm and continues his journey home. Such situations are inseparable from epic heroes, especially in the case of Odysseus, as he is known to bear the title of King of Ithaca. Apart from braving his adversaries with exceptional strength, Odysseus also defeats his opponents through reason and intelligence; the depiction of Odysseus with such traits obviously sets him apart from the traditional Homeric heroes. In Homer’s “Odyssey,” Odysseus’ encounter with Poseidon’s son, the Cyclops, consolidates the idea that Odysseus is in fact a cunning persona. In particular, Odysseus introduces himself to Polyphemus with a bogus name “Noman,” which leads Polyphemus to tell the Cyclops “No man” harmed him; through executing such a strategy, it is evident that Odysseus defeats the giant by reason as well as deception, hence it connotes that Homer intends to develop a persona who is formidable in comparison to the epic heroes of his former literary works.
Throughout the epic poem, perseverance is another element that comprises a great portion of the characteristics of Odysseus; his journey is infested with obstacles, and Odysseus’ ability to overcome each of the impediments can be merely linked with the aforementioned aspect of his personality; clearly, as Odysseus becomes a slave for goddesses, a captive of the Cyclops, and introduces himself to King Alcinous as nothing but an outsider, like any other epic hero, the modest face of his personality is fleshed out. Nevertheless, Homer strives to accentuate Odysseus’ resoluteness specifically through his plot to reunite with Penelope and Telemachus; even though Odysseus arrives home after years, he disguises himself as a stranger and contains his immense anger only to conduct his plan of vengeance: decimating each suitor to cease the pressure exerted on Penelope. This segment from the storyline draws a direct connection with Homer’s central intention to beguile a broad audience and appeal to their interest of witnessing an epic hero whose abilities are far beyond phenomenal.
Homer further develops the aspect of femininity, in other words, empowerment of women through giving heroic traits to Odysseus’ wife Penelope; from a conventional perspective, epic heroes are required to be masculine. Conversely, Homer subverts this prejudiced custom by constructing a personality similar to that of Odysseus; perseverance for instance, is not only a trait that bears significance to Odysseus’ characteristics, but also an aspect present in Penelope’s nature. Penelope resists the formidable pressure exerted by suitors, not knowing whether her husband is alive or deceased on his brutal journey, while Odysseus is well aware of Penelope’s condition. The heroine’s perseverance in fact creates a further parallel with Odysseus’ personality. Her act of patience indicates that loyalty has a profound meaning in her personality, as Penelope maintains resistant for twenty years and not once does she lose hope. Simultaneously, the aforementioned aspect of Penelope consolidates the idea of extraordinary mutual faith along with epic love.
Penelope’s heroic side becomes fairly apparent as she cunningly deceives the voracious suitors surrounding her property. As her son Telemachus is incapable of assisting her to find a solution to the developing tension, Penelope displays a conventional trait of an epic hero by formulating an original plan (having the suitors compete in an archery contest by utilizing Odysseus’ bow) to lay the foundation of the grand scheme aimed at the suitors Even though the threat Penelope faces, is not as formidable as those confronted by Odysseus, it gives her the same status as Odysseus with respect to heroism, since she holds off a myriad of insatiable suitors on her own; it is even underlined by the time the suitor, Antinoos admits the fact that Penelope’s plans “never were before,” simultaneously admiring her intelligence. Overall, Homer overlooks Penelope’s heroic acts, primarily because of Odysseus’ more conspicuous bravery against gods, monsters and supernatural creatures; however, acts of Penelope are indeed key components of the storyline. The reason is that through her exceptional intelligence, she masterminds the plot that deceived hordes of suitors; by not giving up, remaining resilient and waiting for two decades, Penelope reflects on the position of women in society, declaring them as bold, confident and tenacious. Hence, it is almost impossible not to assess Penelope from a Homeric hero perspective.
ODYSSEUS AND INMAN- COMPARISON
By the same token, Odysseus is characterized with traits that connote evil; unlike Inman, Odysseus is in favor of murdering the innocent and he takes pride in his misdeeds. His actions, primarily, the massacre of the young suitors reflects his lack of mercy and cruelty; the massacre also causes families in ancient Greece to grieve the losses of their sons, which further establishes a link between Odysseus and his ruthless nature. At the same time, Odysseus is described as a liar through his interaction with the suitors, before he carries out the massacre; as he disguises himself as an outsider and tricks the suitors into participating in a competition, Homer intends to give his audience a sense of deception so as to further consolidate the insidious atmosphere formed by Odysseus’ evil characteristic traits. Inman on the other hand, clearly contradicts Odysseus with respect to characteristics as he deserts the Confederate army in the first place as to avoid being part of a fierce conflict that has been caused by polarization. Odysseus is honorable not so much evilKillerHe stands up to peopleHe is crafty, cunningVoluntary sex slavePerseverance, resilientHumble?
