The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Magician

I think that Athena provides us with the best example of the Magician here with her actual transformation: “Athena, in the form of a man, came and marked the place where (the disc) had fallen. “A blind man, sir,” said she, “could easily tell your mark by groping for it-it is so far ahead of any other. You may make your mind easy about this contest, for no Phaeacian can come near to such a throw as yours.”
Athena shows her innovation here as she helps Odysseus make his way to the home of Queen Arete: “Thus did he pray, and Athena heard his prayer, but she would not show herself to him openly, for she was afraid of her uncle Poseidon, who was still furious in his endeavors to prevent Odysseus from getting home. On this she led the way, and Odysseus followed in her steps; but not one of the Phaeacians could see him as he passed through the city in the midst of them; for the great goddess Athena in her good will towards him had hidden him in a thick cloud of darkness. He admired their harbors, ships, places of assembly, and the lofty walls of the city, which, with the palisade on top of them, were very striking..”

The Innocent

There are many shows of faith and spirituality by Odysseus. Now whether this is true faith or the simple fact that he knows that the gods exist could be debated. He prays to one god or another at some points in the epic. Here he is trying to make land by stream and is praying to an unknown god for assistance. "Hear me, O King, whoever you may be, and save me from the anger of the sea-god Poseidon, for I approach you prayerfully. Anyone who has lost his way has at all times a claim even upon the gods, wherefore in my distress I draw near to your stream, and cling to the knees of your riverhood. Have mercy upon me, O king, for I declare myself your suppliant."  

 He also prays to Athena after reaching the land of Phaeacians. "Hear me," he cried, "daughter of Aegis-bearing Zeus, unweariable, hear me now, for you gave no heed to my prayers when Poseidon was wrecking me. Now, therefore, have pity upon me and grant that I may find friends and be hospitably received by the Phaeacians."

 Actual fear and innocence is shown by Nausicaa’s maids when Odysseus comes out from behind the bush to reveal himself to her. As he said this he crept from under his bush, and broke off a bough covered with thick leaves to hide his nakedness. He looked like some lion of the wilderness that stalks about exulting in his strength and defying both wind and rain; his eyes glare as he prowls in quest of oxen, sheep, or deer, for he is famished, and will dare break even into a well-fenced homestead, trying to get at the sheep - even such did Odysseus seem to the young women, as he drew near to them all naked as he was, for he was in great want. On seeing one so unkempt and so begrimed with salt water, the others scampered off along the spits that jutted out into the sea, but the daughter of Alkinoos stood firm, for Athena put courage into her heart and took away all fear from her.”

The Altruist

The traits of the Altruist are best shown by the female gods that come to Odysseus’s aid. First, here with Ino: “When he was in this plight, Ino daughter of Cadmus, also called Leukothea, saw him. She had formerly been a mere mortal, but had been since raised to the rank of a marine goddess. Seeing in what great distress Odysseus now was, she had compassion upon him, and, rising like a sea-gull from the waves, took her seat upon the raft.
"My poor good man," said she, "why is Poseidon so furiously angry with you? He is giving you a great deal of trouble, but for all his bluster he will not kill you. You seem to be a sensible person, do then as I bid you; strip, leave your raft to drive before the wind, and swim to the Phaeacian coast where better luck awaits you. And here, take my veil and put it round your chest; it is enchanted, and you can come to no harm so long as you wear it. As soon as you touch land take it off, throw it back as far as you can into the sea, and then go away again." With these words she took off her veil and gave it him. Then she dived down again like a sea-gull and vanished beneath the seething dark waters.”

Odysseus is also shown compassion by Athena here: “But Athena resolved to help Odysseus, so she bound the ways of all the winds except one, and made them lie quite still; but she roused a good stiff breeze from the North that should lay the waters till Odysseus reached the land of the Phaeacians where he would be safe.”

