An Analysis of Loyalty in Homer’s Odyssey Essay examples

1542 Words Dec 15th, 2012 7 Pages
An Analysis of Loyalty in Homer’s Odyssey

In short, The Odyssey is a story of the war hero Odysseus’ pain and suffering caused by the extensive separation from his family and home during the chronicle of events after the fall of Troy. In the unraveling of these adventures, the reader is immersed in a world of heroic feats, strange creatures and lustful gods. However, behind all the myths and legends, there are a wide variety of underlying themes and concepts, which not only develop the plot and characters, but also leave lasting implications on the audience. One of the most striking themes presented in The Odyssey is loyalty. Loyalty is recurs time and time again throughout the epic poem and is portrayed through the loyal relationship
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In return for his loyalty, the Gods, particularly Athena guide him on his journey. When Odysseus’ ship is struck by lightning, the Goddess Ino provides him with a magical cloak, which prevents him from drowning. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, also helped Odysseus by giving him a special herb, which rendered him immune to Circe’s spell that turned his men in to swine. While Odysseus’ loyalty towards the God’s proved valuable in the success of his journey, there were instances where disloyalty set him back. After being captured by Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, Odysseus blinds the Cyclops with a flaming stake and escapes by hanging on the bellies of the ram owned by Polyphemus. As Odysseus sails away, he exclaims “I am not nobody; I am Odysseus, Son of Laertes, King of Ithaca” this act of hubris and dishonor angers Poseidon who then curses Odysseus, sending storms and contrary winds to hinder his path.
Although the loyalty men held towards the Gods play an important role in the Odyssey, it is the loyalty between mortals that leave the most impact. Loyalty, as defined by The Odyssey, can be characterized by an event occurring towards the end of the poem when Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca. Upon his return, Odysseus noticed a dog asleep in the street that ‘raised his head and pricked up his ears’. This dog, named Argos, belonged to Odysseus before he had left for the war

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