Odysseus's Challenges

Essay by Michael BrodaHigh School, 10th grade January 1996

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In The Odyssey, Odysseus had to face many challenges during his travels; a few of these difficulties were a cannibalistic Cyclops, huge whirlpools, determined suitors, along with many hardships. Odysseus fought constantly to return to his homeland of Ithaca, but to accomplish this Odysseus had to be clever, resourceful, and have great leadership qualities.

Odysseus proved throughout the story that he was very clever. When he was faced with having to get out of Polyphemus's cave, Odysseus first told the Cyclops, 'My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends, / everyone calls me Nohbdy'. (pg. 452, 341-342) Odysseus told him this because he knew if the other Cyclopes would come and ask who was with him, they would think that 'Nohbdy' was there. In another episode, Odysseus outsmarted the Sirens; he wanted to listen to their sweet song, but he knew he would try to jump overboard.

It was then he got the notion to tell his crew, '...you are to tie me up, tight as a splint, / erect along the mast, lashed to the mast, / and if I shout and beg to be untied, / take more turns of rope to muffle me.' (pg. 459, 536-539) This and telling the crew members to put wax in their ears ensured that Odysseus, alone, could listen to the Sirens' song and not die. When Odysseus had to figure out how he could kill the Suitors who were staying in his house, he had Athena disguise him as an old beggar and then told Telemachus, his son, to hide all of the Suitors' weapons and armor. If they asked Telemachus what he was doing, he was to tell them he was storing the weapons so that none of the suitors would kill each other if they got...