Odysseus Lack Of Honor In Homer's Odyssey

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Honor is like a crown, which is only worn by those who are worthy enough to take it. Failure to wear such an exquisite accessory with dignity reveals one’s lack of honor and worth. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, honor is displayed through a leader’s courage as tested through deeds and battles. Although Odysseus exposes cracks in his honor, he is ultimately represented as an honorable leader when his violent actions and authoritative decision-making show how he has acquired honor. Through battle and in moments of glory, Odysseus’ violence exemplifies how he has gained honor as a leader. In the beginning of the tale, Odysseus introduces himself through an epithet in which he declares, “Men hold me formidable for guile in peace and war” (19-20). …show more content…

After Circe holds Odysseus’ crew in captivity, Eurylochus suggests to Odysseus that they can evade “the day of evil” if they leave immediately; however, feeling obligated, Odysseus replies to him, “Eurylochus, by all means stay here by the black ship’s hull [...] but I, bound by necessity, will go” (Bk X:251-301). In facing this choice to leave, Odysseus instead chooses to help his allies rather than abandoning them, demonstrating his concern for his friends. This choice is a sign of a great decision made by Odysseus, highlighting the honor that he has as a leader; it is through this concern that Odysseus displays honor. Later in the poem, Odysseus encounters and confronts the suitors who have intruded his home. Before he slaughters his opponents, he responds to Eurymachus’ plea: “There will be killing ‘till the score is paid. You forced yourselves upon his house” (1468-1469). In order to maintain his honor, Odysseus chooses to take the suitors’ lives because punishment is seen as just and fair. Since the suitors invade Odysseus’ house and avoid combat, instead begging for their lives in front of him, they break Greek code; in other words, they negatively respond to the generous hospitality they receive and choose not to fight for their lives, which shows great dishonor because they break important traditions of hospitality and combat as set by the

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