Are Odysseus's actions in dealing with the suitors consistent with his actions in earlier episodes of the epic?  

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely, Odysseus's actions in dealing with the suitors are consistent with his earlier behavior in the poem.  He deals with them cleverly and definitively, refusing to feel guilty for the action he feels he was required, by honor, to take.  Consider his treatment of Polyphemus, the Cyclops.  That monster disobeyed the rules of ancient Greek hospitality, choosing instead to entrap the men and make meals of them.  Odysseus shrewdly tells him that his name is "Nobody" and then gets him drunk; once the Cyclops has passed out, Odysseus and his men blind him with a stake they'd sharpened in the fire.  Then, when other monsters come to his aid, Polyphemus tells them that "Nobody" is hurting him, and so they leave!  It's very smart.  Further, Odysseus feels that the action he takes is justified by the Cyclops's own behavior.

Likewise, when Odysseus returns home, he comes up with another clever plan to avenge the suitors' terrible behavior toward his family and punish them for their absolute disregard of the rules of hospitality.  Although, in this case, instead of failing to offer hospitality, they have taken advantage of it.  He, then, deals with them swiftly and decisively, killing all those who behaved unscrupulously in his absence.  Odysseus is capable of terrible violence when he feels it is deserved, and those who disregard the gods' laws about hospitality seem, to him, to be especially deserving.  We see this, first, in his treatment of Polyphemus, and again in his treatment of the suitors; thus, he is consistent in his actions.

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