The Odessey is a tale that has changed literature and storytelling. In this tale Odysseus is a Soldier from the battle of Troy trying to get home to his island of Ithaca, where he is king. His wife and son must wait ten years while he is trying to make his way home. In Odysseus’s absence wooer’s, or better known as suitors, learn of his absence and travel to Ithaca to win his wife’s hand in marriage. These men come every day feasting on Odysseus’s food and wine, and give his servant’s orders. His son Telemachus, does his best to keep the suitors from ruining his fathers house but he is only a boy, and doesn’t receive the respect of an adult. Telemachus then has a visit from the god Athena, whom Odysseus is friends with, who advises him to travel to find out about his father. In his travels he hears that Odysseus may still be alive. Meanwhile Odysseus goes through a series of adventures and hardships that prove his wisdom. It is interesting in contrast of the Iliad, even though Achilles was much stronger and a better warrior, Odysseus was portrayed as a greater hero due to his wisdom. He uses this wisdom to escape from the Cyclops.
On the Cyclops’s island Odysseus and his men are trapped and eaten as food by a giant with only one eye. Odysseus commands his men to take an olive tree and carve a large stake from it. Then Odysseus gives the Cyclops all of their wine in order to get him drunk. After the Cyclops falls asleep they stab the steak into his one large eye, thus blinding him. Now with the Cyclops blind Odysseus and his men cling to the bottom of sheep to avoid the Cyclops and escape. Even though the cyclops checks everything leaving his cave he doesn’t find the men holding to the bottom of the sheep.
This tale coincides with the times in Greece. This was a time that art and Philosophy were extremely important and respected by the people. Odysseus was a new type of hero that didn’t win by overpowering his opponents, but by using his mind to outwit them. Manners also seemed to play an important role to Odysseus, as he was learned to be polite and generous to strangers and in the end punished those who weren’t.
Odysseus, like most of his fellow soldiers, is a rather arrogant greedy person at the beginning of the poem, and brings much sorrow on himself by his actions. Yet the gods are no better than he is and their punishment of Odysseus and his crew has more to do with the impulses of the Olympians than the sins of the mortals. Athena herself would not help Odysseus while he was sailing, for she did not want to go against her brother, Poseidon’s wishes. Poseidon was upset that he had blinded the Cyclops since that was his son. As the god of the sea he made it as hard as possible for Odysseus to make it home. Poseidon, however, disregards the fact that his son was using Odysseus and his men as food, and would naturally do anything to escape.