The Warrior

Odysseus displays the traits throughout most of the story. He is constantly forced to get out of sticky situations. Even though Athena is often there to give him a hand, he usually has to rely on himself to achieve the hardest parts of his plight. “While he was thus in two minds a wave caught him and took him with such force against the rocks that he would have been smashed and torn to pieces if Athena had not shown him what to do. He caught hold of the rock with both hands and clung to it groaning with pain till the wave retired, so he was saved that time; but presently the wave came on again and carried him back with it far into the sea- tearing his hands as the suckers of a octopus are torn when some one plucks it from its bed, and the stones come up along with it- even so did the rocks tear the skin from his strong hands, and the wave drew him deep down under the water.
            Here poor Odysseus would have certainly perished even in spite of his own destiny, if Athena had not helped him to keep his wits about him. He swam seaward again, beyond reach of the surf that was beating against the land, and at the same time he kept looking towards the shore to see if he could find some haven, or a spit that should take the waves aslant. By and by, as he swam on, he came to the mouth of a river, and here he thought would be the best place, for there were no rocks, and it afforded shelter from the wind.”  Here Odysseus eventually lay swooning from exhaustion.

  He also shows his love for competition and pride here: ‘“in spite of all this I will compete, for your taunts have stung me to the quick.”’ So he hurried up without even taking his cloak off, and seized a disc, larger, more massive and much heavier than those used by the Phaeacians when disc-throwing among themselves. Then, swinging it back, he threw it from his brawny hand, and it make a humming sound in the air as he did so. The Phaeacians quailed beneath the rushing of its flight as it sped gracefully from his hand, and flew beyond any mark that had been made yet.”

The Wanderer

Odysseus shows his adventurousness and self-reliance when he enters the home of Queen Arete and King Alkinoos to beg for Queen Arete’s help so he could return home. “He went straight throught the court, still hidden by the cloak of darkness in which Athena had enveloped him, till he reached Arete and King Alkinoos; then he laid his hands upon the knees of the queen, and at that moment the miraculous darkness fell away from him and he became visible. Every one was speechless with surprise at seeing a man there, but Odysseus began at once with his petition.

            “Queen Arete,”he exclaimed, “daughter of great Rhexenor, in my distress I humbly pray you, as also your husband and these your guests to help me home to my own country as soon as possible; for I have been long in trouble and away from my friends.”

Odysseus also shows some of his self-reliance when he builds the raft to leave Calypso’s island. “He cut down twenty trees in all and adzed them smooth, squaring them by rule in good workmanlike fashion. Meanwhile Calypso came back with some augers, so he bored holes in them and fitted the timbers together with bolts and rivets. He made the raft as broad as a skilled shipwright makes the beam of a large vessel, and he filed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He also made a mast with a yard arm, and a rudder to steer with. He fenced the raft all round with wicker hurdles as a protection against the waves, and then he threw on a quantity of wood. By and by Calypso brought him some linen to make the sails, and he made these too, excellently, making them fast with braces and sheets, last of all, with help of levers, he drew the raft down into the water. In four days he had completed the whole work..”

The Orphan

   I believe that Odysseus portrays the characteristics of the Orphan most on the island of Calypso. He had been lost on her island and had been with her for seven years because she was an immortal and he was afraid of being on her bad side. Although she treated him well and gave him food, clothes, and companionship, all he wanted to do was to get back home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope. “Calypso went out to look for Odysseus, for she had heard Zeus’ message. She found him sitting upon the beach with his eyes ever filled with tears, his sweet life wasting away as he mourned his nostos; for he had got tired of Calypso, and though he was forced to sleep with her in the cave by night, it was she, not he, that would have it so. As for the daytime, he spent it on the rocks and on the sea-shore, weeping, crying aloud for his despair, and always looking out upon the sea.”  

Although he is resilient and loyal to Calypso, he displays that he is in touch with reality causing him to have the victim’s mentality and shows that he has low expectations of ever returning home.
    There are six archetypes: the Orphan, the Wanderer, the Warrior, the Altruist, the Innocent, and the Magician. 

Most of these Odysseus himself portrays as some point or another. 

    Odysseus goes through different phases and emotions throughout his journey which causes his current archetype to change. Throughout most of the story Odysseus seems to be the Wanderer, independent and self reliant. This often causes him to need become the Warrior, a strategic workaholic in order to get him out of the situation he’s put himself in.