In antiquity, the civilized world was settled around the Mediterranean Basin – the foundations of Western society can be traced to Hellenic Greece, which bordered the Aegean Sea. For the Greeks, the sea was the realm of the gods. In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus and he crew face many trials and tribulations that isolate and ameliorate them to teach the reader that the consequences of temptation must be conquered with absolute perseverance.
When Odysseus and his crew arrive on the island of the Lotus-eaters, every man eats the Lotus fruit and is tempted to remain exiled on the isle in a deep sleep forever; it is only that after Odysseus removes his crew that they are able to continue on their journey. By being on an uncharted region of the earth, Odysseus felt that he and his crew were very alienated. If Odysseus had not expelled his crew, this apathetic temptation, which was induced by the fruit, would have bound his sailors to remain exiled on this lethargic island.
This exile alienates the sailors because it convinces them that this island, not Ithaca, is where they truly belong. Because the voyage was brought upon our Ithacan by divine beings, the will of Odysseus must be as headstrong as the gods’ and he must observe circumstances with immortal clarity. By realizing the temptation to remain idle, Odysseus was able to save his crew so that they could make it back to Mycenae. By working hard to prove to his seamen that it is necessary to depart from the island of the lotophagi, Odysseus exemplifies perseverance of the greatest degree as a way to conquer temptation.
Upon leaving the detestable island of Lotus, Odysseus himself uses his wit and determination to accept and surpass his temptation of listening to the fatal song of the sirens while proceeding to live. As the ten-year-long exile continues, Odysseus passes by the island of the beautiful female race that is called “the sirens” by humans. The song of the sirens is said to lure sailors to sail their ships directly into the rocky coast of their island. Unfortunately, being exiled causes Odysseus to strive for adrenaline rushes, thus causing him to submit to his temptation of hearing hese beautiful beings.
Odysseus’s indefatigability is illustrated by his persuading of his crew to tie him to the mast of the ship and by forcing them to plug their ears with beeswax as a way to muffle to the song. While Odysseus allows himself to be taken by his temptation, all consequences of his actions are completely derailed. While still at exile at sea, Odysseus’s abilities are enriched by his cunning in this unique situation. At last, Odysseus tenacity is shown in contrast to that of his crew when his sailors are enticed by the glorious cattle of Hyperion, the titan of the sun.
While on Circe’s isle, she informs Odysseus that the cattle belong to the gods and he, in turn, commands his posse to refrain from touching the sheep. Unfortunately, they disobey and Hyperion appeals to Zeus, who destroys the entire ship, sparing only Odysseus. By juxtaposing the fates of Odysseus and his men, the reader can see that temptation correlates directly to fate. This form of exile does two different things, one to each grouping that was outlined above, Odysseus or the crew.
While considering that the crew was mercilessly murdered, it is evident that they are alienated from life. Odysseus, on the other hand, is enriched by this experience because it solidifies his belief that pertinacity is the only way to combat tantalization. Throughout the adventures and misadventures of Odysseus, the reader is taught that exile can both enrich and alienate he who is alienated. All the while, exile can act as solid evidence that the consequences of temptation can only be obliterated with iron-willed perseverance.