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The Odyssey Essay

Schools around the world have been studying Homer’s epic poem “Odyssey” for centuries. The influence of this Greek oeuvre is incredibly powerful, as it remains relevant even during the pragmatic Digital Age. Therefore, there are high chances you have already written the Odyssey essay at least once in your life. Yet, if you study World Literature at the university, you may get this assignment at an advanced level. It can be an extended essay or a multi-layered project devoted to an in-depth analysis of this Homer’s masterpiece.

The most astonishing fact is that Homer created this poem in 700BC, which makes it one of the oldest surviving poems ever. Of course, the earliest known piece written by Homer is “The Iliad.” However, the adventures of Odysseus have been adapted in other literary works and films much more frequently. It takes place after the Trojan War when the distinguished warrior and king of Ithaca returns home.

What is interesting, “Odyssey” belongs to both ancient literature and classic literature. The most popular example of Odyssey’s free adaptation is “Ulysses” by James Joyce. He drew a range of parallels between the characters and events in the original poem, making them part of his 730-page long modernist novel. One of the most enticing assignments given to literature students is to analyze the original “Odyssey” and “Ulysses,” comparing and contrasting their themes.

In both “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” Homer reveals the traditions, values, beliefs, and moral codes of the Ancient Greeks. The dominant theme is related to heroism and the capabilities of a man who struggles with supernatural powers. Of course, similarly to any work widely based on mythology, it explores the nature of Gods, the inevitable fate, endless glory of deities and humans, as well as vices and virtues. Many of these matters have become universal, so no wonder they are topical to this day.

If you are assigned to produce a research paper on this large epic poem divided into 24 books, then our tips will greatly help you. Jot down the main ideas shared by professionals and write a great essay about the Odyssey.

Structure of the Odyssey Essay

You should not be appalled by the extensiveness of the assigned essay on the Odyssey. Treat it like your personal adventure. This literary journey into the ancient fictional realm will be even more exciting if you have to read this masterpiece for the first time. It will not only enrich your knowledge about Ancient Greece, but also teach you to work with complicated mythological symbols, unravel the meanings behind the images of deities, heroes, and even whimsical creatures. Despite the uniqueness of such an essay or an article, the structure has to be strictly academic. Thus, it should necessarily include such integral structural parts as the introduction, main body, and conclusion.

  • When crafting your introduction for the Odyssey essay, remember that it should draw the attention of your readers right from the start. The primary sentences are quintessential to evoke interest in the work under analysis. In such literary essays, a thought-provoking thesis statement plays an integral role. It should be also placed in the introductory part. The odyssey essay thesis will guide your readers into the essence of the chosen theme.
  • Your main body should consist of coherently connected paragraphs, which unravel your essay’s focal ideas to the fullest. Every new part will be incomplete without a topic sentence, which reflects the core insights of the paragraph. You can place this sentence at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the separate essay part.
  • The conclusion of the Odyssey essay does not differ much from other concluding chapters of the projects dedicated to some literary piece. Besides the common reiteration of the fundamental points discussed in the main body, you have to remind your audience of the importance of the epic poem through the lens of modernity. Let your readers appreciate the value of the ancient oeuvre once more.

Although it may seem to be challenging to write an Odyssey essay for the first time, you will quickly know what you do if you concentrate on the specific themes. It is impossible to scrutinize all the themes of such a lengthy composition in only one essay, but it is incredibly useful to delve into Odyssey essay prompts from experts.

Themes Students Tend to Explore in An Odyssey Essay

Students are often allowed to come up with their own topic related to Homer’s Odyssey. Do not worry if you cannot choose the subject that interests you the most among a variety of themes. If experimenting with topics is not your cup of tea, then you can choose something from the following list:

