The Role Of Vengeance In Homer's The Odyssey

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Gandhi once said “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Although embraced today, this philosophy would not have been popular with the ancient Greeks. Homer’s The Odyssey shows the ancient Greek value of vengeance. Many of the characters in the epic exact revenge on another character including Odysseus, Poseidon, and Helios. The ancient Greeks believed that revenge was necessary in order to preserve honor and pride, whether that be stealing back a goat or killing the man who killed your father. Books IX, XII, and XXII show that the recurring concept of vengeance leading to justice was a key part of Greek culture, but today makes Odysseus’ journey seem convoluted and repetitive. One might wonder, why does Odysseus go through this whole journey? Why isn’t he able to sail back home directly? The main cause of Odysseus’ entire struggle is Poseidon’s desire for vengeance. In book IX, Odysseus explains the story of how he blinded the giant …show more content…
They valued pride and honor greatly and being disrespected in any way was unacceptable. Poseidon would be avenging his son by answering his prayer. However, the curse simply complicates the plot. When Odysseus explains his journey in books IX-XII, the reader listens to all his tales about his hardships and is supposed to pity him. The majority of his pain was caused by Poseidon. Later, he goes on to harm Odysseus even more, displayed in book V lines 403-404 when it says, “Poseidon god of the earthquake launched a colossal wave, terrible, murderous, arching over him, pounding down on him.” This is just one subsequent instance in which Odysseus is under the wrath of Poseidon. Poseidon was never directly provoked by Odysseus so today, his response would be considered extravagant. As a reader, we know that Odysseus went through a lot on his journey and we don’t need this extra plot just to make us sympathize with him

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