Essay on Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey

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The Importance of Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey


In the epic poem, Odyssey, Homer provides examples of the consequences of impulsive and irrational thinking, and the rewards of planning and rationality.

 Impulsive actions prove to be very harmful to Odysseus. His decisions when he is escaping the cave of the Cyclops lead to almost all his troubles through his journey. As Odysseus flees the cave, he yells back "Cyclops - if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so - say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out you eye." This enrages the giant, and he prays to Poseidon "grant that Odysseus, raider of cities, Laertes' son who makes his home in Ithaca, never reaches home. Or if he's
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The ship lands on the island of the Sungod, Helios. Odysseus was told to refrain from eating the livestock there on the island for fear of angering the Sungod. Odysseus warns the crew of this, but as food runs out, the crew looks to the livestock available. It is decided to slaughter the cattle and eat, and this infuriates Helios. He asks Zeus to pay them back for what they've done, and Zeus agrees "on the wine-dark sea I'll hit their racing ship with a white-hot bolt, I'll tear it to splinters." Zeus does so, and as a result, Odysseus finds himself alone out on the open sea, without a ship.


It is easily seen throughout the poem that planned, rational thinking is the better way. The Phoecian bard Demodocus sings a song of The love of Ares and Aphrodite Crowned with Flowers. A story of Aphrodite, Hephaestus' wife, and her adulterous relationship with Ares, it shows how cunning can win the day. Hephaestus finds out about the adultery occurring in his house, and creates a net "all to pin the lovers on the spot." He strings the net over the bed, and when Ares and Aphrodite join each other in bed, the net snares them in the act. The other gods "stood at the gates and uncontrollable laughter burst from the happy gods when they saw the god of fire's subtle, cunning work." It was easily seen how

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