Odysseus’ Journey in the Odyssey

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During Odysseus’ journey in the book Odyssey, Odysseus encounters many different situations, and his reaction to many things are terrible. Firstly, one of the biggest mistakes is when he doesn’t tell his men what thee bag that he got contains and since he falls asleep his men open it and the wind blows them away all the way back where they started. Secondly, one of his biggest mistakes is when he takes all of the anger of Poseidon on himself, he causes this when he provokes Polyphemus, which was completely unnecessary. Instead of listening to his crew he decides to go in the cyclopes cave and meets him.

Lastly, he only thinks about himself, when his men are turned into pigs, he decides to stay with Circe for a year even though he knows she is potentially very dangerous, he still accepts her invitation to feast with her for however long he wants. Odysseus makes these three biggest mistakes, that ultimately cause his journey to be much longer that it should have been if he made the right decisions.

Firstly, Odysseus receives a bag of wind from the god of wind called Aeolus, “And in this bag he bound the wild winds ways, For Zeus had made him keeper of the winds” (Homer 141). This shows that Zeus who is the god of the gods made Aeolus the keeper of the winds and trusted him, but Odysseus does not realize this, and as we see later on, he doesn’t take good care of it and this is a very costly mistake.

The bag wasn’t going to help the crew get home since Aeolus left out the wind that would carry them home “But he left out the West Wind out To blow my ship along and carry us home” (Homer 142). This resulted in Odysseus just keeping the bag and not telling his crew what it contains. After nine days of sailing he was really tired and decided to fall asleep. Falling asleep was one of his biggest mistakes he could have done during that time as it costed his journey to extend a few year “As soon as I fell asleep, the men started to talk, Saying I was bringing home for myself Silver and gold as gifts from great Aeolus” (Homer 142).

This is normal because his crew saw it as unfair that he got something and they didn’t, and they curiosity they opened the bag, which was a terrible idea as they soon realized “The winds rushed out And bore them far out to sea, weeping As their native land faded on the horizon” (Home 142). As soon as Odysseus wakes up he is very mad and very sad, as he describes his feelings “I thought long and hard about whether I should Just go over the side and end it all in the sea Or endure in silence and remain among the living” (Homer 142). We can see Odysseus is so sad that he is actually thinking about killing himself, which is really understandable, because all he did this journey was gone just because he fell asleep.

Finally, he decides to stay on the ship and wait until the ship carries them back to Aeolia. When they arrive back at Aeolia, Odysseus went back to Aeolus and describes what happened, but instead of blaming himself for falling asleep he blames his crew for opening the bag “My evil crew ruined me, that and stubborn sleep” (Homer 143). He describes this as the falling asleep wasn’t his fault and that his crew is evil, instead of taking the blame on himself he blames other people, even though it was his fault not telling his men what the bag contained. If he would have told them what was in the bag none of this would happen.

Secondly, Odysseus’ big mistake is provoking the cyclop by the name of Polyphemus. It all starts of by Odysseus not listening to his crew when they arrive at the land of cyclops. He gets his whole crew in big trouble just because he wanted to find out if cyclops are nice people “I want to find out what those men are like, Wild savages with no sense of right or wrong Or hospitable folk who fear the gods” (Homer 129). After they arrive to the cave they saw that it was filled with food such a cheese, lambs etc. the crew suggested that they just load all of these and leave but Odysseus’ stubbornness didn’t let him “It would have been far better if I had” (Homer 129). This gives us a little spoiler that what is about to happen is really not good and Odysseus admits his mistake, for the first time.

The problem was that Polyphemus was not a hospitable folk, he wasn’t afraid of gods and definitely wasn’t afraid of Odysseus and his crew. When Polyphemus came back to the cave, he closed it with a huge stone that only he could move since Odysseus and his men were not strong enough. Odysseus comes up with a great plan to use a big wooden pole to stick it into his eye “My men lifted up the olivewood stake And drove the sharp point right into his eye” (Homer 135). This was a good idea of Odysseus, because now Polyphemus cannot see them, and it will be easier to get out of the cave and leave. After this the next day Odysseus ties his men to Polyphemus’ sheep and that is how it gets them out, which was another good idea of his.

After this a streak of Odysseus’ bad mistakes come, instead of just running away to the ship and sailing away, he had to provoke him “If no man is hurting you, then your sickness Comes from Zeus and can’t be helped You should pray to your father, Lord Poseidon” (Homer 136). This resulted in Polyphemus to get very angry. He prayed to Poseidon, which almost cost the whole crew to die. Even though his crew was begging him to stop, his selfishness didn’t allow him to do that “Don’t do it, man! The rock that hit the water Pushed us in and we thought we were done for” (Homer 138). Luckily the crew got out save, this big mistake could have killed Odysseus and all of his men.

Lastly, one of the biggest mistakes of Odysseus was to stay with Circe for seven years while his men were turned into pigs. After they escaped Polyphemus, they sailed a little bit and arrived on the island of Aeaea, that is home to Circe as Odysseus describes her “a dread goddess with richly coiled hair And a human voice” (Homer 144). Which seems like Odysseus find her attractive.

When they arrive, Odysseus decides not to go but sends his men with the lead of one of his best warriors Eurylochus. Odysseus’ men didn’t want to go because they were scared that more of them will die like previously with the cyclops “they wailed and cried, but it did them no good” (Homer 147). Even through this Odysseus forced them to go and explore. When they arrived at the house of Circe, it seemed really nice and she welcomed them with open arms “flung open the bright doors and invited them in” (Homer 147) all of the men didn’t hesitate but went in, except Eurylochus, who expected a trap.

After Circe turned Odysseus’s men into pigs Eurylochus went back and explained everything that has happened to Odysseus. When he arrived, he tried to kill her but instead, she lured him into getting into bed with her. At this point he makes her swear to not hurt him “I’m not getting into any bed with you Unless you agree first to swear solemn oath That you’re not planning some new trouble for me” (Homer 151). This was really weird because instead of making her swear to release his men he made her swear to not hurt him, this shows how selfish Odysseus really is and how he only cares about himself. Later when they are getting into her bed, he describes it as “Circe’s beautiful bed” (Homer 151). This shows that he actually is really excited to get into bed with her even though she turned his men into swine.

After they made love before he ate, he made Circe turn his men back into people “Circe, how could anyone bring himself-Any decent man-to taste food and drink before seeing his comrades free?” (Homer 152). This was strange since making love with her was okay, but eating was not good unless his men were free, this shows how much he wanted to sleep with her. After she freed his men they went back to her house and eat, instead of leaving after they were full, he decided to stay there for a year “so we sat there day after day for a year” (Homer 154). This shows one of the biggest mistakes that he made since instead of going home to his wife in Ithica he decided to stay with Circe for a year.

Odysseus makes his journey much longer than it should be by making bad decisions and mistakes, first he doesn’t tell his men about the bag of wind that he got and when he falls asleep they open it and the wind takes them all the way back to Aeolus and instead of blaming this mistake on himself he blames his evil crew. Secondly, he almost gets his crew killed by a cyclops, just because Odysseus wants to see if Polyphemus is welcoming, and if that wasn’t enough, he provokes him and gets Poseidon angry at him. Lastly instead of going home to his wife after he frees his man from Circe he decides to stay with her for a year, which makes his journey so much longer, just so he can sleep with Circe.

Cite this paper

Odysseus’ Journey in the Odyssey. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/odysseus-journey-in-the-odyssey/

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