  • Hospitality in the Odyssey essay. Homer deeply explores the hospitality of strangers. He shows some peculiar elements of the reception of strangers, even heroes, in the ancient Greek world. The author mostly demonstrates it in the light of duty. Every man owes something not only to his fellow man but also to gods. All humans equally fear the rage of their supreme god Zeus.
  • The depiction of loyalty. Loyalty or commitment is vividly depicted in the Odyssey essay. While people are loyal to deities, humans also display devotion towards heroes. For instance, Telemachus and Penelope exemplify faithfulness to Odysseus.
  • The matter of fate. Fate embodies an enticing phenomenon in this mythological realm. It personifies some invisible creature, which can be both merciful and inexplicably wicked. Fate often takes over Odysseus and his fellow men, letting only gods decide what to do with them.
  • The symbolism of the hero’s deeds. This epic work is full of symbols. In order to guess them, it is favorable to ask certain questions. For example: is there a symbolic connotation of the main hero’s struggles? Can you draw parallels between Odysseus’ ordeals and the challenges contemporary people face? What does the overall Odysseus journey symbolize?
  • The theme of revenge. The theme of reprisal is typical of Ancient Greek poems and plays. You can analyze it, considering the “complicated relationship” between Odysseus and Poseidon. Vengeance leads to bloodshed, but Poseidon murders all other men except the main hero. Yet, the god makes him suffer throughout the journey. How can you explain it?
  • The role of female characters. Ponder on the roles of women in the epic story. There are not many female characters in the poem. The funny fact is that one of them is a sea monster. The most memorable woman is indeed Odysseus’ wife Penelope. There is also a female deity Athena. Other characters are peripheral.

If you begin writing an essay on the Odyssey as a freshman, then the mentioned themes are more than enough to explore. In case of a more creative task, you can compare your own experience, temptations, and life struggles to the ones depicted in the epic poem.

Sample

Female Fidelity in the Odyssey

Human values transform throughout history and reflect cultural, economic and religious aspects of a corresponding society. The role of woman has changed over the centuries, but some part of it remains the same. Despite the crisis of the family as an institution, fidelity as a basis of marriage is still relevant these days. In Homer’s time, however, it was even more important because the role of woman was totally confined to her household. Therefore, Penelope, Odyssey’s wife, reflects a historical role model of decent woman, who remained faithful to her husband under all circumstances.

In order to understand why fidelity is an essential trait of a good wife, it is worth focusing on the traditional statuses of man and woman. Modern women rarely agree to devote themselves totally to their families and choose career paths and social interaction. However, even these days, it should be accepted that the relationship is a priority for woman just because of her nature. It is important to achieve for man while it is vital to communicate for woman. This is why it would be fair to say woman is largely responsible for climate and comfort in marriage. This statement was even more correct in Homer’s time when being a wife and mother was a woman’s main task.

In the Odyssey, the traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity are presented. Man is a researcher and traveler; he goes on a quest while his wife should wait for him. In fact, masculinity is active, and femininity is passive. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say that woman is presented as powerless. On the contrary, she has a special power, which is different from a man’s authority. She is a creator of home, where her husband can return after years. In order to be successful in the world, he must know that this is home, where he is loved and waited. In this case, he feels secure despite all the circumstances and dangers, which he inevitably meets on his way. He knows that even if he is beaten and lost, if he is betrayed by everyone, there is one person who will never betray him – his wife. This story in the Odyssey can be treated as metaphorical today when marriage is considered. In fact, this pattern explains why fidelity is so important for a good wife. The woman’s role in this case is to ensure stability that will empower her man and enable him to stand up even if he falls.

If the character of Penelope is considered, it should be noted that fidelity is a complicated choice. Her husband is absent for twenty years; she lives alone and never knows if he would ever return to her. It is a temptation taking into account that it was far more difficult and less socially acceptable to live alone for women in Homer’s time. She has suitors who offer marriage to her, but she remains faithful to her husband even in the situation of uncertainty. Thus, it is a poetic justice that her husband returns to her even he has numerous chances to die, which implies the idea that there is a connection between fidelity and a happy ending.

As a consequence, it should be noted that metaphorically, Penelope’s fidelity and belief in her husband saves Odyssey from death because it is the gods’ will to make it happen. These days, despite the fact that the women’s lifestyle and scope of opportunities has changed dramatically, fidelity is still an important aspect of a successful marriage.

Conclusion

If you read the above information thoughtfully, then there should not be any problem in creating a brilliant Odyssey essay. However, we understand if you still feel confused or overwhelmed with such a profound task. Always keep in mind that our professionals at Essays-Service.com are masters of literary projects. It is easy to place an order related to the Odyssey. Our experts will work assiduously, following every detail from your instructions. Further, it will serve as your perfect template for other literature-based pieces.