The Theme of Loyalty
As Portrayed in Greek Literature
Throughout the ages, Greek literature has both entertained and guided audiences through the themes displayed within each work. There are five dominate themes among most literary works of the time that include: hospitality, courage, opposition to tyranny, loyalty, and love. The Greek tragedy Antigone, along with the epic The Odyssey, all focus around the center of the ever-present theme of loyalty. Loyalty serves as a value, which helps to guide characters along the right path, while the characters that lack this trait find themselves in the midst of a world of deceit and dishonor.
The Odyssey, by Homer, is a Greek epic that is a long, episodic narrative in medias res, which shows the characteristics of the people and a hero who encompasses all the virtues that the people strive to achieve. Odysseus is the ideal king of Ithaca who embodies physical strength, courage, travel, perseverance, cleverness, and loyalty.
Loyalty is not only exemplified through Odysseus, but through his wife Penelope, and son Telemakhos as well.
Odysseus has been on a journey for about twenty years, which has kept him away from his family and Ithaca. He has prevailed through many hardships and tests along the way. His hope and determination to return home are kept alive through his love and loyalty to his family. Upon one of his voyages, the seductress Kalypso, who is of exquisite beauty and charm, tempted Odysseus. He abstains from any romantic interactions with her through his longing for home and his wife. "My lady goddess, here is no cause for anger. My quiet Penelope-how well I know-would seem a shade before your majesty, death and old age being unknown to you, while she must die. Yet, it is true, each day I long for...