Revenge In The Odyssey In Homer's The Odyssey

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In Ancient Greek culture, revenge was a common theme. This is also reflected in Homer’s epic, The Odyssey. According to Odysseus’ account in The Odyssey, most of his struggles came from a curse that the Cyclops Polyphemus placed on him as revenge for blinding him. Additionally, the trojan war essentially started as a revenge by the Greek city states for Paris of Troy taking Helen, Menelaus’s wife. What do these myths tell us about revenge? The myths show that revenge is a powerful force that can make people do irrational and uncharacteristic things. In the myth of the Trojan War, the war started because Paris of Troy stole Helen, Menelaus’s wife. Due to a pact made by Helen’s suitors about respecting Helen as Menelaus’s wife, all of Greece …show more content…
According to Odysseus, all of his struggles were caused by Poseidon taking revenge for blinding his son, Polyphemus. After Odysseus blinded Polyphemus and escaped, Polyphemus called out for Poseidon and asked him to curse Odysseus so that if he does ever get back to his homeland of Ithaca, he will be tired and alone in a stranger’s ship. ‘“Hear me, Poseidon who circle the earth, dark-haired. If truly I am your son, and you acknowledge yourself as my father, grant that Odysseus, sacker of cities, son of Laertes, who makes his home in Ithaka, may never reach that home; but if it is decided that he shall see his own people, and come home to his strong-founded house and to his own country, let him come late, in bad case, with the loss of all his companions, in someone else’s ship, and find troubles in his household.” ‘So he spoke in prayer, and the dark-haired god heard him.’ (9.528-536) This prophecy became true, so it can be argued that if Polyphemus didn’t want revenge for his blinding, Odysseus would have gotten home safely, with a living crew, much …show more content…
One of the examples of revenge being used in such a way is when Helios punished Odysseus and his crew for killing his cows. In The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew went to the island of the Sun to rest and replenish their supplies, and they were planning on leaving quickly. However, due to bad conditions, they were forced to stay on the island for a month. Eventually, while Odysseus was sleeping, his crew slaughtered Helios’s cows, even though they were specifically told not to, out of hunger. This angered Helios, who asked Zeus to take revenge on Odysseus’ crew. Once Odysseus left the island, Zeus sent down a storm that killed Odysseus’ entire crew and sent him adrift. Helios said this “Unless they pay me back in blood for the butchery of my herds, down I go to the House of Death and blaze among the dead!”. Although the idea of killing several ships’ worth of men because they killed some cows might seem primitive and strange by today’s western views of law and morality, in ancient Greece, when a person couldn’t always rely on the government of the city-state they were in to be just, revenge offered a moral code to make sure all Greeks had consequences for their actions. This leads many Greeks to make sure they never wronged any of the Gods in fear of their wrath. Thus formed

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