Odyssey Essay Example: Perseverance


Perseverance refers to the act of putting unrelenting effort towards the achievement of a particular goal. Perseverance is to keep on doing something despite the challenges, opposition, and difficulties experienced in the course of achieving the said goal. The book Odyssey is a Greek poetic tale about the experience of homecoming to the Greek warriors who went to war for their country. The book is most relevant to the topic of this essay which is perseverance. The relevance of the book to the theme of persistence is based on the long wait the heroes described in the book had to go through to make the homecoming. The difficulties of war and the challenges of the sea they had to go through to make it back home also demonstrate persistence. The statement, “At least, those who had survived the war and the sea were safely back home. Only Odysseus still longed to return to his home and his wife” shows the desire to reach the destination despite the existing challenges (Book 1 p.83). Therefore, the ability to persevere sufferings that one undergoes can contribute to benefits after the passing tests and obstacles that one face given that life remains a struggle.  

How Odyssey Portrays Perseverance

Odyssey portrays perseverance to motivate readers to continue working towards their objectives. Odysseus’s 10-year challenges coupled with his absence in the family setting highlights the determination that individuals need to develop. Odysseus’ experiences are comparable to that of his predecessor Agamemnon, to support diligence and strength among populations. Zeus, the father of Gods, narrates Agamemnon’s story through “Aegisthus, whom Agamemnon’s son, Orestes had killed. Aegisthus married Agamemnon’s lawful wife and murdered the man on his return” (Book 1 pg. 85). The ability of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, to disregard marriage suitors indicates perseverance in Odysseus’s family. The book illustrates that “She went up the stairs to her room with her women and wept for Odysseus, her beloved husband” to indicate how the wife waited for her husband (Book 1 pg. 98). According to the poetic tale, the wife of Odysseus had kept away the youths in Ithaca for three years without falling to their attempt to take her husband’s place. She also persevered despite the actions of the youths, which involved wasting away her husband’s wealth. The theme of perseverance is also applied in explaining the patience of Odysseus’ son as he waited to become come of age. Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, had to take the difficulty of seeing his father’s wealth wasted away by her mother’s suitors because he was too young to take any action and had to wait to come of age. He says that “all the nobles who rule the island, Dulichium, Same, wooded Zacynthus and all those with power on rocky Ithaca are courting his mother and ruining his house” (Book 1 pg. 93). 

Odysseus’ experience trapped in the Island of Ogygia, where he was confined for seven years with a goddess is also an indication of the application of persistence in the book. The author presents the time in the Island as among the challenging times that the author had to go through while waiting to return home. Athena, reels off the tale of Odysseus, stating that “he’s still languishing on that island, detained against his will by that nymph Calypso” (Book 5 pg. 176). The author presents the long wait by Odysseus as to finally get back home as an act of persistence. The return of Odysseus, as shown by the author, is set in motions by the divine realms and not by the people whom Odysseus left behind. The plan that the Gods set in motion to bring Odysseus back home also portrays the theme of persistence as it is a long process that involves multiple challenges.

The Voyage of Telemachus 

The voyage of Telemachus also demonstrates how the essay has applied the theme of perseverance. In essence, Telemachus’ journey that eventually led him to his father was full of challenges and difficulties, but he managed to sail through due to persistence. The voyages to Ithaca had led to the death of many heroes who dared to win the war but did not make it back home due to the sea. However, it was due to perseverance that Telemachus was able to make it back to Ithaca with his father. Additionally, Telemachus had to remain determined to make it to the point where he took the voyage, as “an opportunity to discover and display his inherent nobility and a son of Odysseus” (Garvie pg. 9). The actions of Athena, who acted as a guide to Telemachus in his voyage, also demonstrate the application of the theme of perseverance in Homer “Odyssey.” In particular, Athenas had to act in disguise, yet he was a strong supporter of Odysseus (Book 4 pg. 150). Her long wait to give back her support to the Ithaca leader and his involvement in the search for Odysseus is an act of persistence.

Odysseus’ experience after leaving the Island, where he was trapped also demonstrates the desire and resolve in his objectives. The author tells of how Hermes was sent to free Odysseus from Calypso, and how he survived a storm sent to him by his divine enemy, the sea-god Poseidon. Odysseus survives drowning narrowly only to find himself in an isolated island of the Phaeacians. He says to himself after surviving the waves that “Zeus has let me see land I never hoped to see and I’ve cut my way to the end of this gulf” (Book 5 pg. 192). The survival of Odysseus after leaving the Island and his survival through the storm and demonstrate the theme of persistence. It took determination for Odysseus to survey the war and the journey back home. The poetic tale of Odyssey, therefore, portrays the idea of perseverance.

