Essay on Homer's Odyssey: Exploring Our Social Roots

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The Odyssey: Exploring Our Social Roots

In modern western society we are a people taught from very young that good manners and strong morality are necessity. The idea that the good will prosper and the bad will get what they deserve is widely accepted and applauded. However, these ideas about the social rules of "modern civil man" are not so novel. This same system of social behavior and belief is exhibited throughout the epic poem, The Odyssey. In this epic we find the roots of our contemporary social actions and convictions importantly displayed.

All through this epic there are many examples to distinguish those civilized, who abided by social customs, and those who did not. One of the primary forms of
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The time worn battle of good versus evil has spanned our human history. The presupposed idea that good will eventually overcome in the end is assumed by almost all people and is demonstrated frequently through this epic, and the display of this notion still gives one a sense of security in their morals as it did many years ago. Particularly, Odysseus' entire struggle exemplifies this very principle. "The Odyssey... unabashedly exhibits the triumph of life over death in terms of good over evil: quite simply, it suggests that Odysseus vindicated justice so strikingly that his name will never die." (Dimock 25)

Deep exploration into Odysseus' character is unnecessary to discover what made this man so just that his good triumphs even in our present culture. His morality is presented and contrasted so frequently and skillfully as to insinuate to this theme throughout one's reading. The first instance one may indicate is how Odysseus is spoken of and the chaos in his home with his absence. This impression of his moral fiber is brought to ones attention immediately as he is spoken highly of and compared to his shipmate's whose "own recklessness destroyed them all" (Lawall, Fitzgerald 209) in the invocation to the Muse. Throughout the epic, Odysseus is referred of as the wise, the noble, quick-witted, tactful and countless other positive attributes by all acquainted with him and even by Homer.

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