Examples Of Epiphany In The Odyssey

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Few people are so lucky as to have a life changing revelation that allows them to self correct and obtain a deeper view of himself. However, this is exactly what happens to Odysseus, in The Odyssey. In The Odyssey by Robert Fitzgerald, Odysseus’s epiphany yields him a new perspective, allowing him to beat the odds and reach Ithaka. It is only by looking through a new lens that Odysseus is able to grasp his faults and overcome his arrogance driven recklessness.
Before his epiphany, Odysseus has tunnel vision, only focusing on the present, with little concern for the consequences of his actions, as shown by his behavior before his moment of clairvoyance. Early in his journey, Odysseus, ever the braggart, comes into contact with a Kyklops, whom
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Teiresias explains his lesson to Odysseus: As Fitzgerald writes, “But anguish lies ahead; the god who thunders on the land prepares it, not to be shaken from your track, implacable, in rancor for the son whose eye you blinded. One narrow strait may take you through his blows: denial of yourself, restraint of shipmates” (Fitzgerald 188). It is here that Odysseus discovers the error of his ways, and sees the scene from a different standpoint. He finally learns that it was his stabbing of Polyphemos that has angered the gods, who in turn have kept him from his home. Odysseus must, then, extrapolate that his arrogance in shouting his name to Polyphemos has cursed him and crew, causing him to not see his family for twenty years, and ensuring much worse fate for his crew. If it wasn’t clear then, Teiresias lays it out for him, denial of yourself, [Odysseus] and restraint of his shipmates, who also let their overconfidence get the better of them, such as on Ismaros, is the only way to make it home and atone for his past actions. Teiresias’ words cause Odysseus to step back, and momentarily be freed from his righteousness and hubris, giving him the opportunity to understand his flaws from an uninhibited perspective. The pace of his life and adventures clouded his vision, and his emotion and ego further blinded him to his faults, but being presented with responsibility for his situation and a new perspective to analyze himself from opens his eyes to what he must do. This lesson is an enormous turning point for Odysseus, it is his revelation, and his chance to correct his
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