The Importance Of Trust In Odysseus And Penelope's Odyssey

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Trusting people other than oneself can mean the difference between life and death. Whether the other person has more power or better insight, by trusting others and accepting their help, one can accomplish far more than they could alone. All of the different narratives of The Odyssey display the importance of trust and the harmful consequences that occur when one refuses to have faith in those around them. Odysseus’ lack of trust delays his homecoming, while Telemachus’ and Penelope’s willingness to trust others is rewarded with information, life, and ultimate happiness. Odysseus has a habit of distrusting everyone due to the abuse he suffered from Poseidon. His distrust is useful in certain situations; when the Cyclops Polyphemus asks where …show more content…
Odysseus’ trust in his own cleverness and tact causes him to believe more in his own skill than in the advice of his shipmates. Soon after their narrow escape, Odysseus is gifted with a bag of winds by Aeolus but does not tell his crew what is inside. Communication is a sign of trust, and the absence of an explanation from Odysseus indicates that he does not trust his comrades. He does not take any blame for himself; …show more content…
Much later, when Odysseus’ remaining companions have been picked off, he finds himself in another situation where he should trust the hand that is offering salvation. Caught in the midst of one of Poseidon’s storms, Odysseus denies the help of a nymph and decides to attempt to survive on his own: “I fear another immortal weaves a snare to trap me… I’ll do what seems best to me.” Odysseus begins to succeed only when he follows the nymph’s instructions; then, he is kept alive by both the nymph and Athena. Because Athena does not physically appear before Odysseus in a form where she is recognizable as a goddess, he believes the gods are either working against him or have forsaken him. He says this to Athena when she finally appears to him undisguised: “Once we’d sacked King Priam’s craggy city… from then on, daughter of Zeus, I never saw you, never glimpsed you striding along my decks to ward off some disaster.” This is further proof that Odysseus thinks he has come this far of his own tact, with only the gods pushing him back -

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