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In Homer's "Odyssey" Odysseuss steadfast curiosity causes a marked inconsistence in his life.

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Introduction

Name: A Means of Reflection Date Submitted: November 22, 2013 á½ς μάλα πολλá½° πλάγχθη “Tell me, Muse, of the man of many mays, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy’s sacred citadel” (1.1). So begins the Odyssey of Homer, describing not only the arduous journey of Odysseus, but also great irony in the expected character of such a famously smart and cunning individual. At one moment, he may be drawing his companions away from distraction and forgetfulness after exploring an island, but he later may himself be reminded by his own crew to remember his journey home. Next, he may encounter one creature and learn more about it without harm, but later may venture to meet another and have it end in others deaths. Within all these varied points in his life, there is a common line. Throughout his adult life, Odysseus’s steadfast curiosity causes a marked inconsistence in his life. This inconsistency is seen in his relation with his crew, his encounters with creatures, and his gathering of information. Before the ultimate destruction of his ship, Odysseus is accompanied by his crew from the war. In his relation with the crew Odysseus’s persistent curiosity results in personal inconsistency. After departing after the incident with the Kikonians, Odysseus’s ships are blown off course before finally landing at the island of the Lotus-Eaters. As would be natural for a weary crew reaching an island, the men “set foot on the mainland, and fetched water, and my companions soon tool their supper there by the fast ships” (9.85). ...read more.

Middle

of honey and with it stop your companions? ears, so none can listen; the rest, that is, but if you yourself are wanting to hear them, then have them tie you hand and foot on the fast ship? (12.47). When his ship does run past the Sirens, Odysseus succumbs to his curiosity and tells his companions t tie him fast so he can hear the song of the Sirens. In this instance, his curiosity causes no harm to his ship and crew, as their strong lashings prevented his doom. However, despite the favorable outcome, the implications of his curiosity can still be seen. By desiring to hear the Sirens, which certainly has little purpose in expediting his homecoming, Odysseus strays from his primary goal as he skirts closer to death in his act, which could have occurred if the lashings could not restrain him. Although this encounter incurred no harm, Odysseus?s earlier meeting with the Cyclops, Polyphemos shows another outcome resulting from his curiosity. After landing on the island and resting the men, Odysseus sees smoke and herds of livestock, so in his curiosity he announces ?the rest of you, who are my eager companions, wait here, while I, with my own ship and companions that are in it, go and find out about these people, and learn what they are? (9.172). As is his custom when landing, Odysseus is immediately curious about its inhabitants. ...read more.

Conclusion

Had not Athene warned him against such inquiries into the locals, his curiosity would have likely caused him to ask the about Scheria, which, if Athene speaks the truth about the Phaiakians, would have resulted in quite an unfriendly reaction from the residents. Otherwise if unchecked by Athene, his curiosity would have again led to inconsistency in his life. While his curiosity in the underworld gains extra knowledge about the great figures of the past, his curiosity on Scheria would have caused poor relations with the Phaiakians, perhaps jeopardizing his passage home. Throughout his long journey, Odysseus consistently displays a curiosity for what he happens upon. However this attitude leads his life to inconsistency. While curiosity is necessary for discovery and knowledge, the constant appearance of this trait leads Odysseus away from his main goals, as he is constantly pulled to learn more about what interests him, shedding an ironic light upon this epithet, ?the man of many ways? as he pursues many unknown goals. In extension, this trait can be seen in the perspective of his leadership. When such constant curiosity is seen to create so much inconsistency the quality of his leadership is put under scrutiny, as such diverging goals would lead to the group, in effect, to have no leader. Under the direction of Odysseus, and indirectly his curiosity, which influences many of his decisions, the ship of his leadership is thrown from heading to heading, never quite sure of its next destination or outcome while trying to sail the many ways. ...read more.

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