Family: A tough Bond to Break Many wise philosophers say that only 7 stories exist in the world as we know it. The struggle of good versus evil, finding true love, and the rise and fall of important people have been written about since the discovery of pen and paper. One theme that stands out in Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, is the desperation to keep a family together. Odysseus, Telemacus, and Penelope all suffer hardships trying to keep the tight bond their family has, as close as possible. Odysseus is determined he will return to his wife and newborn son after the war of Troy was won. Many trials and tribulations are presented to Odysseus on his journey home.
Polyphemus, the Cyclops, tries to detain the hero from returning to his home of Ithaca. Poseidon’s son failed and ended up being blinded (Milch p. 29).
Odysseus was also tempted by Calypso.
The nymph-goddess offered to make him immortal if he would just stay with her on the island for ever. Odysseus refused and started his epic journey to Ithaca once again. Odysseus is told to visit Tiresias in Hades to find a way to make it back to Penelope and Telemacus. He must venture to the land of the dead (Rieu p 160).
The only important thing in Odysseus’ life is returning to his family in Ithaca. Having the same feelings his father possesses, Telemacus’ only desires are to keep his mother from marrying one of the many suitors and acquiring knowledge of his father.
Ancient Greece’s Odysseus from Homer’s The Odyssey and ancient Troy’s Aeneus from Virgil’s The Aeneid are both heroes who struggle with identity and purpose, and these identities and purposes are tied up into the concepts and symbolism revolving around female versus male and pagan versus Christian-like influences. In comparing Odysseus’ travel to the underworld and Aeneus’ decent to the land of ...
He must do this because he knows that if his father is dead, he must return to Ithica to fight the suitors alone (and eventually be killed).
His other choice is to stay away from Ithica all together and lose the respect of his people and do harm to his fathers name. To do this, Telemacus sets out on a journey of his own. He first decides to visit his fathers friend, Nestor, first (Rieu, p. 30-44).
Nestor tells of his fathers great deeds.
After leaving Nestors palace, Telemacus visits Menelaus. He is visiting these great men to find out about his father. Since Telemacus was only an infant when his father set out to fight at Troy, he really does not remember him. By hearing stories about the great acts his father committed, he feels that he knows him better. This brings new feelings about is father. Telemacus is also upset about the suitors that are evading his fathers house trying to marry his mother.
The suitors are squandering away Odysseus’ fortune. He resents the suitors very much for this. This is why he sets out on a mission to find his father and once again unite his family. Like Telemacus, Penelope feels that the suitors need to let her alone.
She does not want to believe that her hero-husband had been killed fighting a war in Troy. She believes that he is on his way home to her and her princely son. This is the reason she never remarries. Penelope uses her cunning to prevent a marriage that she does not want and would also be devastating for her people. She tells the suitors that she will marry when she finishes a cloak she is weaving for Laertes, Odysseus’ father. Penelope weaves this special cloak all day and then secretly undoes her work at night.
This keeps the suitors from pressuring her into marriage. Penelope finally devises a plan to get the suitors to stop bothering her. She tells them that she will marry the first person who could successfully string and shoot Odysseus’ bow through seven arrow heads. She does this knowing that Odysseus is the only man who could do this. She devises these plans in the hopes that her dear husband would soon return home to her and her son. Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, contains many intertwined plots and themes.
Odysseus’s behavior was ironic when he deliberately concealed part of Circe’s prophecy from his men because when Odysseus and his men went through Scylla, all of the men were scared and some of the men were killed. In the Odyssey it said that: “My men all blanched against the gloom our eyes were fixed upon that yawning mouth in fear of being devoured” (Homer886) This quote showed that Odysseus’s ...
The fight between good and evil is alive and well. The gods protect the ones that they favor. It is always wise to help out your neighbor because you never know when you will need his help. But family is the most important theme in The Odyssey. This shows that family has always been a strong part of society and always will.
The characters in the book battle monsters and face evil gods to be together once again. It may take them twenty years, but they are finally united again as one family. Bibliography Rieu, E. V. (1946).
Middlesex, England. (Original work composed circa 1200 BCE. ) Milch, Robert J. The Odyssey.
Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc.