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One of the most valued skills one can possess is the art of storytelling. Man can express himself through means of song, art, dance, and poetry—but he must have a story to express himself. After the Trojan War ended, Odysseus journeys home facing various obstacles and hardships which add to his heroic essence. Upon his return, he retells his story over and over again in order to capture his courage and bravery during his voyage. Odysseus practices the art of storytelling in order to fulfill his image of a courageous hero once he arrives at home.
Odysseus’ confidence allows for his audience to be captured by his story. He is a lively character who is enamored with himself, taking many unnecessary risks which led to his very extended homecoming. In the end, Odysseus is the only one that survives out of all his crew which gives him the upper-hand in leaving out some details of the voyage and adding some details. The result of this is Odysseus being able to finely tune the story to fulfill his desire to be heroic. In itself, the voyage was heroic and the fact that Odysseus fought in a war makes him a hero. After the war, it took him another ten years to return home. Odysseus most definitely has quite the story to tell, so it has to be presented by a man of the caliber of the story. A good story teller can make a seemingly boring anecdote into an adventure. In order to fulfill the expectations of the story, the story teller has to be of great skill. The best way that Odysseus can become a better story teller and make his story represent his heroism, is by practicing it over and over again. If Odysseus wants his whole unfathomable journey seem real, he needs to come off as a credible person, and if Odysseus recounts his stories to different people adding or leaving out details, people may begin to think he is lying, so Odysseus needs to make sure that he is telling the story accurately. In addition, the story is truly legendary, so when presenting it, he should not seem confused or forgetful and should capture the attention of the reader because a story of this importance deserves attention and Odysseus recognizes this and strives for it. He tells his story through books nine and twelve and has his audience begging for more, and they are not even aware of his true identity, so imagine how the audience in Ithaca will react when they hear the story of their thought to be dead warrior.
Odysseus strives to heroic for his own personal satisfaction, but must do it for those that he loves. Odysseus has been gone for twenty years and missing for ten, and the result of this on his wife and son have been detrimental. Telemachus has grown up without a father and Penelope has been without husband, but not determined a widow, which is even worse because in a relationship death can be a form of closure, but Penelope does not even know if her husband is dead. If Odysseus were to return home from all this time and give a story without detail or passion or just a story that did not fulfill the expectations that Penelope deserves to have fulfilled, he would not be worth the struggle that Penelope went through. While her husband was away she refused one hundred and eight suitors that were living in her house, demanding to marry her. She refused them for numerous years and stayed absolutely loyal to her husband. Odysseus’ son Telemachus only knew Odysseus for a few years but Odysseus left after, and only knew his father through stories passed onto him. Odysseus must have good reason to have left his son for such a long time. It is possible for someone to suggest that Odysseus, a flawed character, only needs the success of the story for selfish reason, whether it be to become king or lay in the bed he once use to lay in, or any other motive he may have for trying to impress those in Ithaca. It is understood that Odysseus has major flaws but it is important to analyze that Homer’s Poem “The Odyssey” is a Comedy, and a Comedy has a tragic hero, but the story ends happily because of the hero’s actions. At the end of the day, even though Odysseus is flawed, he is a hero, and one of the roles of a true hero is to promote the success and happiness of others. As a hero, Odysseus has the responsibility to assure Penelope that the reason he hasn’t been home is for good cause and that was still loyal to her and that the adversity that she overcame for Odysseus was worth it. The deliverance of the story is important because Odysseus can prove to Penelope that he loves her because if he was more interested in bodily pleasures or wealth than he could tell her about the offer to marry a princess, or stay on an island with either Calypso or Circes, but on the other hand just the statement of being with those women can make Penelope very jealous. In order to make those that are important to him content with his reasons, he needs to craft certain details of his story.
Odysseus will succeed in filling the expectations that others have set for him by crafting his story to their needs and exceeding their expectations by the actions that he takes when he arrives in Ithaca. Penelope has been fighting off suitors for years, and her son Telemachus has seen these men try to marry his mom while insulting and him and plotting against him. I am sure that Telemachus and Penelope hope that Odysseus will return and banish the suitors and restore greatness in the household. However, Odysseus returns and slaughters all of the suitors that disrespected his family. Then he proves to Penelope that he truly is her husband and not just a trick set by the gods by questioning who moved a bed that he had built with his bare hands made out of an olive tree. She, “recognized the clear proofs that Odysseus had given; but then she burst into tears and ran straight to him, throwing her arms around the neck of Odysseus, and kissed his head…” (23.206-208). Odysseus has a story that tops any one’s and has truly achieved his goal of being a hero, but his true courage comes from his actions. After all, actions speak louder than words. Homer challenges us to be like Odysseus, and live legendary lives and when the time comes to tell a story, he insists that we capture our audience, but above all, in the heat of any moment we must act like the person in the stories we tell of ourselves.
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