The Pursuit Of Perfection In Homer's Odyssey

2510 Words11 Pages
Whether we realize it or not, we all relentlessly pursue perfection. In our lives, we strive to be something better or at least to...seem that way. To live a life without faults, without the flaws that make everyone else so imperfect, but always seem to fall too far from that ideal. Perfection remains an objective that can never be reached, something that is unattainable and in stark contrast with reality. In Homer’s “The Odyssey” the traces and nuances of this pursuit can be found in the very structure and hierarchy of Ancient Greece. Through his storytelling, Homer paints a vivid picture of adventure and wonder, but even while Homer tries to deliver an ultimate tale of heroism and valor it crumbles and collapses into broken fragments under…show more content…
Not one character who met Odysseus likes him as a person, not his crewmates, not even his son. The Odysseus that his son and his people admire is just a projection of his perfect self, positive qualities exaggerated, negative traits hidden. The perfection, the pinnacle of traits that he comes off as having don’t exist, but his people do not know this because he is the only one who survives his adventure. Due to the reader getting a narration from Homer, we can analyze Odysseus from an objective perspective and break down his actual…show more content…
He left his wife for a voyage that took him 19 years, only to cheat on her who knows how many times, though in the poem it explicitly states more than four. Then he returns home and pretends to be a perfect husband, not a slip of his sin ever to be known to Penelope. He even questions his mother in the underworld to ask if his wife stayed filial to him. If she cheated on him, he would likely have killed her. Odysseus is also a horrible father: Odysseus is absent from Telemachus’ life from birth, and when he does return, he manipulates his son for his benefit of his massive revenge scheme. Even after using his son, he still has competitiveness with him; he didn't let Telemachus shoot the arrow that would have led to Telemachus’ glory and a boost in self-confidence. There is also a connotation that Odysseus has a seed of doubt that a situation similar to Oedipus and Epicaste would happen to him because when he met Epicaste, her situation was described as “she shared in a monstrosity: she married her son. And she wed him after he killed his father”. The fact that Oedipus and Epicaste get married after he killed his father, Odysseus is probably worried that the same might happen to him. Especially after meeting Agamemnon in the underworld, who says that women are evil and don’t trust them because they may kill you.
Open Document