Odyssseus' lying

Essay by gavinbrown101 October 2006

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Odysseus, the great spokesman, blessed in speech, tests the limits of his interactions with others in order to obtain what he desires. In Odysseus' tale, he cleverly plays with Eumaeus' affection attached to his lost king, by addressing his involvement in the battle of Troy where the swineherd's beloved king showed "Odysseus" favor in providing him a soldiers cloak. In effect, the swineherd declares, "You won't want for clothes. . .not for tonight" (Book 14, line 577-579). On more than one occasion, Odysseus is seen less than honest. But was quickly check by the goddess of war, Athena, who seems to admire rather than take offense to his deceit. "You are so winning, so worldy-wise, so self-possessed!" (Book 13, line 377) Homer uses this scene between Odysseus and Eumaeus to underline Odysseus' childish and impulsive nature, who lies because he is good at it, and who asserts his greatest by testing his limits, portraying himself as more of a trickster than a wise king.

A power hungry king who feels the urge to test his limits in manipulating others in action.

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1996.