Resolution of Final Conflict Between Odysseus and the Suitor’s Families
Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey describes Odysseus as a ‘complicated man.’ In the context of the epic, Odysseus’ reflection as a complicated man entails his cunningness, his epic wanderings, what he went through and what he inflicted on his quest to regain his status and property. After Odysseus and his men had plundered the holy city of Troy, inflicting pain and suffering, they wandered at sea where all perished except him. In addition, the introductory passage of Wilson’s translation alerts the reader of the cost of Odysseus’ homecoming.
During Odysseus’ homecoming, Odysseus, his son, Telemachus, and Athena disguised as aloyal servant killedPenelope’s suitors and a dozen female slaves in the castle. The most influential suitors killed were Antinous, Eurymachus, and Amphinomus. After the ordeal, Odysseus and Telemachus traveled to the outskirts of Ithaca to visit Laertes, Odysseus’ father, while news spread of the massacre. The folks of the slain suitors held a meeting as they assessed their options of revenge. Athena, disguised as a mentor, urges the parents to drop the matter since the suitorswere at fault regarding their deaths (Gabrielson, 2018). Antinous’s father seething with anger, encourages the parents to seek revenge on Odysseus. Odysseus, Telemachus, and Laertes get ready for the battle backed by Athena, who advises them to invoke the name of Zeus and Athena while fighting. Antinous’s father is the first to be struck down before Athena intervenes again as a mentor. Athena instructs Odysseus to make peace with the parents,who then recognize Odysseus as king; thus, peace is restored.
The resolution only favors Odysseus. Wilson’s introductory paragraph depicts the cost of Odysseus’ homecoming that rhymes with the suitor’s massacre. Odysseus is responsible for the death of two generations of sons of Ithaca, the shipwrecked soldiers, and the slain suitors. Odysseus gets away with all these wrongdoings since the gods favor him. The resolution is not satisfying to the rest of the Ithaca population. This reflects my sentiments sinceOdysseus being a king, ought to have taken some responsibility in both situations instead of acting rashly; thus, these flaws detract from his epic glory.
Is Odysseus a True Epic Hero?
An epic hero refers to a man who uses his extraordinary abilities to achieve grand things in his adventure. An epic hero possesses characteristics such as superhuman abilities in courage and strength, is a great warrior, and often is associated with good deeds to his fellow countrymen. Odysseus is not an epic hero as he does not possess these qualities and is frequently helped by the goddess Athena in achieving success. There are several instances where Athena comes to Odysseus’ aid, such as his success shooting an arrow through several rings and the ensuing battle with the suitors. An epic hero is regarded as a fearsome warrior in conflict; however, Odysseus is aided by Athena in claiming victory against the suitors who outnumbered him (Christensen, 2020). Odysseus is credited with the win against the suitors, though without Athena’s help, his chances of success were minimal.
In another instance, Athena’s help was the focal point in averting a battle between the parents of the suitors and Odysseus. The goddess Athena came to his aid, resolving the conflict and maintaining peace. These actions highlight that Odysseus was not an epic hero since all heroes performed significant tasks themselves through bravery in battle and courage against adversaries. Besides, Odysseus does not demonstrate humility and is self-centered regarding the interests of his people. He is cold-hearted as he kills all the suitors without a trial to judge the guilty parties. Odysseus also lacks empathy for the parents. He fights them rather than taking responsibility for his reckless actions. Nonetheless, Odysseus also shows characteristics of an epic hero through his vast travels seeking adventure and his courage and resilience on the journey from Troy to Ithaca, where he killed monsters such as Cyclops Polyphemus and defeated withes such as Circes. Conversely, the vast influence of the gods on his successes detracts from his epic glory.
Christensen, J. (2020). The Many-Minded Man: The” Odyssey,” Psychology, and the Therapy of Epic. Cornell University Press.
Gabrielson, M. (2018). Homer, Emily Wilson, trans., The Odyssey, New York: WW Norton & Company, Inc., 2018. Pp. 592. Cloth (ISBN 978-0-393-08905-9) $39.95. New England Classical Journal, 45(2), 114-116.