Book Reports / Odyssey


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Autor:  anton  22 November 2010
Tags:  Odyssey
Words: 743   |   Pages: 3
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I found through my reading of the Odyssey that Loyalty played a significant role in its development. Loyalty by its definition means a firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. Homer presents four major illustrations of loyalty, which are given by Penelope, Telemachus, the servants Eumaeus and Philoetius, and Odysseus. Penelope is Odysseus’s devoted wife who not only does not re-marry, but also keeps hope that Odysseus is still alive. Telemachus embarks on a journey to find his father, who he has no recollection of. Eumaeus, the swineherd and Philoetius, the cowherd remained faithful servants of Odysseus even during his epic journey. Odysseus himself stayed true to the gods, who managed to keep him alive.

Penelope is probably the best representative of loyalty in this epic novel. Penelope is a faithful wife, who waits twenty years without ever allowing she to marry one of the many suitors. There eventually did come a time when Penelope told the suitors she would marry once she finished Odysseus’s father’s shroud, yet she says, “ By day I’d weave at my great and growing web-by night, by the night of the torches set beside me, I would unravel all I’d done” (Book XIX, p 431, 167). The fact that she intentionally used trickery to distract the suitors shows her loyalty to her husband. By showing, her commitment to her long lost love, Homer created Penelope to look like an undoubtedly loyal character.

The second most outstanding presentation of loyalty in this novel was one of father and son. Telemachus, Odysseus only sun, shows his loyalty by going on a journey to an unfamiliar land to find his fathers destiny. Only knowing his fathers legacy and greatness as a leader, does not distraught Telemachus, it only pushes him harder to find his fathers true fate. Other sons might have forgotten about their father, and simply blocked them out of their minds. Nevertheless, Telemachus remained a loyal son and struggled to gain the unique father and son bond, which has not been a part of him.

Another significant example of loyalty in the novel is the one of the servant and master. Eumaeus and Philoetius showed their authentic care for the master that has been long gone in the sea of deep agony. Eumaeus spoke very highly of his king’s return home, “Now bring my prayer to pass! Let that man come back-some god guide him now” (Book XXI, 267). When both servants realized the identity of the beggar, Odysseus, both men broke down into tears and their arms around their old master’. This, and the fact that both men risked their lives in the slaughtering of the suitors, shows their true devotion and loyalty to their master.

The last act of loyalty is given by the most dynamic and influential character in the book, Odysseus. He believed that the world was watched over by Zeus and other Olympian gods, including Athena. These gods not only watched the world but also controlled the fate of the people that liven on it as well. Many mortals face troubles with obeying the gods, and therefore are faced with many misfortunes. Odysseus was not like the ordinary man who fell for the temptations of evil. Not once did Odysseus himself disobey the orders of a god. The ability to be so disciplined proved that he had a true feeling of loyalty to the gods who predetermine his future. This loyalty in the end enabled home to successfully return to his home in Ithaca.

Homer was able to capture the true fundamental nature of loyalty, by presenting it with many different faces. With Penelope, the establishment of loyalty was created in means of true love. She is shown as the loyal wife who stayed faithful and true to her husband, who was abandoned from home for many years. Telemachus, presented yet another identity of loyalty. He showed how a son went in a search of a father, whom he never knew yet he was still devoted to him. Eumaeus and Philoetius illustrated the loyalty of servitude. Odysseus was able to conquer obstacles in his way of returning home, by a strong sense of respect and devotion to the gods. The way each character projects their faithfulness is different, but they all show a high sense of loyalty. By the four main people remaining loyal to their duties in life, allowed Odysseus, a man of weathered journey, to return home.

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