Odysseus In The Odyssey

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There is a quote by J.R.R Tolkien that goes “faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens”. In The Odyssey, written by Homer and translated by Robert Fagels, the crewmen perfectly embody this quote. If a person is truly loyal to someone then they will stick with them through tough times like crewmen do to their leader, but sometimes the leader may not deserve the loyalty he receives.
In the epic poem, the epic hero Odysseus and his crewmen go through a series of trials while trying to return home from the Trojan War. They have to escape a cyclops’s cave, sail past the monsters Scylla and Charybdis, escape cannibals, and more. They get through most of the trials with the help of the gods and sometimes Odysseus, but he is not always
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The earliest example of this is when Odysseus lets the crew open a bag of treasure that is given to them. The crew wants to “break it open- [right away]” but then “all the winds burst out and a sudden squall [strikes] and [sweeps] [them] out to sea, wailing, in tears, far from [their] own native land” (10.49-50). Even though Odysseus knows that the crew are not supposed to open the sack, he stands back and does nothing and it results in their ship and all the men being blown in the opposite direction of their end destination. Odysseus does things that he should not, like when he and his crew eat a Cyclops’s cheese which results in the death of some of the men (9.260-1 and 9.334-37). Odysseus is mostly at fault in this situation. He should stop and actually think about the consequences of eating some random cheese in a cave that probably belongs to somebody. But because of his poor judgement, crewmen are killed and others barely escape. He is mostly responsible for his men eating the Cattle of the Sun, something he knows to not let them do. As a result of the crew eating the forbidden cattle, Zeus says “[he will] hit their racing ship with a white-hot bolt, [he will] tear it into splinters” (12.413-18). Even though a sea nymph specifically tells Odysseus to not let his men eat the cattle, he lets it happen and takes a nap. Although the crewmen also have some blame in this…show more content…
Odysseus often sends the crew to look around at whatever new land they have reached, like when he says that he will “[send] a detail ahead, two picked men and a third, a runner, to scout out who might live there” (9.99-101). Odysseus, who is an epic hero, is definitely capable of scouting out the new place but he sends the crewmen out instead, which is lazy. Later on, during the trial of the cannibal Laestrygonians, Odysseus even says that he could investigate the smoke coming from the Laestrygonians’ castle but it seems like a better plan to send the men out to look at it instead (10.166-170). Again, this is Odysseus being lazy. He states that it would be a better plan to send the men out, but how would that be better? There is no reason that Odysseus cannot do the work. Odysseus once again says that he will “[send] some crew ahead to learn who [lives] there” (10.110). This is the third time that Odysseus makes other people do the work instead of just doing it himself, and it is even something easy like scouting out new land. Odysseus is an epic hero that can conquer all kinds of things yet he still feels the need to slack off and make his crew members do all the work, which is one of the reasons why he does not deserve their
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