The Odyssey; Immortality

1271 WordsAug 13, 20136 Pages
The Odyssey of Homer is filled with various adventures, sought-after revenge, and harmful temptations. The war hero, Odysseus, traveled for three years, always trying to achieve his homecoming. In Odysseus’ fourth year, Zeus destroyed his ship, as well as his companions, while they were out at sea. After these losses, Odysseus alone was washed up onto the island of a nymph, Kalypso. She took him into her palace and came to love him. After time, she desired to make Odysseus her husband, offering to make him immortal as well. Yet, Odysseus declines her offer of immortality. After years of fighting in battle, then years of suffering following the war, his noble rejection seems remarkable. Homer’s readers are forced to wonder, why does…show more content…
He later discovers that his mother, Antikleia, has passed away, due to mourning him, however, his father still lives. Laertes lives away from the city, sorrowful for his missing son. When Odysseus encounters Antikelia’s ghost in the underworld, he says to his mother, “Tell me about the wife I married, what she wants, what she is thinking” (Book 11, lines 176-177). In this passage it is clear that Odysseus still loves and cares for his beloved Penelope. Accepting Kalypso’s offer would forsake Penelope, while also abandoning Telemachos, and Laertes. His family needs Odysseus, and he also needs them. Without family, Odysseus’ life is incomplete and his identity is lost. Without his father, Odysseus would not have the courage he possesses. Without Telemachos and Penelope, he would not know familial love. He rejects the offer of immortality so that one day he may return to and be united with his family again. His longing for the reunion with them, which would allow him to regain his identity, is what motivates him to deny Kalypso’s offer. Finally, Kalypso’s offer of immortality eliminates Odysseus’ identity as a warrior. Odysseus encompasses the traits of a warrior, but on the island he is incapable of exhibiting them. There are no dangers, no wars, and no people on the island. He is unable to exercise the virtues of courage and chivalry, because there is never an instance when he needs those virtues. Rather, “His eyes were never wiped
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