The Odyssey, a Greek epic poem written by Homer, depicts the journey of a daring man named Odysseus who fights his way back home to Ithaca, running into many challenges on his way. The challenges Odysseus faces and responds to convey his traits that ultimately benefit or set him back on his journey back home to Ithaca. Some of the paths Odysseus chooses in attempt to escape the situation are life threatening and are also putting his crew in jeopardy. As the novel progresses, Odysseus encounters several obstacles that alter his actions, making him more cautious and allowing him to have second thoughts.
Through experience and negative consequences, Odysseus changes from being obstinate, overbearing, and negligent to an obedient, modest, and responsible individual. Odysseus depicts obstinate characteristics. Before Odysseus and his crew approach Scylla, a six-headed sea monster, and Charybdis, a dangerous whirlpool, Circe informs Odysseus on how to survive their wraths. Circe advises Odysseus to try and refrain from fighting Scylla, yet Odysseus, “Kirk?’s bidding against arms had slipped my mind, so I tied on my cuirass and took up two heavy spears, then made my way along to the foredeck – thinking to see her first from there, the monster of the grey rock, harboring torment for my friends” (Homer, Book 12, lines 292-298). Odysseus attempts to fight off Scylla, disregarding the important advise Circe gave him.
He was warned by Circe that fighting Scylla was the wrong way to go about the situation, however, he was stubborn and was willing to battle. Odysseus trying to fight off Scylla did not change her decision on taking six of Odysseus’ best men, and Odysseus and his men as a result barely made it out of the cave. After the consequences caused by Odysseus’ stubborn actions, he chooses to be obedient in an effort to avoid further problems. Circe additionally advises Odysseus and his crew to not kill Helios’ cattle when they arrive at the island of Thrinakia, or else destruction will be done to Odysseus’ ship and crew. Odysseus obeys Circes’ orders, “Let this whole company swear me a great oath: Any heard of cattle or flock of sheep here found shall ho unharmed; no one shall slaughter out of wantonness ram or heifer;” (Homer, Book 12, lines 382-386). Odysseus reminds his crew not to harm Helios’ cattle, taking Circes’ advice into consideration. At first, Odysseus is obstinate and disregards Circes’ advice on not to fight off Scylla.
After Odysseus and the rest of the crew were almost captured, he realized that he must be obedient in order to get everyone back home to Ithaca. Therefore, Odysseus’ transition from obstinate to obedient is strongly portrayed. Odysseus is an overbearing individual who desires kleos, fame and glory, and finds ways to distribute his name.
After blinding Polyphemos, a cyclops who despises Odysseus, Odysseus helps his crew to escape Polyphemos, who is raging over what Odysseus has done to him. On their way out of the island, Odysseus yells to the Cyclops, “Kyklops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laërt?s’ son, whose home’s on Ithaka!” (Homer, Book 9, lines 548-552). Odysseus reveals his name to the Cyclops and tells him to inform others that he was the one who blinded the Cyclops. Odysseus is hungry for fame and glory and wants to be recognized for something he has done, and he believes that revealing his name is one way of doing it. Polyphemos hopes to avenge his blinded eye from Odysseus by praying to Poseidon in hope to never allow Odysseus to return home, or have him pounded by a rock. Odysseus’ action lead to negative consequences, and additionally, a lesson learned. In the underworld, Agamemnon advises Odysseus, “One thing I will advise, on second thought; stow it away and ponder it.
Land your ship in secret on your island; give no warning,” (Homer, Book 11, lines 531-534). Agamemnon suggests Odysseus to arrive at Ithaca and not notify anyone about his arrival. Odysseus fulfills his advice by disguising himself as a beggar, showing his change from being overbearing to modest. Odysseus was at first desperate for kleos and tried to make his name known, yet by taking Agamemnon’s advice, Odysseus is modest and is putting aside his desire for fame for the better. Therefore, Odysseus converts from being overbearing and wanting fame, to modest.
Odysseus illustrates a negligent character. Aiolos gives Odysseus a mighty bag containing all of the winds, excluding the west winds, which could blow their ship back home to Ithaca. Odysseus has not told his crew what was inside the bag, growing their curiosity and temptation to open the bag.
They were convinced that the bag held loads of silver and gold, causing them to untie it, “Temptation had its way with my companions, and they untied the bag. Then every wind roared into hurricane; the ships went pitching west with many cries; our land was lost” (Homer, Book 10, lines 52-55). As soon as Odysseus’ men peaked into the bag, all the fierce winds were released and blowed their ship all the way back to the island of Aiolia, far from their final destination. Odysseus is not being cautious and has not informed this men about what the bag contained and how important it is for them to avoid opening it. He is accountable for his men opening the bag and has learned his lesson after the major setback he and his crew experienced.
Odysseus develops into a much more responsible individual as him and crew near Helios’ island. After Circe strongly suggests Odysseus and his men to not eat the cattle, Odysseus takes her words into account as they approach the island, “Any heard of cattle or flock of sheep here found shall ho unharmed; no one shall slaughter out of wantonness ram or heifer; all shall be content with what the goddess Kirk? put aboard” (Homer, Book 12, lines 382-387). Odysseus warns his crew to avoid killing Helios’ cattle and to respect Circes’ advice. After being blown back to Aiolia, Odysseus learns that he must be responsible and notify his crew about the instructions Circe gave him to avoid further setbacks. Through experience, Odysseus learns his lesson and grows his character. Odysseus emerges from a negligent individual to a more responsible one. In the Odyssey, through experience and negative consequences, Odysseus changes from being obstinate, overbearing, and negligent to a obedient, modest, and responsible individual. Odysseus tries to fight out Scylla, even when told not to.
After barely escaping and still losing six of his best men, Odysseus learns that he must obey important instructions and advice given to him. Odysseus proves that he is obedient when he listens to Circes’ advice and tells his crew to not harm Helios’ cattle. Odysseus behaves in an overbearing manor while desperate for kleos, or fame and glory. He asks Polyphemos to spread his name and inform others that he was the one who caused his injury. Knowing his name, the Cyclops was able to ask Poseidon to punish Odysseus and never allow him to return to Ithaca. However, Odysseus learned from this event, and became modest. He disguised himself as a beggar when he arrived in Ithaca, to keep his presence secret.
In addition, Odysseus begins as a negligent person. He was irresponsible by not telling his crew about the objects inside the bag, and out of temptation, his men untied the bag. The winds inside the bag were released and sent the ship back to Ithaca, creating a major setback. As a result, Odysseus learned that he must be more responsible, especially when he followed Circes’ instructions and reminded his men not to eat the cattle at Helios’ island.