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Recklessness in the Odyssey Essay

Odysseus’ overdeveloped pride and arrogance led him to act recklessly in Book Nine of the Odyssey. This caused unfortunate scenarios for both Odysseus and his men.

Odysseus had a lot of pride. This is shown when he states that he is “known to the world” and that his fame “has reached the skies” – book 9 line 21-22This is the pride that he has of his name, which leads to his questionable judgment. He regarded as a great hero and that makes him believe that his decisions cannot be wrong. It is very interesting that in the Greek culture where reputation is so significant, it is the very thing that leads to his damaging behavior.

Odysseus shows recklessness throughout the novel. Instead of continuing his journey, Odysseus wanted to explore the mainland, the Land of the Cyclops. Once he arrived at the cave, Odysseus wants to gain hospitality of the owner. His questionable judgment lies here. He does not know if the ,inhabitants are civilized or caring, nonetheless, he makes an uniformed, risky decision. He even expresses this: “what are they – violent savage, lawless? or friendly to strangers, god-fearing men?” book 9 lines 195-196Later on, after Odysseus cleverly defeated the Cyclops, which evidently put him in an even higher state of pride. He taunted Polyphemus long after he had been utterly defeated.

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Then he went on to revealed his true identity to the CyclopsHe suffered the horrible consequences of his impulsive decisions and actions. Several of his men died horrendous deaths. Their limbs were torn and then they were eaten by a monster. When he instigates the blinded giant, he almost ends the lives of his entire crew because the Cyclops hurls a boulder at the boat. Even though it misses, the aftermath of its splash almost pushed them into Polyphemus’ reach. Once Polyphemus knew that it was the great Odysseus who had blinded him, he prayed to his powerful father Poseidon for revenge. This is how Homer points out to us that we should not act on impulse.

Bibliography:

The Odyssey by Homer

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