Kleos in The Odyssey by Homer

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CONCEPT OF KLEOS IN THE ODYSSEY

Heroic glory occupies a very crucial place in the Indo-European epic tradition, because the Greek society is a shame culture, in which being honoured is one of the primary purposes of people 's lives. Hence, the concept of kleos formed an essential part of the bardic tradition which helped the people to maintain the heroic stature of the mythical heroes from generation to generation. This is why, it has got an important place in the Greek epics also. In The Odyssey by Homer also, we find indirect references to the kleos of the eponymous hero Oddyseus and his son Telemachus. In the words of Nagy, “Kleos is the formal word which the singer himself used to designate the songs which he sang in praises
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This is in stark contrast of heroic nature, when the hero proudly wishes to hear the songs of his glory from others. The importance that the Greeks assign to Kleos is evident in the speech of Penelope addressing Odysseus when he is disguised as a beggar when she says that her name would be embellished and enhanced if her husband would return, still devoted to her. Penelope’s concern about her kleos shows the significance it holds for her in the shame culture that she’s a part of. However, in one instance, the concept of Kleos is depicted in a different light. It has been portrayed as something futile and irrelevant when contrasted with the value for life. This is when, in book 11, The book of the dead, Homer provides us with the viewpoint of Achilles, a great Greek warrior, who lost his life in the Trojan war. Here, Achilles clearly states that he would rather work the soil as a serf on hire to some landless impoverished peasant than be the King of all the lifeless dead. This is suggestive of the fact that dying a glorified death gets reduced to an act of sheer foolishness when the importance of life dawns upon the one who actually dies. In this case, we get to know a dead warrior 's take on the futility of glory after
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