Use of Disguises in Homer's Odyssey Essay

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Use of Disguises in Odyssey

The characters' use of disguises in Homer's Odyssey is a crucial element that helps to catalyze the victory of good over evil. Each disguise is unique, created for a specific purpose. Before she talks to Telemachos, Athena disguises herself as a wise old man in order to ensure that her words carry weight and are taken seriously. She knows that she must assist and encourage Telemachos into searching for his long lost father without revealing her divine nature, so she assumes the guise of Mentor because men were generally given more credibility in those days. In a similar vein, Odysseus disguises himself as a homeless man in order to exude anonymity so that he can safely return to Ithaka where he
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He is praised by Athena for his ability to quickly devise a false tale. In the Achaian world, intelligence is more highly treasured then a hard working man. Odysseus' cleverness makes him "godlike" and comparable to the immortals, and he even had opportunities to be among the immortals, as exemplified by Kalypso's offer for eternal life and youth. Despite the fact that he is cheating on his wife, an unscrupulous act, Odysseus is still regarded as a great man; glorious and honorable.

Contrast to the modern American view of evil, Odysseus' blinding of Polyphemus is not an evil act, but rather one that is praised for its cleverness. Odysseus' "nobody" trick has proved to save his life. Although his goal was to survive, Odysseus abandoned his morals of honesty to accomplish the feat. By identifying himself as "nobody", he fooled Polyphemus, but he also hid his true identity, which is lying and deceiving. He actually degraded his manhood by disguising himself mentally. Ironically, Odysseus escapes not as a manly warrior, but rather as a sheep. After leaving the cave, he wants to redeem himself and his manhood. Revealing his name to Polyphemus almost cost the crew members their lives, but the fame that Odysseus would obtain from tricking Polyphemus will be everlasting and was worthwhile to him. Showing a lack of good judgement, Odysseus again reveals his position in the water, but luckily, they do escape
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