Role Of Loyalty In The Odyssey

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Loyalty is the glue that holds marriages or friendships together. Without loyalty there would be no trust in one another, and all of these relationships would be broken. Loyalty is quite simple to fulfill, but at times can be even easier to fail. Specifically, in marriages, loyalty is not just remaining married to one’s spouse, but is also staying true to all the promises one made, and putting oneself before the other. Loyalty plays a key role in Odysseus’ and Penelope’s marriage in the epic poem “The Odyssey” by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, but it is debatable if Odysseus is truly loyal to his selfless wife, Penelope. In the epic poem, the main character Odysseus leaves behind his loving family to battle in the Trojan war. After his…show more content…
To point out, while Odysseus was gone, Penelope stayed loyal by not marrying any of the suitors, and not having any affairs with other men, unlike her husband. For instance, Odysseus has an affair while he was in Circe’s palace. When he was at her palace, his men got turned into swine, and Odysseus is forced to save them. Although, something that was not pointed out was that Odysseus was protected by a magic potion given to him by Hermes. Because of the potion, he was incapable of turning into a swine when confronting Circe and took advantage of it. When Odysseus got his men back, he made it seem as if sleeping with Circe was a sacrifice to get them back, but this is not true. Despite what he wanted us to think, the real story was he had her under his control before the affair, and Circe would have surrendered and freed his men- affair, or no affair. With no regard to his wife back at home, he spends a year in her “gorgeous and luxuriant bed” as he calls it: “She began to swear the oath that I required—never, she'd never do me harm—and when she'd finished, then, at last, I mounted Circe's gorgeous bed...” (Fagles 10.384-386). When Fagles uses the words “at last” it makes Odysseus sound like he was waiting for this moment. Another situation where Odysseus breaks his loyalty with Penelope by having an affair was on Calypso’s island. Calypso is a beautiful sea nymph with braids that wants Odysseus to become her husband. Odysseus is trapped on her island for seven years where he cries his days away while at night he goes against the whole reason he cries: “they found him sitting still, weeping, his eyes never dry, his sweet life flowing away with tears he wept for his fouled journey home, since the sea nymph no longer pleased. In the nights, he'd sleep with her in the arching cave—” (Fagles 5.168- 171). If Odysseus is truly loyal to Penelope then he would
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