The Three Phases Of Glory In Homer's Odyssey

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As Odysseus fights his way through obstacles to assure his nostos, he simultaneously defends his kleos, meaning that his homecoming and heroic identity are at stake. In the epic, Odysseus’s fame evolves as he progresses on his journey to Ithaca—it undergoes three different stages in one process to reach the third stage of legitimacy. In books, 1; 3-4, his kleos is nothing more than fragmented memories because he is unheard or seen of for seven years; in books 9 and 12, his fame is in the midst of recognition as he boasts about his past challenges; and, in books 16; 22-23, he polishes his fame because he defeats the suitors, and speaks about his adventures to his wife Penelope. In this triadic structure, the first phase of kleos is only through…show more content…
And, in the final phase, Odysseus makes good on his fame by reaching Ithaca, but he must remain silent to enjoy his kleos—it is a paradox of the second phase. In this essay, I will compare and contrast Odysseus’s different phases of glory in relation to their development, and how they shape his heroic reputation. First, Odysseus’s initial phase of kleos is strictly passive because the readers hear about his fame from other characters. The step that develops Odysseus’s glory are the stories being told from characters that know little to nothing about his past deeds. The testimonies differ in how Odysseus’s fame is remembered. In book I, for example, Athena, reassured Telemachus of his father’s homecoming because she stated that, “even if the bonds that hold [Odysseus] are iron, …/he is a man of many resources” (Book I, 204-5). Here, Athena recalls Odysseus having great…show more content…
Here, his kleos changes from a third person, as previously witnessed in the earlier books, to the first person point of view. However, while the readers can shift back-and-forth through the three stages, characters in the narrative, with the exception of the Phaiakians, are not witnessing his proclamation. This means that Odysseus’s kleos has a limit in reaching out to other characters in the epic, especially, to the suitors back at Ithaca, who still question his return. As Charles Segal, puts it, “[Odysseus] is, in fact, far from the heroic world, safe among the soft, luxury-loving Phaeacians [and is not] creating that kleos by fighting, but rather re-creating [it]” by emphasizing on his past heroic events. Here, Odysseus retells his adventures as a method of revival for his famous reputation. Odysseus, for instance, tells the Phaiakians about his conquest of Ismaros, as he states, “I sacked their city and killed their people,/ and out of their city taking their wives and many possessions” (40-41). Here, Odysseus’s attempt at rejuvenating his heroic reputation works, but only to the Phaiakians, meaning that he needs to complete new challenges since the Trojan War ended. As Martin Winkler points

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