External Conflicts In Odysseus In Homer's Odyssey

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Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the ancient greeks believed in several gods and goddesses, as well as heroes and beasts that are recorded in poetry. In a renowned collection of epic poems that brings these age-old characters to life, Homer’s “Odyssey”, we learn about the protagonist, the king of Ithaca, and his eventful return to his home and family. On his homeward journey, this king, Odysseus, faced many obstacles but, with his intelligence, loyalty, and strength, he was able to overcome every barrier, from angry gods to mutinous friends. One of several external conflicts in the Epic that Odysseus faces is his interaction with one of the story’s antagonists, the cyclops, Polyphemus. While guests in Odysseus’ were supposed to…show more content…
This conflict was both internal and external in nature, because Odysseus was physically trapped on the island but he was internally conflicted between longing for his wife and accepting his stay with Calypso. This conflict was technically resolved by the gods- “Now she begs her father, Zeus, to help her favorite mortal, and Zeus agrees. He sends the messenger god Hermes to Calypso’s island to order Odysseus released.”(Holt, 912)- but if it were not for his loyalty to his home, Athena’s efforts would have been futile. His wish for home caused his release to be effective, as he actually had reason to finish his original journey. “Yet, it is true, each day I long for the sight of home”(Homer, 117-118), he tells Calypso. She responds to his confession by allowing him to leave, as Zeus wished. Odysseus builds a raft and enters Poseidon’s watery domain again. After being trapped by the beautiful nymph for so long, it is a testament to Odysseus’ loyalty to his wife and to Ithaca that he did not succumb to her…show more content…
The first time this happened was on Ismaros, when his men refused to leave- “On the spot I told them: ‘back, and quickly! Out to sea again! My men were mutinous, fools, on stores of wine. Sheep after sheep they butchered by the surf, and shambling cattle, feasting- while fugitives went inland, running to call to arms the main force of Cicones.”(Homer, 155-160) Only thanks to the strength of his army were they able to decimate the Cicone soldiers and escape, albeit with their numbers drastically reduced. The men likely would not have held their beach, had Odysseus been a weaker leader. The second time Odysseus’ men interfered with his return home was on the island of the sun god. Though Odysseus cautioned his men against touching Helios’ cattle, his men did not heed his warning. When Odysseus fell asleep, Eurylochus persuaded his companions to eat the cattle, saying, “Come, we’ll cut out the noblest of these cattle for sacrifice to the gods who own the sky: and once at home, in the old country of Ithaca, if ever that day comes- we’ll build a costly temple and adorn it with every beauty for the lord of noon.”(Homer, 884-889) The killing of his cattle angered Helios, and he asked Zeus to punish Odysseus’ men.Zeus complied, striking their ship with a lightning bolt so that everyone but Odysseus drowned. Odysseus had to use his strength and sense to overcome the problems his

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