The Exemplars In Homer's The Odyssey

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An exemplar is an individual who represents and embodies the fundamental characteristics of the belief system to which they adhere. Exemplars are employed within stories, both written and spoken, to inspire individuals to act in like manner, and consequently, in accordance to the traditions and laws of their specified religion. Exemplars are—typically—rewarded for their actions and hailed as heroes, as to encourage others to act similarly. It is much easier for an individual to attempt to imitate the correct actions of others than it is to blindly follow a set of rules and commands. Nearly all religions and belief systems utilize this technique, and have done so since their initial origins. Two prominent texts that exploit this age-old technique …show more content…

After ten years of fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus is forced to endure another ten years of hardship while on his journey to his homeland in Ithaca. In a dialogue between Telemachus and Menelaus, the King of Sparta, exclaims, “…no one of the Achaeans labored as much as Odysseus labored and achieved, and for him the end was grief for him…”(Odyssey). Menelaus’s examination of Odysseus not only displays his unyielding discipline and courage, but it also presents one of the fundamental dilemmas of the Greek belief system—that suffering is oftentimes certain and unavoidable. During Odysseus’s telling of his travels to the Phaeacians he recounts, “Dear friends, surely we are not unlearned in evils. This is no greater evil now than it was when the Cyclops had us cooped in his hollow cave by force and violence, but even there, by my courage and counsel and my intelligence, we escaped away” (Odyssey). In this passage, Odysseus shows that he is self-aware of his favorable behavior and exceptional guilefulness. However, with further analysis of the scene in which Odysseus reveals his true identity to Polyphemus, one also witnesses the hubris of Odysseus and the natural imperfections of mankind. Upon Odysseus’s eventual return home, he—much like Joseph—seeks to restore the social order of his homeland. Such is seen when Odysseus presents his disdain for the actions of the

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