The Homecoming of Odysseus
The Odyssey is one of the most famous works of an Ancient Greek author Homer. The events of The Odyssey take place after the Trojan War. They describe the journey of Odysseus, a strong and intelligent leader. Due to the conflict with Poseidon, the sea god, the trip to Ithaca turns into a ten-year journey full of challenges, difficulties and temptations. Odysseus arrives to Ithaca after twenty years of absence and finds his kingdom not the way he has left it. Thus, the hero meets another challenge. He should restore his world taking into consideration all the changes that have happened in his country, family and to himself during these twenty years.
The return of Odysseus back home is only a part of the story. A large part of the events have happened while he was travelling. This corresponds not only to the main character and his team, but also to Penelope and other characters of Ithaca. During the years that Odysseus has spent travelling, he has significantly changed. However, the biggest changes can be seen in his wife and his son waiting for his return. Therefore, upon the return of Odysseus, a reader can witness how all the changes happening with the two groups of characters have influenced on their final meeting. Although Odysseus has reached his homeland, he sees how everything has changed. As well, he may notice how he has developed new qualities and behavioral patterns. After being away during such long war and then experiencing numerous difficulties on his way back home, the famous Greek hero discovers a completely new community. This society has evolved over the years of his absence.
Odysseus’ quest and his long trip home have served as a background for the development of the character’s identity, his goals and missions. At first, the main character sees his main goal as to get home. However, this it rapidly changes upon his arrival. One may say that Odysseus begins a new quest once again towards his old life, a throne and a social position. Throughout the journey, the main hero not only copes with numerous complications defeating his foes, but also resists many temptations. Odysseus is tempted for many times. Especially there are some temptations with Circe and Calypso among the strongest ones. Despite all the pleasures offered by other women, Odysseus has always had one goal, i.e. to return to Ithaca and to his Penelope. Therefore, despite numerous alternatives offered to the hero, he has always had one goal and strong self-identification with Ithaca. However, even upon reaching the island, Odysseus had to cope with additional difficulties, as he could be neither the king nor Penelope’s husband.
The years of travelling have changed Odysseus significantly. Of course, he has always been a smart and brave warrior, but his pride was his main vice. Pride has led to his conflict with Poseidon. It has as well as triggered a number of other complications on the route home. Over the years, Odysseus has learned to calm down his emotions and hide his pride. And it is clearly seen upon his arrival to Ithaca. He dressed into beggar’s clothes. He calmly accepts the rudeness of both Melanthios and Antinoos. While being in disguise in his palace, the hero resists to a number of temptations. The reader sees that Odysseus has learned to be calm and patient in order to achieve his goals.
Not only Odysseus has changed significantly in the process of the whole story. The character of Telemachus, a son of Odyssey, presents a great example of the personal evolution starting from a little child to an adult man. He is respected by others. Although he still requires the arrival of his father to reclaim their kingdom, the changes are visible in this character. Odysseus sees that the men are coming to claim the hand of his mother. Despite the fact that Penelope’s suitors are numerous, they still respect the word of Telemachus and have some fear due to him. The same as Penelope and Odysseus are growing older and becoming more experienced, the character of their son is developing as well. And though Odysseus leaves his young wife with a little child, twenty years later he finds a young man ready to be his brother in war.
Despite the overall inequality of women and men in Homer’s work, female characters still play a significant role in The Odyssey. It is essential to note some of strong female characters, i.e. Athena. She supported Odysseus not only throughout his quest, but also upon his arrival home. The strong female characters that openly express their will in the book are those having magic powers. Not only the goddess Athena was helping and supporting Odysseus. Also, Circe has enchanted a crew of the ship and made the hero stay with her on the island. In fact, a large part of Odysseus’ life is being managed, guided or controlled by women having magical powers. Even upon the arrival home, the hero follows the advice or the guidance of Athena.
Even Penelope, that has had a seemingly simple task of sitting and waiting for her husband to return, turns out to be a significant character upon the arrival of Odysseus. She was very young when he left her waiting for him to return. Despite being seemingly powerless, Penelope was able to hold back all her suitors and invent the ways to stop them from taking over the throne. Even upon his arrival, Odysseus overhears Penelope saying that she is tired and ready to give up to all suitors. However, the one can only respect her strength and willpower as well as the devotion to her husband based only on hope.
After a 20-year absence, Odysseus returns home. Though it only becomes a part of another quest, in which he has to reclaim home, the throne and his wife. It seems like the story should have ended because the hero has reached his destination. But this part of the book shows that nothing was being still in the time of Odysseus’ journey. Coming home as a different person, Odysseus finds out that many things have changed. Actually, his son has grown into a man; and his wife has shown the significant devotion and willpower. Therefore, while fighting with new obstacles, Odysseus is doing this in new conditions, both internal and external.