PENELOPE AND ADA- COMPARISON
Taking into account that both female characters, Penelope and Ada display acts of intelligence, patience as well as loyalty, it can be deduced that the literary texts indeed concentrate on empowering women and giving them qualities equal to those of epic heroes. Even though these heroines are given such traits, it cannot be ignored that both in “Cold Mountain” and “The Odyssey,” their acts are often obscured by those of epic heroes, Odysseus and Inman.
Book Review: Odyssey
In the Odyssey pages 110 – 111 is like the beginning. It starts of with Odysseus talking about his tale with King Alcinious. They talk about odysseus’ troubles and where he has come from. From pages 110 – 111 we understand a bit more about the culture back then. Odysseus is a very cocky man and thinks very highly of himself. He talks about a goddess wanting to marry him and how he declined and also about the whole world knowing who he is. ‘But my fools of men refused’ This tells us that his men didn’t follow his commands and he wasn’t happy with them. We also know that his men are quite greedy ‘and they kept on drinking and butchering sheep’. We find out that Zeus doesn’t like him on line 51 (‘At dawn they were on us, thick as the leaves and flowers in spring, and disaster, sent by Zeus to makes us suffer’).
After nine days, the Odyseeus’ reached the land of the Lotus eaters. There, the crewmen that ate the fruit of lotus lost all hope and want, to return and all memory of their home. The lotus eaters had good xenia however it was for the worse of them. They only wanted to stay and eat lotus. But Odysseus being a good leader saved them and forced them to return to the ships, tied them to the ships masts, and told the remaining men to set sail.
After this he went to the land of the cyclops and stumble upon one cyclops called Polythene’s. The land of the cyclops had no rules and was very uncivilised, globalised, and neighbourly like. Odysseus bought a few of his men to go and visit the island leaving the others on another island. When they arrived shore they saw lots of flocks and sheep. They then saw a cave (the home of the Polythenes). They then goto the giants hows but but the giant was not at home, and the crew looked at his flocks, his cheeses, and his buckets for milking. The men wanted to take what they could and run back to the ships, but Odysseus insisted that they stay to receive the giant’s gifts. This tells us that they are very greedy link back with when they were in Troy.
In the evening when the Cyclops arrived back home he milked his cows and closed the big rock closing the cave and lit a fire. He then spotted the men and asked who they were. Odysseus said they are Arachenes and asked if he could follow the customs and respect him. The cyclops said he does not fear Zeus the king of Gods. He promptly bashed two men dead against the ground and ate them gruesomely. Odysseus wanted to kill the gruesome Cyclops, Son of Poseidon, but realised that if he attempted this he wouldn’t be able to get out of the cave.
For breakfast he ate two more men and lit the fire. He milked his sheep and did his daily arents. He then left for the day, shutting the entrance of the cave behind him with the huge rock. When the Cyclops left Odysseus started plotting his revenge. He took the Cyclops’ staff and filed it down and heated it to make it sharp. Polythemus then arrived in the evening, milked his sheep and goats, and ate two more men for dinner. Odysseus being a cunning man offered Odysseus very strong wine Odysseus then asked for his name and he replied with ‘Nobody’. In thanks for the wine, Polyphemus promised to eat him last and fell asleep, vomiting human flesh. Seeing their chance, Odysseus and four other men heated up the sharpened club and used it to gouge out the Cyclops’ eye. Polyphemus screamed in agony, and other Cyclops’ rushed up to his cave and asked who was hurting him. The Cyclops yelled ‘Nobody,’ so they walked away. Odysseus was delighted that his trick succeeded.
Odysseus then plotted their escape. He organised the ram in groups of three and one man on each rams belly he lashed himself to the belly of the remaining old ram. This tells us that Odysseus thinks about his men before him, being a good leader. When the Cyclops arrived he let his sheep leave, the men escaped too. Once out of the cave Odysseus untied himself and his men and they all rushed to the ships. When they were out on the water, Odysseus yelled back to Polyphemus that Zeus has punished him for his crimes. In response, the furious Polyphemus broke off the top of a cliff and threw it in the direction of the ship, so that a wave drove the ship back to shore. Once they were at a safe distance again, Odysseus yelled back again to say that it was he, Odysseus, that blinded the Cyclops, if anyone should ask.
The Role of Fate in Homer’s Iliad
Destiny has been a constant theme for authors, poets, dramatists and playwrights since time immemorial. The idea of destiny has been incorporated in many novels and plays. Human beings have always been intrigued by the power of moira and its ability to dominate the course of human action. It has always been a debatable topic as to who and what controls human lives. The soldiers in Homer’s Iliad know that their moira is unchangeable but their destiny, which is death, is inevitable. In fact, even Gods do not have direct control on moira (Brugger). They are the enforcers of moira. Men have free will to adhere to the rules of destiny or make their own choices. In Iliad, moira plays a significant role in deciding the ultimate outcome of man’s destiny. Thomas Hardy has called destiny as the “Immanent Will” that directs the lives of all men on the other hand Shakespeare has said in regarding to moira that men are the master of their own destiny.
