Theme Of Family In The Odyssey
Throughout this voyage, Odysseus constantly speaks and thinks of returning home to Penelope and their son Telemachus, a thought that allows him to persist through all odds for twenty years. Odysseus’ absence from his household has left it unprotected and vulnerable to forces that might ruin its integrity, a great fear that makes his need to return home so urgent and strong, as Odysseus describes: “‘Yet, it is true, each day I long for the sight of home. If any god has marked me out again for shipwreck, my tough heart can undergo it. What hardship have I not long since endured at sea, in battle! Let the trial come’”(V.228-33). The gods also realize the massive threat Odysseus’ household is under in his absence, and thus resolve to finally direct him towards home to restore order to his household and Ithaca. The only god that objects to this is Poseidon, as he holds a grudge against Odysseus for blinding his Cyclops son, and thus causes many of the hindrances of Odysseus’ journey. However, even he realizes that Odysseus’ return is essential, and compromises with Zeus: “‘I thought Odysseus should in time regain his homeland; I had no mind to rob him of that day- no, no; you promised it, being so inclined; only I thought he should be made to suffer all the way… I should have taken vengeance, as you say, on my own; but I respect, and would avoid, your anger” (XIII.159-85). Despite his own divine will and hatred of Odysseus, Poseidon had never dared to deprive Odysseus of his homecoming, as this would have upset the will of the gods, which asserts that Odysseus must come home to restore his household. With such a destructive threat as the suitors in his home, the gods realize that Odysseus’ return must be quickened to salvage any remaining integrity and order in his house, requiring their intervention and Poseidon’s compliance.