3590 Words May 1st, 2014 15 Pages
EXAMINATION OF DUTY AND SELF CONTROL IN THE ODYSSEY Aashna Jamal INTRODUCTION Under the rule of Zeus, events did not occur in isolation but in interdependence causing there to be a flux in the totality of events and the whole drama being played on a cosmic plane. The central theme of Zeus’s rule is the preservation of his “ oikos” or household management where the prevalence of order over Chaos is of utmost importance. In this paper, using the Odyssey as a case study, I will examine the thematic importance of the decisions taken by a hero in accordance to or defiance of self control and pietas and the consequences they lead to. These expectations are clearly marked out for the reader who waits in anticipation to garner the fate of the …show more content…
ILLUSTRATIONS DUTY Though the concept of duty is referred to in the very first book of the Odyssey it is of special interest as it examines the duty Zeus as a king bears towards the mortal Odysseus who has not been able to get back to Ithaca from Troy and is living under bounded captivity on Calypso’s island Ogyia. The unwritten rule in Greek myths is that humans are but a pawn on the chessboard of the God’s world. They live in the world of the Gods who are answerable to none but Zeus and are not always the figures of benevolence. The question put forth is that what happens if Zeus forgets his duty? Who will hold him accountable? Though Zeus is the God of justice, he is sometimes constrained from meting it out thus fulfilling his duty as in the case of Odysseus because he has to take into account the wrath of Poseidon. In this very instance, a parallel can be drawn between Zeus and the hero of the story who is similarly constrained from fulfilling his duty due to his detainment by Calypso. Athena ’s role of reminding Zeus to do the right thing is analogous to Hermes’s in persuading Calypso to let go of Odysseus as Gods tend to forget their “ correct roles’’ in the order of the Universe.



The idea of duty as seen in the Odyssey is very disparate for men and women as is exemplified by the treatment of Penelope and Odysseus’s behaviour in context to fidelity. Penelope is deified as an ideal woman

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