PTSD In Homer's The Odyssey

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The Odyssey, written by Homer, is one of the most well-known stories about struggle and war, encompassing Odysseus’ twenty-year struggle to battle in the Trojan War and return home. At first glance, the poem appears to be about a “hero’s colorful, salt-caked adventures on the high seas [and] his encounters with witches, nymphs, and cyclops” (Higgins 3). The story relates to that of a soldier’s in today’s time. Throughout the epic poem, Homer reveals the countless number of challenges that Odysseus faces during his adventuress. Odysseus is accompanied by his crew, but unlike other stories, Homer shares the names and families of almost all the fallen crewmen. The deaths in The Odyssey are exceptionally bloody and filled with gore, allowing the reader to visualize and understand the true horror and violence held in the scenes. Additionally, he was reluctant in setting out for war and wished that he could stay back and…show more content…
Since it wasn’t diagnosed or treated by ancient medicine, examples of ancient PTSD in literature do not fit perfectly into our modern definition of the disorder. Back then, PTSD might have gone by other names, most often referred to by ancient commanders as low morale, intense fear, or cowardice. Besides defining PTSD and showing its presence in history, the comparison makes it clear that PTSD, although not recognized at the time, is as old as war itself. It is important to study the effects of war on ancient soldiers for several reasons. Whether it be from the shores of Troy, to the jungles of Vietnam, or to the deserts of the modern Middle East, war veterans throughout history share common characteristics that transcend both time and location. Ultimately, researching and finding evidence of PTSD leads to a much better understanding of ancient battle by describing what these soldiers were frightened of, how much they loved their colleagues, and how “human” they were, despite being
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