The Odyssey

The Odyssey, written by Homer, is the story of Odysseus and how
he faced misfortune in his attempts to return home after the Trojan
war. From these misfortunes he learned to be a better man and became
able to regain his place in his homeland of Ithaca.

During his journeys Odysseus often makes the mistake of staying
to boast to his enemies but learns that doing so gives his opposition
a chance to seek retribution against him. After leaving Troy Odysseus
attacks the land of the Cicones. Instead of leaving after his victory,
he stays to celebrate until a force is rallied against him and he must
flee with many casualties. Afterwards Odysseus and his crew land on
the island of the Cyclops. They are attacked and some are eaten by

Polyphemus. After intoxicating the great Cyclops, Odysseus and his
men blind the monster with a heated spear. The men could have made an
escape without incident but Odysseus mocked Polyphemus and shouted out
his real name, when before Odysseus had told him that his name was

"Noman." With this new information Polyphemus prays to his father

Poseidon to have Odysseus and his men punished. Having angered

Poseidon, they must wander throughout the sea slowly dying one by one.

Odysseus learns that bragging can have ill effects and uses this
knowledge on the island of the Phaecians and Ithaca when he does not
openly boast of his deeds and his journeys.

Odysseus also learns to pay close attention to the instructions
of the gods, or he might have to face a terrible price. When Odysseus
and his crew landed at the island of Aeolus, they were given a parting
gift that would have helped them greatly if they had paid heed to the
warnings of Aeolus. He gave Odysseus a bag full of the bad winds that
would keep them from their home of Ithaca. Odysseus and his crew were
in sight of the homeland they had waited so long to see, when a band
of rebel crewmen opened the bag creating a great gale that blew them
back to Aeolus. When Aeolus saw this he believed that Odysseus was
cursed and banished him from the island. This is not the only time

Odysseus was betrayed by his men and suffered a great price. When
they landed on the island of Hyperion, bad winds prevented them from
leaving. Food soon became low; and when Odysseus fell asleep, the
crew killed the cows of Hyperion against numerous warnings. Hyperion
was infuriated to see this and had all of Odysseus\' men killed in a
great storm. Odysseus learns that the gods must be respected in order
for any man to succeed.

During his journey Odysseus uses what he has learned from his
mistakes to return home and kill the suitors. On the island of the

Cicones, and with his encounter with Polyphemus, Odysseus learns that
bragging can bring damaging circumstances. On Ithaca Odysseus never
brags to the suitors and is able to enter his house without the
suitors knowing his real identity. He takes the punishment of

Antinous and the other suitors without saying a word and is able to
observe those who have invaded his house. Odysseus is able to see who
is loyal and who is not and take his revenge with the suitors never
knowing who he was until the final moment. Odysseus also learns to
respect the gods. When he landed on Aeaea, the island of Circe, he
follows the instructions given to him by Hermes so that he can
overcome Circe and free his men. Odysseus follows the instructions
that Circe had given him very closely; entering and leaving Hades
without misfortune and using wax in the ears of his crew to pass the

Sirens. Odysseus becomes a better man through his journeys and is
able to return to his homeland to restore his name.

Throughout his wanderings for home, Odysseus becomes a humbler
and more respectful man. The once boastful man learns that his
bragging can bring people against him, and is quieter than before he
left for Troy. He also learns that the immortal gods of Olympus can
be merciful and bring great prosperity, but they also punish those
that disobey their wishes. Everytime Odysseus has not been respectful
he has been severely punished and his trip home delayed. Out of this
great tragedy he has become a greater man to regain his kingdom and
live a long life.