The thread of moira binds the lives of the characters in Iliad. Nobody can escape from moira, neither dead or alive, “neither brave man or coward” (Homer&Butler). The mortals depend on the prophets who belief that the destiny of a person is pre-destined. Calchas, who is the greatest of all seers, predicts that the scared city of Troy is destined for impending doom. While many find providence to be a motivating factor to fight the war, others hope that they can outride their destiny by wisdom and courage. Regardless of what they believe in, everyone wants to live a life of honor and leave behind a legacy of valor (Beck). Zeus, the king of Gods, takes the sides of the Trojans and aids them. Even though he does everything possible in his power to help the Trojans, he cannot change the course of their moira. Zeus fails to save his own son, Sarpendon, from being killed by Patroclus. Whether or not Gods can alter moira no one knows but the Three Moirai decide the destiny of man is the long known truth (Homer&Butler). The Gods, in Iliad, are predisposed towards the characters in the epic, which makes them deceiving and immoral. They are involved in unscrupulous deeds like lying, raping, philandering and using innocent mortals as pawns for their entertainment. Hera, the wife of Zeus, is biased towards the Achaeans and along with her daughter, Athena plots against the Trojans whom she detests. Thus, the Gods try to manipulate the course of moira indirectly.
The Gods acts as the enablers and the enforcers of destiny (Mueller). On the other hand, mortals utilize their skills and qualities to meet their predestined moira. While some use it for escaping the results of their actions, some use it to seek revenge. After seeing the losses suffered by the Greeks, Agamemnon, instead of apologizing for his destructive anger blames moira and Zeus as the cause of all the upheaval and turmoil (Stanley). What he fails to understand is that though moira controls the lives of man, it can only impose its power if man surrenders to it willingly. Free will of humans might get restricted at times but it does not completely disappear. Every human can act according to his or her free will whether this goes for or against his destiny is difficult to understand. Similarly, Achilles is aware of his inescapable providence yet he chooses to do everything that will lead to his damnation. He has the option of retreating from the war front with his lost glory or die fighting with his honor intact (Beck). Achilles chooses to face his death with an indomitable spirit. It is the Greek philosophy and ideal to live their lives with honor.
They believe in the concept of astounding fame even after death. There is also a sense of personal honor that every Greek hero clings to. The Gods deliberately create pandemonium when they see that humans are going against the laws of destiny. Instead of allowing Achilles to kill Hector, Zeus and the demi Gods descend down to create more commotion in the battlefield. Zeus, instigated by fear and concern for Achilles, asks his brother and daughter to join the war to save the life of Achilles (Graziosi,Barbara andHaubold). Thus, even Gods cannot alter or control destiny. Neither the mortals nor the immortals have power over moira. The future is constantly changing. The warriors and the immortals worry about the future, plan for the future and try to predict the future (Jankulla). As if being certain about the future will somehow cushion the fatalistic blow. The entire poem is a destruction in progress. The inability of the mortals and the immortals to change their prescribed destiny is disconcerting (Butler). The characters in the poem suffer in the hands of moira. They learn to see things from a different perspective and it also affects their decision making. Homer relates death with moira. When Hector sees his damnation approaching him, he understands it is because the Gods wanted it to be so (Kundsen&Ahern). Even Zeus feels helpless when he sees his favorite man, his mortal son Sarpendon is about to die. The poet has treated death synonymous with destiny. Moira is seen as an active force present in all the affairs of life. Zeus, Moira and Erinys come together to spurn madness in Agamemnon’s heart (Stanley).
Gods acting in opposition to man’s free will and death looming large puts man in frenzy. Homer’s application of these two devices is to intensify the glory of man’s achievements. It is man’s will and determination to fight against destiny that makes all predicaments secondary. Man creates his own environment, achieves real ends (Jankulla). Man finds a new God, amidst the conflicting Gods, in the glory of living. Homer gives the eternal message of reality: man’s endeavor to strive and succeed against his own destiny. Thus, Homer’s world is an odd mixture of man and Divine (Slattery). The intervention of God is similar to moira, as he interferes in all the aspects of man’s life: birth, death, war, travel, relationships. Every character in Homer’s Iliad is subjected to moira. Not only the mortals, but the Olympian Gods and Zeus himself is directed by moira. The difference lies in the fact that the mortals blame the gods if they are condemned. The gods, on the other hand has no none to blame for their manipulating behavior. Secondly, men is subjected to death, whereas, gods are immortals so moira cannot affect them directly. Destiny is the ultimate strategist of the downfall of the city of Troy and the Trojan War. The Greek Gods acts as evil manipulators who try to twist the course of moira either to help man or bring his nemesis. They control men by subtle methods of divinity like dreams, impulses, anger, emotions and more. Though the Gods fail miserably and have to give in to the cosmic force that pervades the lives of men and Gods alike, they still try to annihilate man in every way possible. Thus, men are reduced to mere playthings of the immortals and destiny itself. Due to their sufferings and pre ordained destiny, men are at the mercy of gods and their own destiny. The only option they are left with is the choices that they make in life. These choices will either help them overcome their misery or obliterate them completely. Free will is therefore not eliminated and man with the use of knowledge and wisdom, can be the master of his own destiny.