The Odyssey Questions and Answers
by Homer

The Odyssey book cover
Start Your Free Trial

I need help writing a thesis concerning Homer's Odyssey.   I'm writing a practice Critcal Lens essay. Instead of using two works, my teacher is only having us use one because we've only read one book this year, Homer's "The Odyssey".The critical lens is " are at the mercy of events and cannot control them."-Herodotus. I agree with this quote because your actions determine the outcome of your future. I'm not really sure how to construct the thesis. I want to say something like "In Homer's "The Odyssey", the character's fates are direct results of their decisions."Anything I should add or any tips? Thanks!

Expert Answers info

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,043 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Your current thesis is simply restating the assignment. I think you need to flesh it out, by selecting some specific aspect of the poem on which you will focus. You could look, for example, at divine interventions and try to argue the Odysseus is merely a pawn in a conflict between the gods. You might need to narrow down the topic even more to make it manageable by perhaps focussing on two gods or some specific episode. You could take the other side of the issue, by arguing that despite what the gods do, Odysseus still makes his own decisions about how to respond to them, and use specific episodes to support that claim.

You cannot agree with the quotation from Herodotus that men are at the mercy of fate and then say you support it because characters make their own decisions. Those two statements contradict each other. Your thesis can either agree with Herodotus (in which case people's decisions are irrelevant because they are at the mercy of fate) or disagree (because people have free will they are not at the mercy of fate) -- but not both.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial