The odyssey How acts of betrayal contributes to meaning of the work as a whole
Acts of Betrayal in The Odyssey
“The Odyssey” by Homer is an epic poem that tells the long journey of the regarded hero of Ithaca after returning home having fought a victory battle against the Troy. He spent ten years fighting the Trojan War and another ten years trying to get back home after the war. However, Odyssey encounters numerous challenges on his way back home from the Trojan War that made him spend ten years to get back home. He had to escape incarceration by the calypso that had captured him then face the battle with the Cyclops, who was hostile giants. Initially, he had left her wife Penelope and his son Telemachus home. The family is also encountering the invasion of suitors who want to seek a chance of ruling Ithaca. In his absence for twenty years, his wife and son had to face and deal with the unruly suitors whose intentions were to overthrow Odyssey through seeking a hand in marriage with Odyssey’s wife, Penelope. However, the theme of betrayal is clearly portrayed in many phases of this epic poem
The suitors are betraying their own hero of Ithica when they intend to take advantage of his absentia by pretending to be impatient after staying a long time without a king. This theme of betrayal is evidently seen when Penelope and her son Telemachus struggles to deal with the suitors by protesting their invasion. “Meanwhile, Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, tries to fend off over 100 suitors who have invaded the royal palace, seeking her hand in marriage (and a chance of ruling Ithaca), and indulging in great amounts of food and wine at the hosts’ expense” (Homer and Lattimore).. This was unrightfully acted by stabbing the back of odyssey that had gone on the errand to fight on their behalf. Her wife Penelope betrays Odyssey by seducing suitors regardless of not to none of them. On the other hand, the suitors would not have behaved this way in the presence of Odyssey or if they anticipated his return to home.
On the hand, as the son of the Odyssey realize the situation has become more critical with the suitors invading the palace and taking advantage of his father’s properties, he make a decision to protest against the invasion of the suitors and henceforth decide to set off to Pylos and Sparta to gather information about his father’s whereabouts since the situation had become too much for them to handle with his mother. “At the assembly, the two leading suitors — the aggressive Antinous and the smooth-talking Eurymachus — confront the prince. They accuse Penelope of delaying too long in her choice of a new husband. Telemachus speaks well but accomplishes little at the assembly because the suitors are from some of the strongest families in the area and are impatient with Penelope’s delays” (Homer and Lattimore). This was the reason Telemachus wanted his father home. Moreover, the suitors realized that Telemachus had planned a secretive journey to go and find out any news about his father form his comrades in Pylos and Sparta. For this reason, the suitors decided to assassinate him on his return to Athena by ambushing his ship.
In conclusion, the act of betrayal is evident in the absence of the king of Ithica who was none other than Odyssey, who had been away for quite a long time. However, suitors invading his palace and seeking hand to marry his wife and assassinate his son was a betrayal and unrightfully because they took advantage of the situation. Therefore, they were disloyal to their own king.
Homer, and Richmond Lattimore. The Odyssey of Homer. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Print.