Odysseus- The Man Skilled in All Ways of Contending (from the Odyssey by Homer)

Essay by freddysockJunior High, 9th gradeB, October 2004

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In The Odyssey by Homer, the character Odysseus proves his resourcefulness and intelligence. He uses this cleverness throughout the book in his adventures, proving his peira, or worth, since he is an epic hero. He is known by all, including the gods, for his cleverness.

On the island of Kalypso, Odysseus proves that he is faithful to his wife and also clever in how he addresses Kalypso. Kalypso begs him in Book 5 to stay with her, and her temptation nearly makes Odysseus fall for her allure. She promises not only to save him from having to face problems in getting home, but to also give him immortality, which is a very desirable choice for anyone. But Odysseus is not interested. He wants to be back with his wife, but when asked who is more beautiful, he tactfully replies to Kalypso:

"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"(p. 87)

Saying that Kalypso is more beautiful than Penelope is smart. Kalypso's plea causes tension in Odysseus' journey. He wants to see his wife and home again, but he also presumably wants all the tempting things Kalypso has to offer. He makes a wise decision in making her swear by the Styx that she will not try to harm him if he chooses to go home. This is wise, as she cannot break this promise, and proves his cunning.

Odysseus proves his resourcefulness a couple times on the island of the Cyclops known as Polyphemos. Odysseus tells the Cyclops that his name is "Nobody," so after poking the monster's eye out, the Cyclops cannot tell the others of his race who disabled him. He...