Odysseus Son Of Pain Analysis

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Odysseus: Son of Pain

In Homer 's The Odyssey, a king, Alcinous, urges the protagonist, Odysseus, "Come, tell us the name they call you there at home [...] Surely no man is nameless [...] as soon as he sees the light his parents always name him, once he 's born" (209 • 618-622). Odysseus 's name, in fact, carries great significance. It means "son of pain," and through the course of the poem, the reader can understand how fitting this name is for this character. Odysseus, son of pain, seems to be destined from birth to endure and inflict pain such that he cannot escape it, however this trait is further amplified by his own, sometimes reckless and sometimes calculated behavior.
Throughout the epic, the narrator and others often refer to Odysseus
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At another point in the story as Odysseus talks to Alcinous, he calls himself an “unlucky guest” (186 • 258). These are only a few examples of a very common occurrence. The repetition of these adjectives seems to suggest that Odysseus is fated to suffer. Characters seem to accept the fact that he …show more content…
Just before Autolycus tells his daughter what he believes her son’s name should be, he describes how he created “pain for many” (19 • 461), implying that Odysseus’s name may mean more than the pain he is destined to give out. This passage suggests an additional interpretation of the title son of pain, signifying that Odysseus will cause pain in the lives of others. This interpretation of the prediction turns out to be accurate as well as Odysseus causes pain for the people around him. The story begins after Odysseus has fought in the Trojan War; he is considered a hero of the war because he used his wit to trick the Trojans, winning the war for the Greeks. In fighting in this war, however, he created pain for the Trojans. Homer brings the reader’s attention to this fact in an epic simile when Odysseus is crying after a bard sings a song about the war, and Homer compares Odysseus’s tears to a woman weeping for “her darling husband, a man who fell in battle, fighting for town and townsmen” (8 • 588-589). This passage is significant because it compares the pain that Odysseus experiences to the pain he deals out, as he inevitably must have caused this situation to occur time and time again during his time fighting in the war. Towards the end of the poem, Odysseus also causes pain when he kills disrespectful suitors who have been staying in his house and courting his wife while he was journeying back from the

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