The story of the Odyssey starts with Odysseus, a Greek war hero in the Battle of Troy. He is trying to make his way back to his home in Ithaca. His wife, Penelope, is waiting for him to return home from war. She does not know if her husband is still alive, but still remains faithful to him. Even with all of the suitors that have bombarded Odysseus’ home trying to take his place, Penelope still remains loyal to her husband. Their son, Prince Telemachus, is still at the home with all of the suitors. He desperately wants to remove them from the home, but does not have the will power or fghting experience to take down all of the men.
Many men want to take over the palace, especially Antinous. He plans to kill Telemachus and control the palace. Odysseus meanwhile is alive on the island of Ogygia. He is bound here under the control of Calypso. The Greek goddess, Athena, wants to help Odysseus out. She goes to his son Telemachus disguised as Laertes. She persuades him to approach the suitors in a meeting, and also prepares him to Journey to Pylos and Sparta. Nestor and Menelaus tell him that his dad is still alive but stuck on Calypsos Island. Zeus sends Hermes to save Odysseus from the island.
Hermes talks Calypso into letting Odysseus build a ship and leave. While sailing, Poseidon sends a storm to stop him from getting home. Athena saves him once again and lands on Scheria. He spends the night recalling all the adventures he had experienced on his trip. After he tells his stories, the Phaeacians send him back to his homeland. Athena has disguised him as an old beggar. He goes back home, finds Telemachus, and tells him that he is his long lost father. The two make a plan to get the suitors out of the house. All of the suitors make fun of him and treat him poorly.
Penelope sets up an archery contest. She promises whoever can string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow hrough a row of axes will marry her. Odysseus completes this task and then turns the bow onto the suitors. He takes back control of his palace. The Iliad begins 9 years after the beginning of the Trojan War. The Greek army conquers the city of Chryse and captures two women, Chryseis and Briseis. The Achaean army takes Chryseis as a trophy, and Achilles takes Briseis. Chryseis’s father, Chryses, offers a huge ransom for the return of his daughter. Agamemnon declines the offer.
Chryses then prays to the god Apollo, who then sends a plaque to the Achaean camp. When Agamemnon finds out that Chryseis is the reason for the laque, he gives her away. He then asks for Briseis, which makes Achilles extremely angry. He then refuses to fight in the war anymore. He does want the Achaeans eliminated so he asks his mother Thetis to get Zeus to help in the war efforts. The tide of the war turns in favor of the Trojans. Achilles then lets his friend Patroclus to take his spot in the war. Hector then kills Patroclus, and this makes Achilles full of such anger he rejoins the battle.
Achilles then goes on a rampage and kills all the long time, he slays him. Achilles drags Hectors body around Patroclus’s burial grounds for 9 days straight. Hectors father, King Priam, begs Achilles to give his sons body back for a proper burial. He agrees and the war for the meantime comes to a stop. Ancient Greeks pride themselves on the culture of family and friends. To them, family and friends came before anyone and they would go to great lengths for them. In both the Odyssey and the Iliad, the characters demonstrate how much family and friends mean to them.
In the Odyssey, Odysseus is away from his family and friends stuck on an island far away from them. This does not stop, nor discourage him, from getting to the ones that he loves. He goes through many daunting tasks and obstacles but finally he gets his way. Even after his long Journey he still has the persistence to kill all of the suitors that are trying to take his wife and son from him. The fuel that he ran on was the thought of seeing his family again. Without that thought in his head driving him, he would have never accomplished his task of making it back home.
In the Iliad, after Achilles drops out of the war, his friend Patroclus takes his place. An enemy soldier, Hector, ends up killing his good friend. Achilles becomes so enraged that he will stop at nothing to revenge his friend. After relentlessly chasing after Hector he finally gets his wish and slays Hector. The love he had for his friend fired him up so much and he had to seek revenge. After Achilles kills Hector, his father Priam works up the courage to go up to Achilles and begs him for his sons body back.
This shows the love that his father had for his son by tossing his ego aside and begging this man for his son’s body. Greek culture also was big on war and violence. The Odyssey shows this with one of the last parts of it. Odysseus shows this when he turns his palace into a bloodbath by murdering every one of the suitors in his path. In the Iliad, the story is based around a huge war that’s going on and there are many acts of murder and violence in it. The element of courage is incorporated in both stories. The odds are stacked against Odysseus to get back home but he still manages to go through many tasks to reach his goal.
He had the courage to take on anything in his way to make it back home. In the Iliad, every single man and woman who was apart of the battle that was going on displayed courage. To fight for what you believe in, and know that you are putting your life in danger, takes a great deal of courage. Loyalty is another element in both of these stories. In the Odyssey, his wife stays faithful to her husband for many years even with all of the suitors trying to take his place. Odysseus’ dog is also loyal to his master and recognizes him even though he is disguised.
In the Iliad, Patroclus takes Achilles place in the battle and Achilles is loyal to his friend Patroclus and avenges his death. All of the elements that I have talked about in this essay can be seen in American culture today and throughout history. This country has fought for everything that it has. This was evident when the British controlled the colonies and the Americans fought them off in the American Revolution. To this day Americans still fight for what we believe in and are currently fghting a war against the terrorists.
These men and women also show great courage. They go into battle knowing that they could lose their lives but still fght for their country. The most important part of our lives is family and friends. Without them we wouldn’t be nearly as happy as if we didn’t have them. We love them so much and on a daily basis. Loyalty is demonstrated through our relationships with our friends and family, a brand name, and even a pet such as a dog or a cat. The values of Greek mythology can still be seen today in American culture.