Odysseus returns to the land of Aeaea, where Elpenor is finally buried and stays one more evening with Circe. Circe then describes the challenges that Odysseus will face on his journey home and she explains how to avoid them. As Odysseus starts his journey home, he and his men arrived the island of the Sirens Odysseus as told by Circe, plugs the men’s ear with wax and has them tie his body to the mast of the ship. The song of the Sirens’ is so captivating that Odysseus begs his men to untie him from the mast of the ship, but his men keep him tied.
After the ship passes the island, Odysseus and get hit with a bigger obstacle trying to go through Scylla and Charybdis. Scylla is described to a vicious multi headed monster swallows each man the heads encounter. Charybdis is a whirlpool that is known to sink entire ships. As Odysseus and his men approach Charybdis, the crew loses 6 of their men. Odysseus then approaches Thrinacia, the Suns island.
A storm keeps his men stuck there for many days, and when the food runs out Eurylochus persuades the other crew members to go behind Odysseus back and kill the cow that belong to the Sun. They eventually do so one afternoon while Odysseus decides to sleeps. After the Sun finds out what they have done he demands Zeus to discipline Odysseus and his men. Soon after Odysseus leaves, Zeus fires up a giant storm, which send everyone on board to their demise and destroys the ship. The only survivor is Odysseus. After a long time, Odysseus body finally reaches Calypso’s island, Ogygia.
There were many decisions made in the Odyssey – some were more important than others, but all decisions made had consequences, no matter how small. In the Odyssey by Homer, generally Odysseus and his men made a lot of decisions that lead to some very negative effects. The first bad decision that Odysseus made was poking Polyphemus’ eye out. Even though Odysseus had to do something to escape, poking the Poseidon’s son’s eye was not a very good idea.
To make matters worse, Odysseus bragged about his accomplishment later. After Odysseus and his group of men leave the Island of the Cyclopes they stop at the island of Aeolus (the wind god), Aeolia. Aeolus was very gracious and gave Odysseus a bag full of the winds. The bag had the winds that was putting them of course and Aeolus told Odysseus not to open the bag until they got back to Ithaca. But while Odysseus was one of his crew members opened the bag which added 10 extra years to get back home.
In addition, Odysseus was not the only person who made bad decisions. Odysseus’s men, having led to believe Odysseus was hiding treasure, so Odysseus’s men thought that the bag of winds was really a bag of treasures that he was keeping for himself. Because the men didn’t trust Odysseus, they opened the bag of winds that then sends them back to Aeolus’s island. If Odysseus’s men would have trusted in Odysseus and believed him, they would never have even thought about opening the bag, and they would have gotten home much sooner.
Compare and Contrast
Through reading Homer’s The Odyssey, we get a glimpse of Greek society. The society and culture that is shown in the epic can be seen today but can also seem outdated in modern society. Unlike our current society, the head of the household in ancient Greek society was always the man, with the wife having almost no authority. This is illustrated in the beginning of The Odyssey, with references to Penelope and Telemachus. In our society now, women can be the head of the house hold but it is mainly a shared authority. Also, the ancient Greeks value extreme physical strength. This importance is shown in the scene where a man taunts Odysseus to be a part of the games and to see if he has the strength that he says he has.
While in our society today physical strength can be important, intelligence is seen as a greater quality. Finally, proper rituals are very important throughout The Odyssey. There were proper rituals for guests, proper ways for guests to respond and specific burial practices. Throughout the epic this idea was shown many times like when Odysseus was welcomed in Scheria and how he wanted a proper burial for Elpenor. This is related to our society and the rules of hospitality because in most social situations a household would give hospitality to all guests who come and are welcomed into their home.