Light and Darkness in The Odyssey

827 Words3 Pages
The Odyssey may be a story of a heroic adventure, but it has a deeper underlying theme: light vs. dark. Odysseus himself expresses these qualities through out the epic, and affects the people around him in many ways. The epic poem The Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald is the journey on a hero after the Trojan War and about the troubles his family has back on his homeland on Ithaca. Even though the story follows the basic hero cycle, so to speak, I believe the true theme is the struggle of light and darkness. The characters go through dramatic changes that bring out their “light” and “dark” sides, which change the fate of everyone in the story. Odysseus, our hero may not be as gratifying as he seems. He is a hero of the Trojan War, king of Ithaca and generally loved by everyone. He is welcomed at nearly everyone’s households through out his journey and is a respectful guest and host. However we see Odysseus’ darker side come out when he punishes his maids, he tells Telemakhos to, “ take them outside, these women, between the roundhouse and the palisade, and hack them with your swordblades till you cut the life out of them”(Fitzgerald 423). Odysseus was being a little extreme when he ordered the execution of women who where probably afraid of the suitors and would do anything to stay alive. Also, even though Odysseus is a very clever man, his darker more boastful side comes into play on Polyphemus’ island. He has clever plan of tricking the Cyclops, he tells
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