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Which part of the Odyssey is about learning patience and humility?

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Odysseus is a dynamic character who learns how to be patient and humble throughout his journey. However, after returning to Ithaca, the transformation into an old man is when he truly learns patience and humility. Pretending to be a man of humble origins, he sees the world from a new perspective. That teaches him to be both stoic and modest.

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Odysseus is the protagonist of Homer’s classic poem, the Odyssey. Homer focuses most of his attention on Odysseus and his journey back to Ithaca. The readers are also shown the perspectives of Penelope and Telemachus, wife and son of Odysseus. Odysseus, King of Ithaca, leaves his home to fight in the Trojan war. He is called to adventure when he leaves for Troy. No danger or excitement is found in the siege of the city. Nevertheless, Odysseus comes up with an ingenious way of ending the blockade and the war. He offers to give a wooden horse to Trojans.

After the end of the war, Odysseus tries to return home with his companions. However, what should have been a swift and victorious return turns into a long and dangerous journey. The hero and his crew encounter many obstacles on their way home. They face difficulties from Cyclopes and lotus-eaters to sirens and Scylla and Charybdis. One of the reasons behind the many hazards the travelers encounter is Odysseus’s hubris and impatience. He dreams of being reunited with Penelope and his son. However, his actions prevent him from this. Odysseus makes many mistakes before learning patience and humility.

At the beginning of his journey, Odysseus is self-confident and prideful. He cannot be called careless or foolish. He shows exceptional cunning, but his actions often are his downfall. One of the biggest mistakes he makes is blinding and insulting Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon. Odysseus and his men manage to escape from the giant’s captivity. The hero, though, cannot help himself and arrogantly tells the giant his name. This leads to Polyphemus praying to his father and asking the Olympian to avenge him. Poseidon complies, and Odysseus’s journey is stretched out over a long ten years.

Nonetheless, Odysseus is an example of a dynamic hero. He realizes his mistakes and learns from them. After he returns home, Odysseus learns of Penelope’s suitors. He does not immediately reveal himself. Showing his real face would lead to his certain death. Instead, he listens to Athena’s advice and disguises himself as a beggar. This decision is as cunning as hiding troops in a wooden horse. It allows the hero to find out what is going on in his home and prepare for an attack.

Also, the life of the beggar teaches him to be humbler. In book 17, he is attacked by one of Penelope’s suitors. The suitor does not recognize him. Then, he attacks him for daring to ask for food in his beggar disguise. This attack reminds Odysseus of the importance of being humble, and that looks can be deceiving. In conclusion, Odysseus changes throughout his adventure. He becomes even more cunning. He understands the importance of patience and humility. He learns that even the smartest decisions are in vain if they are made without them.

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IvyPanda. "Which part of the Odyssey is about learning patience and humility?" November 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/which-part-of-the-odyssey-is-about-learning-patience-and-humility/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Which part of the Odyssey is about learning patience and humility?" November 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/which-part-of-the-odyssey-is-about-learning-patience-and-humility/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Which part of the Odyssey is about learning patience and humility'. 30 November.

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