Essay on The Enduring Loyalty, Love, and Compassion of Eumaios

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Imagine leaving your wealth, home, family, and even country behind for twenty years. While away, people will inevitably attempt to steal your possessions, seduce your spouse, and act as though you will never return. Most likely, more people will try to harm your estate than those who will continue working and behaving in an honest manner. This notion holds true in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. While Odysseus wages war and struggles to return to Ithaka , a multitude of suitors court his wife and live at the cost of his possessions. On the other hand, a few people like Eumaios remain steadfast to the truth and work to maintain Odysseus’ estate and possessions. Eumaios, Odysseus’ swineherd, embodies compassion, love, and loyalty.…show more content…
Eumaios feels the pain and hardship that Laërtês endures, as he feels that the distressed Laërtês needs instantaneous notice of his grandson’s return.
In addition to being empathetic throughout the poem, Eumaios loves those who need it most: Odysseus, Telémakhos, and the swine entrusted to him. When everyone else had finished dinner and went to bed for the evening, Eumaios “took a sharpened lance, and went to rest / under a hollow rock where swine were sleeping” (14.629-30). Homer uses this as an opportunity to show that Eumaios truly treasured his swine; instead of sleeping like the others, he ventures out into the cold to watch over the vulnerable swine. Later, when Telémakhos returns from searching for Odysseus, it is remarked that Eumaios “kissed the young man’s head, his shining eyes / and both hands, while his own tears brimmed and fell” (16.21-2). In Odysseus’ absence, Eumaios essentially assumes the paternal role in Telémakhos’ life, and Eumaios was ecstatic to see that his son had returned safely to Ithaka and avoided the murderous suitors. Another emotional scene takes place when Odysseus reveals himself to the faithful swineherd and cowherd. When Eumaios hears the news, he puts his “arms around the old soldier, weeping, / kissing his head and shoulders” (21.251-2). Eumaios beams with excitement and joy when he finds out his long-last master has finally returned;
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