Role Of Appearance In The Odyssey

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The Odyssey
“Pay no attention to appearing.” -André Gide
The magical Disney classic Beauty and the Beast begins with an old woman pleading with a cold-hearted prince for shelter one frigid night. The prince is repulsed by her ragged appearance and turns her away. The woman warns him, “Do not be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” The prince, however, remains unconvinced and orders her away a second time. It is then that the woman transforms herself into a lovely enchantress and as punishment turns the prince into a monstrous beast. Beauty and the Beast is a story in which the central theme is appearance: it opens with the prince’s failure to look past an exterior and ends with Belle’s success at looking through the exterior.
Similarly, in The Odyssey, appearance plays a large role. Athena alters Odysseus and Telemachus’ physical appearances several times. For example, in the beginning of the book, Athena “lavished a marvelous splendor on [Telemachus].” Presumably, this change is so that he might gain respect from the elders in the council. Athena’s altering of appearances often fools the vast crowd. However, there are a few situations where characters resist making a judgment based on appearances. Odysseus’s nurse, Eurycleia,
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As people going out into a world obsessed with appearance, we need to remember to look beyond the exterior. The lessons of Eurycleia and Penelope are lessons that are sorely needed in our culture. We must immerse ourselves in the truth, so that we can recognize it anywhere. We also need to be critical of our eyes. In the words of Paul, we must learn to “test all things, hold fast what is good,” and let the rest fade away. If we can learn to look deeper–to see past appearances, to surround ourselves with truth, then perhaps we can begin to see people for what they truly
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