In The Odyssey, what does Odysseus learn during his quest and how does he use this new knowledge?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What is interesting about Odysseus as a character is the way that he is clearly a dynamic character who changes and learns from his mistakes as the story progresses. Let us take one example. At the start of his adventures, it is clear that Odysseus is a man who desires above all else to gain glory. It is this that foolishly causes him to reveal who he was to the Cyclops and thereby attract the powerful wrath of Poseidon that caused him so many difficulties.

However, when we move to the end of his journey and his homecoming to Ithaca, we see that he is far more patient and not so eager (and stupid) as to reveal his identity straight away, as he recognises that such a revelation could have profoundly negative consequences. Thus he learns that often it is necessary to use intelligence before rushing rashly into situations and often caution is the better part of valour. This is why he disguises himself as a beggar and waits until he is in a position to reveal himself with convincing power and might so that he can vanquish the suitors.


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