Insight Into Odysseus Essay

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What picture of Odysseus does Homer create in the first part of Book 5 of The Odyssey?

Book 5 is the first book in The Odyssey where we are introduced to our hero, Odysseus, although we have already formed some opinions of him through the Telemachi.

The opening scene of book 5 brings us to Mount Olympus, where the Gods are holding a meeting when Athene, Zeus’ daughter brings up Odysseus’ plight. We learn that he is kind, generous and law abiding, although Athene states he “might just as well devote his days to tyranny and lawless deeds” as everyone in Ithaca (as well as the Gods) seem to have forgotten all of the good he has done in his absence. He is also described as a “captive” prisoner on Calypso’s island of Ogygia, “left to
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It is hard at this point to immediately imagine this as a great warrior’s prison, but from what we know of Odysseus so far, the strong, mighty hero, it soon becomes clear; On an Island so serene and almost entirely deserted apart from Odysseus and his captor, it offers very little opportunity for him to do anything remotely heroic, which he may have welcomed initially after his struggles at sea with Poseidon, but enduring it for 7 years would have been nothing short of torture for someone used to living life as a constant uphill battle.

This is largely down to Calypso, who is a strong-willed, fiery minor Goddess, a force to be reckoned with, a woman scorned by being denied the one thing she truly wants; to be loved in return by Odysseus. She is what all men ultimately want and fear, the caring mother figure and the seductive temptress rolled into one.
In Book 5 when Hermes delivers the message from the Gods that she must let Odysseus go, her fiery side is revealed when she addresses the age-old argument against male hypocrisy: Calypso points out that the male gods are allowed to have mortal lovers while goddesses are not. It seems this double standard continues in cases of mortal infidelity in the Odyssey(and, often, in the modern world). It is alright for

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