Individualism In Homer's The Iliad And The Odyssey

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In his epics The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer provides an even-handed portrait of the heroes Achilles and Odysseus. By choosing not to idealize these heroes, Homer provides an insight into the values of ancient Greek culture; both Achilles and Odysseus represent prized characteristics, but also illustrate the dangers of hubris and excessive individualism. Both Achilles and Odysseus cause numerous deaths through their own inflated sense of individualism and pride, but both also illuminate the benefits of their personal strengths when faced with problems throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey. Odysseus, in The Odyssey, thinks he knows what’s best for himself and his men, which on occasion is true, but just as often leads to issues that he could have easily avoided with proper communication. For example, when Odysseus and his crew encounter the Lotus-Eaters, he acts on their behalf, to their benefit: I hauled them back…show more content…
Conversely, however, when Odysseus and his crew attempt to make their way home after visiting Aeolus, Odysseus’ belief in the supremacy of his own abilities gets him into trouble. Odysseus neglects to inform his crew what the bag he received from Aeolus holds, arousing their suspicion. Furthering his folly, Odysseus explains that he was “Exhausted from minding the sail the whole time / By myself. I wouldn’t let any of my crew / Spell me, because I wanted to make good time” (10.37-40). The lack of trust between Odysseus and his crew stems from Odysseus’ overconfidence in his own mental faculties and the subsequent lack of effective communication between Odysseus and those he captains. Because Odysseus’ crew has proven themselves unreliable over time, Odysseus does not see fit to trust them with things that he could do on his own; as a result, Odysseus’ mistrust of his crew amplifies own personal

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