Theme Of Disguise In The Odyssey

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Disguises in Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, play a role in influencing the characters and their stories by deceiving their senses. They are important to the story as Athena and Odysseus manipulate the other characters in order to get what they want. Although it may not sound like they are using their disguises for good, the Odyssey puts the use of camouflage in a different light and the deception is actually tremendously heroic. The reoccurring theme of disguise is used in the Odyssey to influence and impress the main characters, test their true nature, and makes the reader question if disguise is really inherently bad or if it is heroically cunning. The plot in the Odyssey is heavily influenced by the goddess Athena. She changes the appearance …show more content…
Usually, we believe that deception is morally wrong. However, the use of disguise is used for the greater good in the Odyssey. After stringing the bow and firing an arrow through the axeheads, Odysseus was still disguised as a beggar. The suitors were not expecting this and with a bow already at his disposal, “he stripped off his rags and lept with his bow” and killed the suitors off with Telemachus and Athena. Odysseus’ most famous disguise was the use of the Trojan horse. He used it to sneakily enter the city and became a hero. They mention his fame throughout the epic, such as in Book 4: “Listen to what he did in the wooden horse, where all we Argive chiefs sat waiting to bring slaughter and death to the Trojans.” These two examples of disguise involve violence, but the premise of the killing is good versus evil. The last example is when Odysseus and his men were held captive by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Odysseus used his cunning to save their lives by disguising his identity and told the Cyclops his name was “Noman.” When he attacks the Cyclops by stabbing him in the eye with his spear after he is asleep, the Cyclops shrieks, “Noman is killing me by some kind of trick!” After the Cyclops is blinded, Odysseus derives a plan to escape the cave. The plan was to cling to the bellies of the monstrous sheep: “each middle sheep carried a man underneath, protected by the two on either side” three sheep to a …show more content…
Athena chose Odysseus as her “favorite” mortal because of his natural god-like ability to disguise himself and she helped him successfully return home and slay those who did him wrong. This major theme was used to influence and impress the characters, test their true nature, and to provoke the reader to question the morality of deceit. Overall, the use of disguise in the Odyssey was used for good and heroic deeds which lead to Odysseus being reunited with his family and Telemachus is lead to go on a coming-of-age

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