The Complex Odyssey of Odysseus Essay

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According to both Greek and Homeric values humans should have reason, but very often they express passion, which leads to contradictory emotions and obstacles in life. Odysseus, a man with a complex life, struggles with many internal, personal contradictions that have a collective impact on his decisions throughout his existence. The most important contradictions Odysseus faces are loyalty and betrayal; humility and hubris; and wisdom and folly,
Throughout the Odyssey Odysseus faces an internal battle between loyalty and betrayal in the presence of numerous temptations. Odysseus’s first situation was with Kalypso. Although Odysseus does cheat on Penelope with Kalypso, he still remains loyal, and his love for her hardly wanes. Kalypso
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Odysseus is deceived by Kirke’s beauty and falls for her mysterious ways, but his devotion continues for Penelope. Kirke, deceiving Odysseus with her quick mind, says, “your cruel wandering is all you think of, / never of joy, after so many blows” (Homer 179). Kirke’s desire for the men and her persistence captured Odysseus’s logic, and he ends up living with her for quite awhile, but thankfully his reason comes back. Odysseus’s odyssey was so complex that even small occurrences like the sirens and the lotus plants make him reconsider his priorities and what is truly important to him and his future.
Odysseus has a sense of hubris that leads to adversity and causes him harm, he also has humility; however, the lack of balance between these emotions takes Odysseus through many tough obstacles. When Odysseus tricks Polyphemos, he does it logically, and he uses his mind and reason; however, his hubris comes out when he feels the need to expose his true identity thus leading to his difficulty to return to Ithaka and future problems. Odysseus’s men beg him to stop harassing the beast, but Odysseus has one other plan in mind when he says, “Kyklops / … Odysseus raider of cities, took your eye: / Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaka!” (Homer 160). This provoking of Polyphemos that Odysseus displays is a cause for the pain Ithaka is going though, as well as personal and direct grieving directed at Odysseus and his immediate
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