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How is the journey connected with the destination in The Odyssey by Homer?

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safijosette | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM via web

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How is the journey connected with the destination in The Odyssey by Homer?

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

Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:40 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that this becomes one of the most important elements in Homer's work.  The destination is critical, as Odysseus seeks to go home.  Yet, the destination is what defines humanity.  Homer suggests that what it means to be human is in the respective journeys we take to our various versions of Ithacas.  Consider the words that Achilles mournfully says to Odysseus regarding this:

I'd rather be a field-hand, bound in service to another man, with no land of my own, and not much to live on, than to lord it over all the insubstantial dead.

The journey with all of its notions of freedom and fluid definition in terms of what is and what can be are the elements that define what it means to be a human being.  I think that the destination is seen as a part of the journey that encompasses all of human life.  It is for this reason that Odysseus never relents in his journey.  The destination is an extension of the journey, which defines what it means to be a human being. It is here where Homer says that the gods are fundamentally different than human beings, almost making it so that the divine envies that of the human being for their journey is non- existent.

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safijosette | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:19 AM (Answer #2)

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Thank you

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