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Karma

The lines Penelope uttered that night are alike to karma. The

concept of karma can be defined as good brings good, and bad

brings bad. In other words, cause and effect. This concept can be

seen throughout the book and throughout Odysseus' long

homeward journey.

Whenever Odysseus offended the gods, they would punish

him or throw him off course. Whenever he acted in favor of the

gods, they would bless him and shower him with gifts. The same

goes for everyone in the Odyssey. His companions also suffered the

same way when they chose to constantly disobey Odysseus and

meddle in his affairs. I, too, personally believe this concept in a

Christian point of view. His encounter with the Cyclops portrayed

him doing wrong to Poseidon’s son, and as a result Poseidon made

his journey an exceedingly long one.

To the suitors, Odysseus was just a barrier keeping them from

winning over Penelope’s hand in marriage, a hindrance from the

object of their desire. They did not see him as a hero for winning the

war against the Trojans. This is why they wished him dead and had

no respect whatsoever for his property, belongings, household, and

family.

Odysseus had been missing for ten years now. After ten

years of fighting the war, all the ships have returned except
Odysseus'. Penelope, who thought of only good things about her

husband, may have been starting to doubt her husband's fate. She

may have been thinking of herself as well. If she kept waiting for

Odysseus, she might grow old and die alone, but if she chose

another good man to be her husband, she would be taken care off

and be happy. Seeing as all the suitors incessantly wanted him dead

and nobody could assure her of his return, she inevitably started to

give in to the idea that her husband could be dead and that she

must move on with another man to please her for the remainder of

her life. Penelope was maybe thinking that if the suitors were good

men, then the gods would give them the strength and ability to win

the contest, and vice versa.

The same goes for the rest of the members of Odysseus’

household. Those that experienced kindness from him when he was

still in Ithaca, longed for his return home so that he may restore

balance and order, and because they remained loyal to Odysseus,

he spared them and blessed them upon his return. Those servants,

however, who slept with the suitors and neglected their duties in

Odysseus’ household, were put to death.

Telemachos has heard so many great things about his father,

and this is the cause of his desire to meet his father and his

jubilance upon doing so. When you hear such great things about

someone, it makes you wish you knew him so that you could be a

part of something great, but when you hear of someone infamous,


you try your best to cut all ties with that person. Such was the

feeling of Telemachos towards Odysseus and Antinoos respectively.

The end result is that Odysseus finally returned home after

paying for his mistakes and staying on the gods’ good side. Homer

practically invented karma.

Word count: 538 words

Honesty is the Best Policy

We all make mistakes and try to hide them for the fear of

shame and guilt. Nonetheless, those who do are truly wise and

confident know that owning up to one’s mistakes solves problems a

lot faster and prevents fights.

Telemachos and Odysseus have both been through a whole

lot before ending up at that point of the story. Even if before they

were reluctant to admit fault and would rather let someone else

take the blame, they realized nothing good ever comes of it.

Learning to forgive saves trouble as well. At that point, Odysseus

knew reprimanding Telemachos would only be an advantage to the

already advantaged suitors. The character development of

Odysseus is that throughout the story, he has experience too much

incompetence already from his companions. He has learned to

make do with what he has. Telemachos’ character development was

owning up.
They are, after all, father and son, and they must accept each

other’s faults. They saw mistakes as an opportunity to learn and

improve for future use. Embracing one’s mistakes allows for a better

way of knowing. We learn by committing mistakes.

Telemachos’ admittance also symbolizes trust in Odysseus. In

the very short time that they knew each other, they already trusted

each other with their lives. They knew they had to work together if

any progress was to be made with dealing with the suitors. Trust is

essential in any relationship between humans. Without trust, fear of

betrayal and incompetence will kill us all.

The admittance of Telemachos to his father shows what a real

father and son relationship should be like. No secrets, complete

trust.

Word Count: 272 words

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