The Odyssey is an epic poem that tells the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaca, and his journey back home after the Trojan War. Odysseus is called to adventure when he leaves for Troy, but he encounters many obstacles on his way home. The hero and his crew face difficulties from Cyclopes and lotus-eaters to sirens and Scylla and Charybdis. One of the reasons behind the many hazards the travelers encounter is Odysseus’s hubris and impatience. He dreams of being reunited with Penelope and his son, but his actions prevent him from doing so. Odysseus makes many mistakes before learning patience and humility.
At the beginning of his journey, Odysseus is self-confident and prideful. He shows exceptional cunning, but his actions often are his downfall. One of the biggest mistakes he makes is blinding and insulting Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon. Odysseus and his men manage to escape from the giant’s captivity, but he arrogantly tells the giant his name. This leads to Polyphemus praying to his father and asking the Olympian to avenge him. Poseidon complies, and Odysseus’s journey is stretched out over ten years.
Nonetheless, Odysseus is a dynamic character who realizes his mistakes and learns from them. After he returns home, Odysseus learns of Penelope’s suitors. He does not immediately reveal himself, as showing his real face would lead to his certain death. Instead, he listens to Athena’s advice and disguises himself as a beggar. This decision allows the hero to find out what is going on in his home and prepare for an attack. It also teaches him to be humble.
In book 17, Odysseus is attacked by one of Penelope’s suitors while in his beggar disguise. The suitor does not recognize him and attacks him for daring to ask for food. This attack reminds Odysseus of the importance of being humble and that looks can be deceiving. This experience teaches him to be both stoic and modest.
Overall, Odysseus is an example of a dynamic hero who changes throughout his adventure. He becomes even more cunning and understands the importance of patience and humility. He learns that even the smartest decisions are in vain if they are made without these qualities. Odysseus’s transformation into an old man is when he truly learns patience and humility, as he sees the world from a new perspective while pretending to be a man of humble origins.
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