Lies In The Odyssey

930 Words4 Pages
In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus lies to Athena about his identity in order to keep his homecoming a secret to avoid being killed by the suitors. In his intricate lies he uses great guile and tact. His lies reveal things about the character and the intentions of the person he is lying to. When Odysseus returns home to Ithaca, he uses lying as an protective disguise against strangers. He knows that if the suitors heard about his return he would be killed. He uses specific language in his lies in order to get unspoken points across, revealing his cunning. Odysseus sees disguised Athena putting “a young man’s figure on… like a king’s son,” which makes Odysseus assume that he is of power and strength. Athena also has a “hunting lance… in her hands,”…show more content…
But, unlike his meeting with disguised Athena, Eumaios talks to Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, about his admiration and longing for his former lord Odysseus. Hearing Eumaios proclaimed love and loyalty for him, Odysseus is much more comfortable and unthreatened by Eumaios and feels no need to assert himself the same way he did to disguised Athena. So when asked to tell his tale, Odysseus, still disguised as the beggar, tells a much more pitiable lie. Odyssey says that he is from Krete, for the same reason as before, and born to a wealthy father, Kastor Hylakides, and his slave, but was treated as a legitimate son. However, when his father dies he is given a very poor portion of the land due to his Brothers, born to Kastor Hylakides true lady. This lie and Odysseus’s beggar disguise immediately draws Emaios to feel sympathy and to take pity on him, compared to his lie to disguised Athena, where he shows his power and evokes fear. Also, the description and backstory Odysseus make sof himself in this lie makes him seem in need, making Eumaios feel good about the hospitality he has given Odysseus. The difference in his tales demonstrates Odysseus’s adept ability to tailor his lies to the person he is talking to, which is one of the reasons why he is so guile. Even Though, Odysseus’s lie to Eumaios is humbling in the beginning, he then starts to boast about his ability. Odysseus, being as cautious as he is, makes sure that the gentle swineherd does not get any idea of taking advantage of him by saying, “Fool I was never called, nor a turn tail in a fight. Then Odysseus begins to talk about his ability in war and how “Carnage suited me[Odysseus].” Odysseus uses war again in his lies for same reason as he did earlier, to threaten Eumaios and reestablish that he is not to be tricked and exploited. Odyssey then continues the lie with the story of his
Open Document