'The Odyssey' as didactic literature: lessons taught to Odysseus about the nature of mankind and the way Odysseus changes after his experiences

1233 Words5 Pages
The Odysseus who leaves Troy changes into a completely different man before he arrives at his home in Ithaca. The hero endures many trials and tribulations induced by the menis of Poseidon, but learns from his mistakes and matures much through his trek. Poseidon serves as a symbol of the supernatural and the threatening. In a way, he is the abusive, but pedagogic father. It is Poseidon who keeps Odysseus in the face of danger, and it is Poseidon who keeps him suffering. Until the seventh year of Calypso, Athena does nothing and observes patiently. She is the gentle and guiding mother. She stops the father from killing the son, but lets the son gain wisdom through his suffering. It is only when the hero gains enough wisdom that she allows…show more content…
Here is what seems best to me and what I shall do. As long as the timbers hold together, I 'll stay here and take what comes. '"

The error of his way of thinking makes itself clear when Poseidon "lifted up a great wave, a terrifying and mean one, that arched high over him and struck. As a violent wind tosses up a heap of dry chaff and scatters it in every direction, so the wave scattered the timbers of the raft.... For two days and nights after that he drifted in the heavy seas, and he thought he saw his end coming many times."

After enduring the long vicious storm at sea, Odysseus finally learns that he can not accomplish things alone and to trust the gods fully. His body, half-unconscious, bloody, and naked, washes ashore in Phaeacia. "His skin swelled up all over his body, and salt water gushed in a stream from his mouth and nostrils. He lay breathless and speechless." This symbolizes his death and rebirth. The odonos gained from his journey is his development as a fetus, and his stay with Calypso is his gestation. He emerges naked and bloody in an unknown world, like a newborn child.

Once he lands on Phaeacia, Odysseus realizes that he cannot persist as a bloodthirsty warrior, but rather must heed the wisdom passed on to him by Athena and Poseidon and change his outlook of the world. He shows his appreciation to the gods by "kiss[ing] the life-giving earth." At this point of the story, Odysseus begins to fully understand the effects his actions have on those

    More about 'The Odyssey' as didactic literature: lessons taught to Odysseus about the nature of mankind and the way Odysseus changes after his experiences

      Get Access