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"Eumaeus is the most admirable character in 'The Odyssey'" How far would you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

"EUMAEUS IS THE MOST ADMIRABLE CHARACTER IN 'THE ODYSSEY'" HOW FAR WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT? CLASSICAL CIVILISATIONS ESSAY BY DANIEL HORTON H OMER'S 'THE ODYSSEY' CONTAINS MANY DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. SOME ARE monsters, some are slaves, some are beautiful and cunning women and some are powerful kings. In Homeric literature, a character is either good or bad depending on their xenia or shape (e.g. Charybdis). However, from reading 'The Odyssey', one can see the admirable characters and the not so admirable characters. Such characters have either good or bad xenia, old or young, male or female, some can be a menial as a slave (such as Eumaeus) and some can be as great as a Troy hero and king (such as Nestor). This is an exploration of whether or not Eumaeus is the most admirable character in 'The Odyssey' or not. We first meet Odysseus' swineherd in Book Fourteen in the porch of his hut. He had been caring for Odysseus' property during his absence. Odysseus appears to him as a beggar and despite the status that such person has, Eumaeus being but a servant understands xenia and entertains Odysseus by preparing a feast for him. ...read more.

Middle

He also helps in the execution of the maidservants and the mutilation of Melanthius. All of the above describe how admirable Eumaeus is and there is not a point in the text when he is not admirable, loving, kind or brave. However, there are other admirable characters in 'The Odyssey'. I would argue that King Nestor of Pylos, a hero against Troy with Odysseus, is an admirable character in 'The Odyssey'. He is a very generous host and actually is so generous and so loyal to xenia that in Book Fifteen, Telemachus pleads with Nestor's son, Peisistratus (Telemachus' Patroclus type character) to not let him see Telemachus, as he will keep him against his will with his passion for hospitality! Some could argue that this in its self is an abuse of xenia. Nestor also stops Telemachus from sleeping on his 'hollowed ship' and says that he should sleep in the palace. This shows true loyalty to xenia. Before this however, Nestor believes that Telemachus even looks like Odysseus and tells Telemachus of his faith in him. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Nausicaa probably knew that Odysseus was a great man and that his state would have de-motivated him so the very fact that she shows such compassion towards him shows that she sympathises with his situation. This I believe is a very admirable thing to do and shows great intelligence for someone so young. Therefore, Eumaeus is one of the most admirable but not the most. Nestor and Nausicaa, both explored above are equally as admirable but in slightly different ways. Eumaeus' admiralty comes from his loyalty to Odysseus and his want to defend his right to be loyal. Nestor is admirable for his hospitality and the way he speaks of Odysseus and the help that he gives to Telemachus on his journey to track down his father. Lastly, Nausicaa is admirable as she is able to trust a man that others would have thought bonkers. He appears to her naked and she accepts his honesty and mercifully helps him due to his articulate speech. Homer has truly created some of the greatest characters in the world of literature and these good and admirable persons are part of the huge enjoyment one has when one reads his 'Odyssey'. 1 ...read more.

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