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athena Odyssey: the Journey of  a Hero

Odyssey: The Journey of a Hero

The Heros Journey is never an easy one.  This particular journey, as detailed in Homers The Odyssey, is one of struggle, loss, heartache, pain, growth and triumph.  It is comprised of many steps that Odysseus has to overcome and battle through in order to achieve his final goal of reaching his home and his loved ones.  From the Call to Adventure to the Freedom or Gift of living, Odysseus conquered them all.  The story begins in the middle of the story, as many of the oral Greek traditions did, with the Journey of Telemachus to find his father.  Although Telemachus has not yet met his father, it is almost as if they are journeying together, where the end of both of their journeys results in being reunited.  Telemachus journeys from being a boy to becoming a man, while out in the sea Odysseus is battling Poseidon to return to the home that wife that he loves and the home he has left behind.  

The first step in any heros journey is the Call to Adventure, or the seperation from the pack.  For Odysseus this call happened while he was on Calypsos Island.  Up on Olympus Athena had convinced Zeus of her case and Hermes was dispatched to free Odysseus from Calypsos grasp.  Odysseus was settled here for quite some time and had no way of escape until Calypso was forced by the gods to let him go.  This is where his journey begins.  At first Odysseus is very skeptical of this freedom and thinks that it is a trick by Calypso, which is the denial stage that follows the call to adventure.  This stage seperates Odysseus once agaian from what has become familiar to him.  He is called to journey alone once again to gain what it is that he has wanted for so long.  For Telemachus his call came due to the perils he was facing in his own home with suitors competing for his mothers love.  They started to eat him out of house and home and began to disrespect his mother.  Before this Telemachus had stayed quiet, and had not taken action.  Telemachus got summoned to branch out from his mother and his home to venture out on a journey of his own.  It was now his time to become a man.

In every journey the hero also has a mentor.  In this story Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, has taken on this role for both Odysseus and Telemachus.  Athena was by Odysseus side as a guide for much of the beginning of his Journey.  Athena also is a guide to Odysseus when hes not even aware of her, with her pleas to Zeus on Mount Olympus.  When Odysseus was trapped on Calypsos island it was Athena who was pleading with the gods for him to be allowed to leave that place.  Athena acts as a source of inspiration and the object of many pleas throughout this epic.  While in Ithaca Athena took the guise of the old man Mentes.   It was under this guise that Athena went to Telemachus and made him realize that it was his time to start his journey.  Athena/Mentes gathered men for Telemachus to journey with and even accompanied him upon his journey.  Athena/Mentes acted as a guide for Telemachus prodding him in every situation on how to step up and be a man.  

The First threshold is the beginning of the pro-active part of the heros journey.  This is the first of the trials, usually less tiring or arduous than the others.  Odysseus began his journey when leaving Calypsos island.  He conquered his skepticism and denial and realized that it was time for him to leave, for him to finally try to get to his home.  As he hits the open sea, Poseidon who has not forgotten his grudge for Odysseus due to events past spots him.  Poseidon unleashes his rage unto Odysseus and manipulates the sea almost to the point of drowning Odysseus.  So Odysseus survives and this begins his true journey home where his drive and will are going to have to conquer the tests that Poseidon has set before ... more

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Homer's Ajax

The relevance that the themes of tragedy could have to issues affecting the
city-state even in plays whose plots had ostensibly nothing to do with life in a
polis shows up clearly in Sophocles' play entitled Ajax, presented in the early
440s B.C. The play bore the name of the second-best warrior (Achilles had been
preeminent) in the Greek army that besieged Troy in the Trojan War. When his
fellow Greek soldiers voted to award the armor of the dead Achilles to the wily
Odysseus instead of himself, Ajax went on a berserk rampage against his former
friends which the goddess Athena thwarted because Ajax had once rejected her
help in battle. Disgraced by his failure to secure revenge Ajax committed
suicide. Odysseus then stepped in to convince the Greek chiefs to bury Ajax
despite his attempted treachery because the future security of the army and the
obligations of friendship demanded that they obey the divine injunction always
to bury the dead. Odysseus' arguments in favor of burying Ajax anachronistically
treat the army as if it were a polis, and his use of persuasive speech to
achieve accommodation of conflicting individual interests to the benefit of the
community corresponds to the way in which disputes in the polis were supposed to
be resolved.


Mythology ... more

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