Cunning Intelligence In The Odyssey

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Analysis of The Odyssey by Homer Around 750 B.C.E the author Homer created the epic, The Odyssey. The epic is set in Bronze Age Greece when gods were believed to still frequent the Earth and mortals with extraordinary powers existed. The Odyssey describes Odysseus’, the main protagonist’s, journey home from the battle at Troy. He is met with many obstacles that prevent him from returning home for many years. The epic examines how the power of cunning is superior to the power of strength, the consequences of temptation can be disastrous, and the metaphorical journey into manhood that the characters take is apparent in human nature. Homer explores these themes throughout the epic using various literary devices, key terms, common human philosophy, …show more content…
However, The Odyssey is about the uses of cunning intelligence to overcome and defeat Odysseus’ enemies. In the beginning of the book it says, “A man of twists and turns” (Homer 1). This indicates that Odysseus is a clever man and uses his head throughout his adventures to help him defeat his enemies. When Odysseus and his crew are trapped in the Cyclops, Polyphemus’, cave he knows that only cunning tactics can help him save his crew and escape. Odysseus knows that he is not strong enough to move the boulder blocking the door and that only Polyphemus is able to move it. He comes up with a plan to be able to trick the Cyclops into opening the door. “Seizing the olive stake, sharp at the tip, they plunged it in his eye, and I, perched up above, whirled it around” (Homer 112). In this quote from The Odyssey Odysseus and his crew shove an olive stake into Polyphemus’ eye, blinding him, and thus causing him to panic and remove the boulder blocking the exit of the cave. Homer uses the text to portray that being cunning is superior to being strong because cunning allows Odysseus and his men to go free without losing any more men in the process of escape. It is also a clever trick to get Polyphemus to shout, “Noman is murdering me by force” (Homer 112). Homer also uses key Greek terms in The Odyssey to explore the power of being cunning. Odysseus meets Achilles in …show more content…
The Lesser Ajax rapes Cassandra, the Trojan princess, as the Greeks were taking over the city. This angers the goddess Athena whom gives bad luck to the Greek fleets and thus sets in motion the obstacles that Odysseus must overcome. The journey is started by the inability that the Lower Ajax had to control his temptation and it led to many more temptations along the way. The journey Odysseus endures is 10 years long, “Gods can make old age the better time” (Homer 290) Odysseus tells his crew, “Friends there is food and drink enough on the swift ship; let us then spare the cattle for fear we come to harm,” however the crew were tempted by the cattle and driven by hunger they butchered the cattle, “They had cut the throats and flayed the cattle” (Homer 154-155). Once Odysseus’ crew killed the Sun God’s cattle their journey home was further delayed. The Sun God killed some of the crew and made Odysseus become lost in a storm. Homer uses common human desires to display the disastrous effects that temptations have on one, Odysseus and his crew. Homer also uses the human temptations to curb their hunger when the crew ate the lotus flowers and forget about their home. “Whosoever of them ate the lotus’ honeyed fruit wished to bring tidings back no more—there desired to stay, to feed on lotus and forget his going home” (Homer 105). Even with Odysseus’ cunning ways he was tempted by his desire for kleos when he

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