The experience of Odysseus during his time in the war at Troy is told in the middle of the poem, where he recounts his experience to his hosts, the Phaeacians. Odysseus’ involvement is not only fascinating but also clearly demonstrates the will to succeed. Odyssey recounts several aspects of his experience that include “his confrontation with the one-eyed giant and the visit to the land of the lotus-eaters” (Book 12 pg. 337). The entire experience of Odysseus in his journey during the time of war at Troy consisted of experiences that were not only difficult but also life-threatening. This section of the poem shows the application of persistence by describing some of the experiences of Odysseus as he narrated to his hosts. Some of the experiences of Odysseus that show reveal the application of persistence include his battle with wits and the enchantress cycle (Book 9 pg. 248). During the struggle, he faced the risk of turning into a pig as was the routine of the enchantress cycle towards man. Another difficulty that Odysseus faced during the journey was the difficult passage between two horrific monsters among many other challenges that tested his determination and continued desire to return home.

How the Return of Odysseus Portrays Perseverance

The last section of the poetic tale, which covers the return of Odysseus back to Ithaca and the process of his recovery to take back his house and his place in the Island, also portrays perseverance. The last part of the poetic tale narrates how Odysseus came back to the Island in disguise as an old beggar. He describes himself as “a traveller from a far land and a stranger in need (Book 7 pg. 210). The poem describes how Odysseus met his son and introduced himself to him. The contest and the bloody battle that resemble the fight at Troy form the final part of the poem.

The process that Odysseus used to take back his position as the husband to his wife and the well-planned plot with his son to defeat the many suitors of his wife is proof of the theme of persistence. He had to be patient and persevering to witness what the suitors had done to his wealth and his wife. He also had to be persevering to act in disguise as an old beggar after the experience in the war and getting stuck in an Island with a goddess for seven years. Odysseus had defeated even his divided enemy, and the act of assuming the position of an old egger was a significant demonstration of the theme of perseverance.

The main character of the poetic tale, Odyssey is a very cunning and intelligent person, whose ability to come back home and take back his position was dependent on his perseverance. His ability to act on disguise at different stages of his journey also demonstrated a person who was persevering. This is because he was able to keep a low profile and say one thing while thinking about another every time he acted in disguise. His acting in disguise during the different situations demonstrates an element of persistence in the individual. The poem first introduces the reader to Odysseus’ ability to act in disguise when he identifies himself as “no man” during his encounter with the two monstrous Cyclops. He was also able to disguise himself to the Phaeacians until they gained his trust. He disguised himself as an old beggar when he returned to Ithaca until he reclaimed his family. Odysseus’ ability to disguise himself demonstrates a persevering man. 

Additionally, the suffering of Odysseus and his family endured during the period that he was away demonstrated the significance of the persistence to the poem. The wife persevered through the period amid the change and difficulty posed by the suitors as the son had to watch the suitors and do nothing until he was ready to take his place as royalty. In essence, it takes perseverance to keep once head down and watch as challenges and difficulties tear the heart apart. The theme of persistence is therefore very central in Homer “Odyssey” because it impacts almost every aspect of the book.

Final Word

The theme of perseverance is very openly applied in Homer “Odyssey” to illustrate desire and willpower to achieve objectives. The whole poetic tale is based on persistence indicating how characters remained loyal to their goals despite the existing obstacles. Odysseus’ thought of the wife and child illustrate the responsiveness that a parent should have towards a family. The element is crucial as it creates the desire to meet the objectives despite the challenges that arise from adversaries.

The book also teaches the importance of being humbler as the virtue may prevent punishments that Poseidon gave Odysseus by making his journey back home more dehumanizing. The sufferings that Odysseus underwent in the ten-year duration portray the importance of spiritual growth. Interacting with the gods and requesting for help is essential as the process leads to the provision of hope that assists one to achieve the intended goals. Talking to the gods made Odysseus stronger, thereby making him pass the tests that he was given in various stages. Homer, through Odyssey, teaches that success in life has barriers, however, incorporating determination in the struggle leads to the realization of goals as depicted by the union between Odysseus and his family.

 

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