Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer
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What conflict did Odysseus have in the Underworld?

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In the Underworld, Odysseus has a bit of a conflict with Achilles, the brave warrior who died in the Trojan War when his heel was struck by an arrow.  His heel was his only weak spot because, when he was a baby, his mother had dipped him in the river...

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In the Underworld, Odysseus has a bit of a conflict with Achilles, the brave warrior who died in the Trojan War when his heel was struck by an arrow.  His heel was his only weak spot because, when he was a baby, his mother had dipped him in the river Styx to render him invulnerable, and because she held him by the heel, it was the only part of him which is not impenetrable.  In Hades, when Odysseus sees Achilles's sadness, he tells the warrior not to grieve for his lost life because, on earth, Achilles is afforded the respect of a god by all mortals.  However, Achilles tells Odysseus that it is better to live a lowly, inconsequential life than to be a king among the dead; in other words, any life is better than no life at all.  Unable to argue with this claim, Odysseus tries to appease Achilles by telling him all he knows of Achilles's family.

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