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The Odyssey and the Hero's Journey

How the events of the Odyssey line up in the Hero's Journey.
by

Gregory Smith

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of The Odyssey and the Hero's Journey

The Odyssey: The Hero's Journey, Archetypes and Symbols The Hero's Journey Departure Initiation Return The Call to Adventure Refusal of the Call Supernatural Aid The Crossing of the
First Threshold The Belly of the Whale The Road of Trials The Meeting with the Goddess Woman as Temptress Atonement with the Father Apotheosis The Ultimate Boon Refusal of the Return The Magic Flight Rescue from Without The Crossing of the
Return Threshold Master of Two Worlds Freedom to Live Odysseus's call to adventure begin with the Trojan war. When the Trojans attack the Greeks, Odysseus must travel to Troy to lead the armies in battle. At first, Odysseus might have refused the call, because his firstborn, Telemachus, had just been born. It is a fatherly instinct that prompts him to stay. Although the gods helped the Greeks during the Trojan war, the Greeks became prideful and it was for this reason that the gods led Odysseus astray ten years. Athena, who was Odysseus strongest supporter, eventually took pity on him, so she convinced the other gods to help him escape from Calypso's island to freedom. Poseidon was the only god that never helped Odysseus get home. The crossing of the first threshold begins with the Trojan War. Odysseus has not truly began his journey to change, but he is being introduced to a world that is not his own. When the gods became so angry at Odysseus and the other Greek leaders, the storm sent him off course. He was now completely separated from the world he knew, and he was now beginning the journey that would change the way he thought. Odysseus faced many trials and proved his leadership skills over and over again. This is especially true in the case of Polyphemus. Other trials include the Circones, the Lotus-eaters, the Lastrygonians, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, and the Cattle of the Sun God. In the middle of the Road of Trials, Odysseus met the witch Circe. After evading her potion, she offered them substantial advise on how to get home. Although Odysseus never felt a true, heart-felt love for Circe, she was the first helpful and beautiful woman he had seen in over ten years. Perhaps this short period of "love" is strengthened by the fact that the crew stayed on her island for a long while. Calypso may be the most fitting to define as the Woman Temptress. She protects Odysseus on her island, but then forces him to stay. However, Odysseus is never swayed by her, and he spends most of the time wishing for home. Circe may also fit somewhat as the Temptress because of her beguiling nature. Symbols Archetypes The Prezi will discuss the patterns of Homer's "The Odyssey." In it, these topics will be shown: Symbols Archetypes The Hero's Journey Apotheosis is a time of rest and enjoyment before the return home. In Odysseus's case, his time of rest came with the Phaeacians, who listened to his entire tale. For once, he had the hospitality of men that he had not had in many years. The ultimate boon in this story is not an object - Odysseus is not searching for the Golden Fleece. He is desperately trying to get home. This is his boon, and so, chronologically, this step may appear after the Magic Flight or even perhaps Rescue From Without. Refusal of the Return does not apply to Odysseus as much. He does not stay with the Phaeacians much and has a desperate urge to get home. This is also not quite as applicable to "The Odyssey" because this step is usually applied to the Hero escaping with the boon. However, there is no physical boon in "The Odyssey" and, therefore, no magic flight could be possible. Perhaps it could refer to help from the gods to get Odysseus off of Calypso's island and into the Phaeacian's lands, but other than this possibility, no other idea comes to mind. Two possibilities for this step could exist for this step. One is that the Phaeacian's helped Odysseus navigate to his home island (they were good seamen, after all). Also Athena also helped with his rescue, especially when she assisted him in his efforts to clear out his palace of the suitors. This step is represented by the Hero taking what he has learned on his quest and beginning to use it in his homeland. For Odysseus, this is exactly what happens. Instead of barging in and killing the suitors, he is patient and relies on the gods for help and advice. He is beginning to use what he has learned, and he even encourages Telemachus to do the same. Odysseus clearly becomes master of the physical world by clearing out the suitors and regaining the love and trust of his wife. However, there is more to this. He has also become a master of the spiritual world, and proof of this is the fact that he relied on Zeus and Athena to help him clear out the suitors. Having returned home, cleared out the suitors, regained his wife, and relied on the gods, it is clear that Odysseus is now at peace (at least more than he was before). Although he has the freedom to live, he knows the correct way to do it: do not boast and give credit to the gods. Just because he has freedom to live does not necessarily mean it will be in his way. It will be in the way that he learned about on the quest. The Storm and Fog The Gods send a storm of fog towards Odysseus's ships. The fog symbolizes the uncertainty of where to go physically, as well as Odysseus's uncertainty and reflection of his past choices. Dawn with Polyphemus When at Polyphemus's cave, it says "When Dawn spread out her fingertips of rose..." (Homer Line 388). Dawn is when Odysseus and his men hid under the sheep to escape from Polyphemus, and it symbolizes deliverance from fear and the hope of escaping the mighty monster. Calypso's Selfishness In the beginning of the story, Odysseus was very selfish and did not give credit to the gods for his success. When the goddess, Calypso, wanted Odysseus to be in love with her, she symbolized the old, selfish, and needy Odysseus. The Journey – Odysseus is called to the Trojan War. Seeing as the war lasted for upwards of 10 years, Ithaca needed a new ruler. Many suitors came to try and take the throne by marrying Penelope. Through his journey Odysseus learns that he needs patience for certain situations. He uses his new found patience to get rid of all of the suitors pining after Penelope and no one in his family was hurt because of his actions. The Journey to learn new lessons is key in many pieces of literature. The White Goddess – Athena was on Odysseus’s side most of the time (even though he denounced all help from the gods during the Trojan War). She was definitely Odysseus's "white," kind, and most helpful goddess. Haven vs. Wilderness – Odysseus and his men encountered many havens throughout their journey such as Circe’s island, Calypso’s island, the Phaeacians’ island, and Ithaca. These havens were the only places Odysseus and his men received any real rest on their journey. Havens, as well as trials, are common throughout many stories, and are definitely common in "The Odyssey." It is likely that Odysseus's atonement comes into play at Calypso's island. He is sad and completely alone and, therefore, has time to think about his past actions. It is here that he realizes his mistakes, and this is when the gods (except for Poseidon) forgive and help him get home.
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