Odyssey The Odyssey is an epic poem, which shows the maturation of Odysseus throughout his long journey home from the war at Troy. Odysseus grows from an arrogant, self-centered warrior to a more humble man. This mental odyssey is seen as the young Odysseus matures, learns values of and respect for nature and higher power to return home to Ithaka as a more humble and honorable man. The first side of Odysseus seen in this poem is the young arrogant Odysseus. After the Trojan war Odysseus shows no thanks to the god Poseidon. Offending the god did not make an easy voyage home.
Odysseus and his men eventually end up at the island of the Kyklopes. They go in cave that belongs to Kyklopes and take what they need. When Kyklopes catches them, Odysseus give him wine in hopes that he will pass out. Then Odysseus tells the Cyclopes that his name is “Nohbdy”. While Cyclopes is unconscious on the ground Odysseus stabs him in the eye and runs to the ship with his men.
The Cyclopes tries to get help from his brothers but he is not successful because he yells, “Nohbdy has hurt me!” Odysseus shows his hubris after he has safely left the shores by saying, “Puny, am I, in a Cavemans hands? How so you like the beating that we gave you, you damn cannibal?” (Ody IX 520) Since the Cyclopes is Poseidons son and Odysseus shows hubris about hurting him, Poseidon hate for Odysseus grows. This provokes Poseidon to not let Odysseus and his crew from returning home at all. Odysseus then, begins to learn that hubris only gets him disliked by the gods even more when his companions dies from Poseidons curse. Odysseus begins to mature to be more humble and thankful for the leadership and luck that the gods have given him, after he realizes why he lost his companions. When he arrives at an unknown island he meets the god of the wind. The god seems to like Odysseus and helps him by giving him a bag of wind that is not to be opened until he and his men have reached their home, Ithaka.
Odysseus shows that he is maturing by listening to the god. He also shows that he is maturing by taking it upon himself to take care of the wind the whole voyage home. “I had worked the sheet nine days alone, and give it to no one, wishing to spill no wind on the homeward run,”(Ody X 36). On the ninth day, the shore of Ithaka could be seen, Odysseus thinks he is safe and sleeps until he is waken up by the screaming of the wind that his men had released from the bag. Odysseus and his ship are blow back to the island where Father Aiolos refuses to help him.
Odysseus sails away to the island of Aiaia. After many adventures with Kirke and Odysseus men, Kirke promises to keep Odysseus for harm by telling him with path to take on the way home. Then Kirke adds that he must prevent the men from eating the cattle on the island called the sun. This time his men show hubris by eating the cattle that they were warned not to eat. The next day when they leave the island, Zeus strike the ship with a lightning bolt.
All of Odysseus’ men die and he is forced to swim days to the island of Alkinoos. Throughout this journey Odysseus hubris slowly wears away to completely. This is show when he says, ” O hear me, lord of the stream: how sorely I depend upon your mercy! Derelict as I am by the seas anger.. Here is your servant; lord, have mercy on me,” (Ody V 467) Finally when Odysseus returns home he is changed to be more humble and has learned many lessons along his journey home. The change in Odysseus is seen when he returns home and the disguised Athena asks him who he is. Odysseus lies to her; instead of bragging about whom he is. Odysseus also shows he has changed when he finds out that the suitors have taken over his house.
He knows he must kill them, but does it with different values than he had in the beginning of the story. Instead of killing the suitors quickly and aggressively like he might have before he is calm and interested because he does not find enjoyment in killing any more. The change is even seen by Athena, Odysseus mentor and protector, when she says, “Where is your valor, where is the iron hand that fought at Troy for Helen, pearl of kings, no respite and nine years of war?.. How is it now that on your own door sill, before the harriers of your wife, you curse your luck not to be stronger?”(Ody XXII 250). In the epic poem, The Odyssey Odysseus changes and matures from an arrogant young man to a man with better values and greater sense humbleness.
The epic poem The Odyssey is also a mental odyssey through which Odysseus matures to a more honorable man once he reaches the shores of his homeland, Ithaka.