The Change of Odysseus Essay
‘Homer’s Odyssey’ is a captivating and thematic story that portrays many themes such as seduction, cunningness, and change. Throughout the story, the book clearly brings out the theme of change in character and encounters the experiences of Odyssey himself especially. However, the subject of change requires a lot of insight and proper understanding of the story since it is not entirely exposed by Homer to the reader as other topics such as storytelling and seduction among many other outstanding ideas. The development of the moral picture of Odysseus is extremely significant and coherent to the narrative. The story portrays changes in the character and experiences of Odyssey and Odysseus and helps Homer to build further on other themes including cunningness and seduction. This essay, therefore, identifies the events in Homer’s Odyssey that support the idea of change and provides a thorough discussion concerning how Homer brings out this theme in the story.
First and foremost, the events surrounding the marriage of Penelope significantly illustrate the theme of change. Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, promotes the idea of change by secretly undoing the cover that she alleged to be weaving for her father-in-law, Laertes. The removal of the cover from the garment was converse the reality. The suitors accused her of fooling them by deeply involving in working on her great web most of the day but she would remove the stitches using a torch by night time, (Homer 12). Before the suitors, Penelope pretends to be busy weaving the shroud and promises to marry one of the suitors when she finishes making the burial shroud. She claimed that the death of Ulysses was an important and respectful event in her life by marrying immediately would not only be a show of lacking respect but a trigger for the critic in the palace, (Homer 12). Penelope’s decision to decide to get married at her old age and call in suitors changed when she remained clinging to the hope that her husband Odysseus will return and have a fateful experience with him. Furthermore, the events regarding the marriage of Penelope took a grave turn with the return of Odysseus thus promoting the theme of change much further. When he returned from Isle, Odysseus created a plan on how to slay all the suitors who had camped in his palace for years hoping for Penelope’s accept their bids for marriage. Homer explains that Ulysses, who had hidden his identity from the suitors, shot them one after another for as long as his arrows lasted, (Homer 180-181). In addition, he slew all the maidens who were loyal to the suitors. The suitors’ peaceful stay in the palace that was full of fun, entertainment, and laughter suddenly changed to death.
Another event that illustrates the theme of change in this narrative is when Odyssey is freed from captivity with the help of Athene. Mostly, life in captivity in a foreign land is extremely difficult. The captives are denied food, humiliated physically, enslaved, and others killed. The prisoners spend their lifetime in enclosed holding areas, and some might forget the right color of sunlight. Odyssey was a victim of captivity and endured all these atrocities for twenty years, especially when he spent ten years fighting in the Trojan War, (Homer 47). However, when Odyssey was freed by Athene, his life changed immediately. His freedom changed him into a respectful person such that he straight away began to mingle with royal and prominent figures of the society. His encounter with Nausicaa, the princess of Phaeacians, also transformed her from a stranger and a homeless person to a recognizable man. Nausicaa was impressed by Ulysses’s sensible sayings and knowledge and pledged to lead him to the town, undoubtedly the palace of King Alcinous to meet the King, (Homer 50).
Furthermore, Homer uses the disguise of Odysseus as Ulysses to bring out the theme of change in the story. After returning home, Ulysses is transformed into a miserable beggar to hide his identity so that the suitors do not recognize him because the return would end their hopes of marrying Penelope. Immediately after that, Ulysses entered and resembled a poor despondent aged beggar, supporting himself on his staff and with his garments all in rags, (Homer 143). The change of identity from a reputable king of the Ithaca palace to a miserable beggar was simply to ambush the suitors and slay them one by one. Telemachus ordered Eumaeus to instruct Ulysses to change his real identity into a beggar by giving him a piece of bread and pieces of meat to hold in his palms as beggars do. Telemachus picked a loaf of bread from the basket and handed it to Eumaeus, instructing him to give it to Ulysses and advise him to move around the suitors with the confidence of a beggar and beg from them, (Homer 143).
Lastly, Homer portrays the theme of change when Ulysses transform alongside his crew from reality into a mystery world, the underworld. Ulysses loses his physical life and then assumes a spiritual life in the mystery world. After the change in humanity, Hermes and Ulysses lose hold of their rationality, which is the utmost human faculty. They apply the magic oil, the wild garlic to get rid of Circe’s witchcraft. Ulysses gets the chance to mingle with the deceased Greek colleagues that fought alongside him in the Trojan War. Homer uses the power of magic to support the theme of change by showing us how Ulysses and Circe transform from real people and embark on the journey to the underworld.
Homer. The Odyssey of Homer. S.l.: Emereo Publishing, 2010. Print.