In Homer’s epic poem, Odysseus’s heroic quest consists of many challenging events, which comprise his road of trials.
Odysseus and his men find themselves in many tough situations, one of them being the Sirens. When they see the Sirens, Odysseus is instructed to plug his men’s ears with wax so they cannot hear the singing. Even though no one else could hear the Sirens, Odysseus was willing to hear the Sirens because he was promised he would gain wisdom and knowledge of his future. He was so desperate to know if he would finally see his family again, that he listened to the Sirens.
Another difficult situation Odysseus finds himself in is the Land of the Lotus Eaters. The Lotus Eaters are nice people, but the Lotus flowers they eat make one forgetful of their homeland. Odysseus knows he must return home, so he “...had to drag them on shipboard and chain them there. They wept, so great was their desire to stay”. Odysseus did not want to forget his home or forget the reason why he persevered through everything to return to Ithaca, which was to see his family again.
Odysseus is faced with many foes throughout the story. One of his biggest enemies is Polyphemus, the Cyclops. He and his men land on his island and expect to be treated with the highest hospitality, as that was the custom for treating your guests. Things do not go as planned for Odysseus, because six of his men are eaten and the rest of the crew is trapped. Odysseus’ cunning skill allows him to escape by tying him and his men underneath Polyphemus’ sheep. They had blinded the cyclops, so they tied themselves under the sheep so Polyphemus could not see them escape.
One of Odysseus’ other enemies is the sun god, Helios. Odysseus is informed by the enchantress Circe that he and his crew will end up on the island of Thrinakia, where Helios’ precious cattle are kept. Odysseus is told that he will return home safely as long as no one harms the cattle. Eventually, after a month, the food on the ship runs out and the men grow very hungry. While Odysseus is sleeping one day, his men kill the biggest cow Helios has. Odysseus returns to the crew and he is very upset because he warned them many times not to eat the cattle no matter what. When hearing of this, Helios is enraged. Helios says a prayer to Zeus saying, “O Father Zeus and gods in bliss forever, punish Odysseus’ men!”. His men were punished severely when Zeus struck his ship with a lightning bolt and killed everyone except for Odysseus. Helios’ and the Cyclops’ prayers are both answered as Odysseus will return home with none of his crew. However, Odysseus kept his mindset on returning home through all of his journeys.
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