Homer’s Odyssey: The Concept Of Home Book Review Samples
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The Odyssey by Homer is considered a sequel to his other work, the Iliad. The Odyssey recounts the epic journey of Odysseus (Roman, Ulysses) following the battle of Troy. Odysseus also appears in the Iliad as one of the supporting characters; however, although considered a hero, Odysseus is more or less ordinary as compared to Achilles and other Greek mythological heroes. Odysseus is portrayed as a wise man; indeed he is perceived as such by his peers. His intelligence enabled him to stand out in the stories filled with many characters. He is notably known for planning extraordinary strategies, such as gaining access to the city of Troy with a large, hollow wooden horse. Unfortunately, after sacking the city, his journey back to his homeland took an unbelievable ten years, and the Odyssey recounts his tale as he gradually made his way home.
Although Odysseus' journey lasted twenty years altogether before getting home (ten-year Trojan War plus another ten years of trip back to home), he still had a considerately strong desire to return home. The story recounts Odysseus' patience and longing for home while displaying an act of defiance to temptations, which evidently shows his loyal nature. Driven by an immense longing for his home and his family, especially for his wife Penelope, Odysseus’s journey describes a special kind of concept of home. Thus, this paper will discuss the concept of home within the Odyssey, and how it was portrayed in the story.
Concept of Home
The story of Odysseus began after sacking the city of Troy, when all the men, including him, were making their way back to their families and their homes. By examining the work, one can infer that as hard as the war is, the nostos, or the homecoming, can be as hard, or in some cases, harder.
Nevertheless, Odysseus made it through the struggles and accomplished his goal; although it took ten years after the Trojan War, Odysseus finally got home. One interesting thing about this story is the definition of "home". The Odyssey clearly mentioned that Odysseus' desire to return home rooted back to his longing for his family, especially for Penelope, his wife.
Unfortunately, Odysseus and his men made a lot of side trips, some endangered their lives, and altogether, the journey took ten years before Odysseus return to his home and family. However, considering how many trials and temptations they had, and how long the journey was, Odysseus' determination and desire to return to his home never faded away.
One thing to appreciate about Odysseus' journey is his perseverance; he was so determined about getting back to his family and home. His journey had a lot of sidetracks; however, he stayed strong and alive not only for survival, but because he hoped to be in his home where his family is. For instance, his journey led to some dangerous adventures, such as passing the sirens, sea creatures notorious for luring individuals, especially men, with beautiful songs that are believed to be seductive; the lair of Scylla and Charybdis; and the wrath of Poseidon. Although Odysseus always made out of these dangerous events alive, he still solidly wanted to go home.
However, one flaw regarding the homecoming of Odysseus arises with the introduction of Calypso. In the Odyssey, Calypso lived in the island of Ogygia where he welcomed Odysseus who was drifting in the open see for nine days. Calypso fell in love with Odysseus and wanted him to stay as her eternal husband giving him eternal youth. Indeed, Odysseus stayed in the island for seven years unfortunately; however, with the help of Athena who made a request to Zeus to help Odysseus out of Ogygia, Odysseus may have never left the island. This part of the journey tells us that Odysseus may never have returned to his home without the help of the Gods. There are two possibilities from this part of the journey: (1) Calypso imprisoned Odysseus and (2) Odysseus' desire to return to home faded little by little. Either way, the two scenarios suggest that Odysseus could not have left the island without help. Hence, Athena's request to Zeus was what Odysseus really needed.
Back to Ithaca, Odysseus' homeland, his family, especially Penelope, was still waiting for him even when there was no clue whether Odysseus was still alive or not. Furthermore, Penelope declined all the offers of her suitors suggesting that the family, therefore Odysseus' home, wanted to stay strong and loyal. In the end, Odysseus made his way home even after all the struggles, temptations and dangerous paths he had to go through.
In conclusion, Homer’s Odyssey portrays a unique concept of home. The definition of “home” in this epic refers not to a specific geographical place, but the Odyssey tells us that the home is the place of individuals you value most. The journey of Odysseus epitomizes perseverance, determination and loyalty. Furthermore, Homer’s Odyssey tells us that the most valuable event at the end of the day is returning back to home.
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