How does Homer bring The Odyssey to an end?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Homer's work ends with a reconciliation, one in which the Gods have intervened yet again on Odysseus' behalf. Whereas the Trojan War was one filled with suffering and pain, and Odysseus' trials to return to Ithaca possessed so many challenges, Homer ends his work on a very uplifting note. There is harmony and reconciliation, a sense of order being restored to the world after so long in war and in homeward return.  The fact that the Gods actually work together to bring a sense of unity to the mortals is something worthy of note.  In the Iliad, the immortals were, at many points, more irrational than the human beings.  They saw the war as more of a test of their own egos and senses of self.  The result of such personalized intervention was human death and suffering.  Yet, the ending of The Odyssey is one in which the Gods act with a sense of justice and harmony, seeking to bring peace to the humans.  This is noticeably different in terms of ending than what was featured in the Iliad.  I think that this particular ending in how the Gods act is significant in bringing about the symmetry and sense of comedy, in the Classical sense, that is such a part of the work's ending.


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