The Role Of Suffering In Homer's Odyssey

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During Odysseus’ decade-long journey to his home, he encounters many forms of suffering, the most prevalent being transformative in nature. Transformative suffering, which is typically caused by mortals, themselves, alters a mortal being; albeit physically, mentally, or emotionally. In the first few years of his journey, Odysseus suffers the loss of much of his crew. He loses men while plundering a small island; he loses some to the lotus esters; and a few to Polyphemus. Throughout all these sufferings, Odysseus learns that he should listen to the advice of others; thus, transforming him mentally and emotionally through these sufferings. Odysseus eventually learns that wisdom comes from long thought, suffering, and experience. As a result…show more content…
From the onset of the book, death is a recurring event, persistent throughout the entire poem. In many ways, the Odyssey is the story of the death of all of Odysseus’ friends and fellow fighters during their return home from conquering Troy. These deaths are particularly heartbreaking to Odysseus because, normally, one would expect that all dying would conclude with the end of the war against Troy. In this case, however, the anticipation of his return to his family at home became a series of tragedies. This sequence of events changes his view and molds Odysseus’ character in regard to his surviving friends and family. For example, Odysseus taunted Polyphemus and incited the wrath of Polyphemus and Poseidon, which led to the deaths of all his crewmembers. That was incredibly unwise, and not worthy of a leader who is responsible for the protection protect of his men. However, Odysseus learns his lesson, and realizes that he needed to grow through his horrifying experience of the earlier deaths. By the time Odysseus finally returns to his home, he not only has a burning desire to avenge his family by killing the suitors, but he also attained a greater understanding for the suffering of others. Even after Odysseus had satisfied his desire for revenge by killing the suitors, he refuses to gloat, and made sure…show more content…
The responsibility for this suffering is caused by a mixture of both human actions, along with the intervention of the gods. The plotline depends heavily upon the idea of suffering, due to the separation between characters. The suffering through separation throughout the story plays a critical role in the development of the characters, and for the advancement of the storyline. Between Odysseus and Penelope and Calypso and Odysseus, the pressure of each character’s situation tests their mental strength, while highlighting their intense sorrow felt while being separated from one another. After Odysseus had defeated Troy, he ended up on an island with the beautiful goddess Calypso. He felt obligated to remain with her in a perfect paradise for seven years. However, throughout the entire time he was trapped with Calypso, Odysseus felt that he was wanted elsewhere. Thus, he longed to return to his home and to his dearly loved Penelope. Odysseus’ passion for being with his wife ultimately won the call for him to return home. Although he knew he was leaving a flawless paradise, he departed to settle his business back home. Calypso wished for Odysseus to stay, but also knew Odysseus had a responsibility to his family back home. Thus, Odysseus left to bring peace to his loving and faithful Penelope. It is an aspect of human nature that drives one to crave companionship,
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