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Destiny, Fate and Free Will in Homer’s Odyssey – Test for Destiny

The Odyssey: The Test for Destiny

Throughout The Odyssey man is continually being tested to determine his destiny. He is tested for loyalty, determination, and valor. Odysseus along with many other characters have to conquer these values to determine their destiny. For example Odysseus is tested for loyalty to Penelope while out at sea. Then tested for his determination to get home. At times he was doubtful, but he never gave up. And lastly he was tested for his valor. He fought many battles to get home. And in the end it all turned out how he wanted it because he has passed all of his tests for his destiny. His destiny was determined by him, he truly wanted to get home, and indeed he did.

Loyalty is a very important element in one’s life. When Odysseus is testing all of the men and women he once counted on before he went away, he tests them to see how loyal to him they all still are. One man he tested for loyalty is Eumaeus, “Thus spoke Odysseus- making trial of the swineherd to see if he would longer give him a hearty welcome and urge his staying at the farm, or if he would send his strait way to town”(148). Eumaeus’ decision will base Odysseus’ decision on whether to trust Eumaeus or not for his loyalty to Odysseus. If Eumaeus decides to send the “old man” or Odysseus out to town and not allow him to stay with him at the farm that shows that Eumaeus is no longer kind hearted, and he will go along with the rest of the suitors with the destiny of despair. But if he decides to let the old man stay with him then Odysseus can trust him. Of course Eumaeus allows the old man to stay with him, and at that time Odysseus knew that Eumaeus was able to be trusted, and he could rely on him to help destroy the…

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…suitors were willing to do anything in their power to get Penelope in their hands. Odysseus did like one man of all the suitors, “Indeed Amphinomus you seem a man of understanding…”(176). It is not as if Odysseus wanted to automatically kill all of the suitors, it is just instinct to go after a rich, beautiful woman, so he gave one man he liked a chance to get out while he could, but the man did not listen to Odysseus.

Throughout all of the lives that were handled by the gods, all of them had to go under some sort of test. Odysseus is the main man with this whole life being one giant test. He was tested numerous times to see if he was worth what he wanted. He was tested with loyalty, determination, and valor. All of which are vital elements of one’s life, in one way or another.

Life in Homer’s Odyssey

The Odyssey: Life

Odyssey a long series of wanderings filled with notable experience and hardships, or in other words the journey of life. Homer’s The Odyssey is an epic poem telling of one man’s journey. Odysseus, the chosen traveler of this Odyssey, represents the will and perseverance of all humanity. Odysseus’ journey symbolizes the true toils of mankind’s development through, agility, doubt, and faith.

In life, agility is needed time and time again, to get out of sticky situations. Odysseus’ agility is well proven when he uses his guile to outsmart the Cyclops. While trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, Odysseus has to come up with a quick escape plan to save himself and his remaining comrades. Using his cunning ways, he introduces himself to the Cyclops as Noman, and then rids him of his one eye. In a cry for help, Polyphemus calls out, “Friends, Noman is murdering me by craft…” (86). Being able to respond quickly in desperate situations gives Odysseus power over his enemy. Odysseus’ agility is in many ways more powerful than his force.

Odysseus often uses verbal irony to charm and win the ways of others. In situations in which Odysseus lacks control, he frequently uses fake flattery to persuade others of his opinion. In an effort to return on his homeward way, from the island of Calypso, Odysseus compares Calypso to his wife Penelope, saying to her, “Full well I know that heedful Penelope, compared with you, is poor to look upon in height and beauty; for she is human…” (49). By boosting the confidence of Calypso, Odysseus is sent on his way with good wishes. The power to come up with such clever words is an example of Odysseus’ agility.

Using his agility, Odysseus overpo…

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…ou would be much surprised to see his speed and strength. For nothing could escape him in the forest-depth, no creature that he started; he was keen upon the scent. Now he has come ill. In a strange land his master perished” (167). Argos and Odysseus are reflective of each other because they are both weary of travel and pain, yet they both carry on and remain faithful. This reliance and faith upon each other has carried them through the hardships of their Odysseys and brought them together in the end.

The trials of The Odyssey are easily symbolic of those of life. In life, obstacles, similar to those of Odysseus’, are set and similar challenges must be overcome. Without development through agility, doubt and faith, Odysseus would have been venturing through his Odyssey blindly. Without the same developments, mankind will also venture through life blindly.

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