The Odyssey; Immortality Essay

1270 Words Aug 21st, 2013 6 Pages
The Odyssey of Homer is filled with various adventures, sought-after revenge, and harmful temptations. The war hero, Odysseus, traveled for three years, always trying to achieve his homecoming. In Odysseus’ fourth year, Zeus destroyed his ship, as well as his companions, while they were out at sea. After these losses, Odysseus alone was washed up onto the island of a nymph, Kalypso. She took him into her palace and came to love him. After time, she desired to make Odysseus her husband, offering to make him immortal as well. Yet, Odysseus declines her offer of immortality. After years of fighting in battle, then years of suffering following the war, his noble rejection seems remarkable. Homer’s readers are forced to wonder, why does …show more content…
If he returns, then he would be honored with his homecoming, and also return to kingship. These are key events that must take place in order for Odysseus to ratify his true identity, and neither of these events would be possible if he accepted Kalypso’s offer. In fact, those desires would be crushed if Odysseus were to accept it. He would live forever on an island, isolated and unknown, and his identity of being a king would be completely lost. Odysseus could not accept the offer without hindering his image and identity. Kalypso’s offer of immortality invalidates Odysseus’ identity as a husband. Odysseus has a beloved wife, Penelope, yet being held captive, he is unable to return to her. Meanwhile, Odysseus lives on an island, alone with a woman besides his wife, and he is unable to maintain a faithful marriage. Being a husband is another part of Odysseus’ character. However, he knew when he left for the war that there was the possibility he would not return. The day he departed for Troy he said to her, “I do not know if the god will spare me…But when you see our son grown up and bearded, then you may marry whatever man you please, forsaking your household” (Book 18, lines 265-270). The offer of immortality also hinders Odysseus’ other familial identities, a father and a son. As well as a respected wife, Odysseus has a child, Telemachos. Not only is Odysseus absent for his son’s entire childhood, but even now he has no way of seeing him. If he

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