Odysseus' Many Mistakes

Essay by silverstorm2k5 February 2005

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In Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey, Odysseus leads his men through the unthinkable, and successfully gets them out of harms way because he utilizes his ability to formulate plans, and carry them out quickly and effectively. Throughout the epic, Odysseus makes numerous decisions that affect him and his men, these decisions have come to impact their journey home. In doing this, he has made several mistakes that Odysseus later learns from in order to make himself a better person, and a better leader. For instance, when Odysseus and his men land on the Island of the Cyclops, Odysseus decides to enter the caves out of curiosity. Also, once Odysseus and his men are inside the Cyclops' Cave, Odysseus starts taunting the Cyclops which harms them because the Cyclops starts throwing mountains at them in his anger. Then, while Odysseus' men slaughter the Sun God's cattle, Odysseus doesn't keep a good enough watch and falls asleep.

As a result of all of these instances, his men were in harms way when they did not need to be.

For instance, Odysseus decides to explore the Island of Cyclops. He knew ahead of time that the island was dangerous, and that the Cyclops were savage creatures. He states, "...Cyclops have no muster and no meeting, no consultation or old tribal ways, but each one dwells in his own mountain cave..." (99-101). This quote proves that Odysseus knew that they were not living by any rules, and that they were savage creatures that had no way of possessing any traditions or religions. After stating that he knew that the Cyclops were dangerous, he says "We climbed, then briskly to the cave. But Cyclops had gone afield, to pasture his fat sheep, so we looked round at everything inside..." (140 -...