Loyalty and Friendship in Odyssey

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Being alone is never a desirable feeling, Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light (Helen Keller).

Friends by your side can bring you to accomplish many great things in life and Odysseus, an eminent king in The Odyssey knows this no less. The Odyssey is an Ancient Greek epic composed by a blind poet by the name of Homer about the journey home of a renowned king whom has been absent for two decades at his throne: Odysseus, returning to his native land of Ithaca several kilometers by ship from the emasculative hardships of the Trojan War. While most definitely a quite unfavorable trek to undertake alone, alongside him are his loyal crewmen every hardship and tribulation of the journey to their beloved homeland. Odysseus, the renowned sovereign of Ithaca himself according to the epic was inherently unimpressed by his crewmates often insubordinate nature and overall poor sense of judgement, but then the question simply arises, were Odysseus' men as mutinous as he gives them the impression of being, or was the influential king of Ithaca fallacious on his evaluation of his crew's performance? Despite their frequent defiance of orders throughout the story as referenced in several instances, Odysseus' men still maintain their grave loyalty to their noble king on their own unsuccessful journey home.

In order to grasp a well documented understanding of the curious nature of Odysseus' squadron, it can be essentially verified by their actions throughout various events throughout the story that they were all frequently subjected on several different occasions to sacrificing their very own lives simply because of the demands required to fulfill Odysseus' cleverly crafted commands. Book 9 has a significant representation of these instances: the ruthless brute. Lurching up, he lunged out with his hands toward my men and snatching two at once, rapping them on the ground he knocked them dead like pups their brains gushed out all over, soaked the floor and ripping them limb from limb to fix his meal he bolted them down like a mountain-lion, left no scrap, devoured entrails, flesh and bones, marrow and all! (Homer 145) This sinisterly visual event in the story provides a substantial perspective of merely one occasion of the fatal duties Odysseus' men had to accept as a soldier under his command, staying loyal only to his word in spite of their own lives at stake.

However, in retrospect, Odysseus' crewmen were additionally responsible for suspending their chance at arriving home after years at sea, essentially ruining their one chance at returning to Ithaca alive. Book 10 of the Greek epic states this tragic instance clearly: 'Hurry, let's see what loot is in that sack, how much gold and silver. Break it open now!' A fatal plan, but it won my shipmates over. They loosed the sack and all the winds burst out and a sudden squall struck and swept us back to sea, wailing, in tears, far from our own native land. (Homer 157) This event in the story has the purpose of representing the lust for riches and greed that Odysseus' men decided to allow best them over the superior commands of their king, weaving their own fate in the end by essentially not allowing themselves to return home with their noble sovereign of their native land.

Additionally, Odysseus' men determined their own fate on Helios' island housing his godly pride of cattle, which they were absolutely intent on hunting for food despite the warning commands of Odysseus of the deadly wrath of the gods that would inevitably follow after such a deed. Book 12 of the story represents this event, also occurring during the slumber of Odysseus':it states: Helios burst out in rage to all the immortals: Father Zeus! the rest of you blissful gods who never die punish them all, that crew of Laertes' son Odysseus' what an outrage! They, they killed my cattle, This action taken by Odysseus' men caused their own fate because with Helios' prideful cattle murdered, the sun god pleaded for vengeance causing Zeus to strike their vessel with a mighty lightning bolt tearing it to shreds and killing everyone on board other than Odysseus, forever ruining their chance at returning to Ithaca.

With our perspective on the story's various events involving Odysseus' men, it can be fairly judicious to conclude that his men were equally mutinous as they were loyal to his command. So despite the harsh criticism Odysseus invests in his crewmen, the journey home without them would not have been possible without his crew whether or not his men were insubordinate to various commands. It essentially goes to show the most impressive things in life aren't accomplished alone, rather, by the cooperation and determination of a group.

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Loyalty And Friendship In Odyssey. (2019, Apr 01). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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