Safety and Security in Odysseus

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Odysseus displays the theme of testing in The Odyssey when he returns to Ithaca because testing is an aspect of life. When Odysseus arrives, he does not feel safe in this “new” land. In order to feel secure, he goes to Eumaeus’ home to test him for his loyalty. This allows Odysseus to find out information about the palace. At the palace, Penelope tests the beggar Odysseus because of her uncertainty about him. Penelope finds out the truth, causing her not to worry and to feel secure in her home again. Odysseus is tested by and tests the people around him, conveying the idea that people test others in order to obtain information to provide a sense of security for themselves. For Odysseus to feel safe and secure again in his homeland, he tests the local swineherd Eumaeus for his loyalty in order to get information about the palace. Odysseus does not know much about the palace. To get information, he tests Eumaeus for his loyalty by seeing his reaction to his prayer to the gods. “May Zeus. . . give you your heart’s desire for the royal welcome you have shown me here!” (303) Eumaeus says it is his duty to welcome Odysseus because of his loyalty to the King. This makes Odysseus feel secure around him. After being welcomed, Odysseus tests Eumaeus about the palace by asking him who the king is. “[W]ho was the man who bought you. . . [w]hat’s his name?” (305) By asking Eumaeus this, Odysseus is able to acquire information about the suitors and Penelope. He needs to feel secure

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