Hardship And Adversity In Homer's Odyssey

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Odysseus’s long and difficult journey back to his homeland after his time in the Trojan War was surely one filled with hardship and adversity. The great leader was forced to deal with intimidating enemies, rough travels, and even alluring deities. While he does his best to manage all of these struggles during his voyage, Odysseus is also unaware of the other conflicts taking place back in Ithaca, his home and where his family has been awaiting his return for several years. Much to Odysseus’s obliviousness, a group of suitors have essentially taken over his palace, hoping to marry Penelope, his wife, and claim his throne. Homer’s The Odyssey describes all that the protagonist does in his power just to come back to his family and kingdom throughout…show more content…
However, his escapades in particular are especially demanding. For instance, Odysseus is held captive for several years by the goddess Kalypso, who allures him with her enchanting looks and mesmerizing ways, on the island of Ogygia. All the while he is there, the protagonist continuously longs for his wife and home. This is especially evident when he admits to the goddess, “Yet, it is true, each day I long for home, long for the sight of home” (5. 228-30). He struggles with this yearning emotionally, but is forced to remain strong. Furthermore, Odysseus later confronts yet another seductive goddess, known as Kirke, on the Aiaia. He almost loses the majority of his crew to this deity, but is ultimately able to save them from her. Eurylokhos, one of his crew members, tells him, “Like sheep they followed her, but I saw cruel deceit, and stayed behind. Then all our fellows vanished” (10.283-85). The time he has lost by being in Aiaia and the trauma of nearly losing his men had a tremendous, negative effect on the leader. Another example in which Odysseus experienced difficulties is during his conflict with Polyphemus, an infamous Kyklopes. The one-eyed giant causes many troubles for Odysseus and his men when they reach his island. From having to gouge his eye out to barely escaping the beast’s cave, Odysseus certainly struggled during his time there.…show more content…
For example, when he first steps foot back in his own homeland, he immediately must disguise himself as a beggar. Due to this façade, Odysseus is treated horribly by the suitors, who have overrun his palace. One of these suitors, Melanthios, even physically abuses Odysseus when he “kicked at Odysseus’ hip as he passed by” (17.298). Yet he still decides to control his anger and not fight back, despite being constantly provoked. Another instance in which Odysseus has to overcome difficulties once he is home is when Antinoos, another suitor, begins to verbally attack him. Referring to Odysseus, he rudely asks the swineherd, “Are we not plagued enough with beggars, foragers, and such rats? You find the company too slow at eating up your lord’s estate—is that it? So you call this scarecrow in?” (17.493-97) The ridicule he is able to withstand from him not only attests to Odysseus’s struggles, but also to the toughness of his character. However, after these disrespectful insults, Odysseus finally begins responding. Once he is able to get under the suitor’s skin, an enraged Antinoos resorts to violence and hurls a stool towards him. The impact injures Odysseus’s shoulder, but he still rises above the pain he experiences and again does not retaliate. However, eventually, the leader is able to exact his revenge against the enemies inhabiting his

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