When Odysseus travels to The Land of the Dead and sees his mother, I believe we truly see a man broken who can no longer handle holding himself together for the sake of the troops. Throughout his journey he has been patient, responsible, enduring, confident and strong particularly for his men. Here, when he finds his mother has passed on, I find him allowing human emotion to overtake him and for just a few moments, he does not seem to be the god-like or larger-than-life character that we have watched so far. I would think this symbolizes for Odysseus the passage of time, and the depth of that which he has missed. I believe it makes his longing for home increase because he might be wondering who could be next that he will never again get to see.
If we were to take a positive read of Odysseus, I would say that he learns the value of family. Odysseus understands that the ending of the Trojan War means he is to go back home to his family. His trials and tribulations to that end prove his loyalty to his family. We never see Odysseus straying from his goal of returning to Ithaca and his family. While there are moments where we don't see his best qualities, his love for Penelope and Telemachus is never questioned. I would say that this becomes one of his most precious lessons learned on his quest and one that helps him become a more developed character in that he has sacrificed for his end, and suffered for his desire to return home.
What does Odysseus learn on his journey that makes him more human or a more fully developed character?
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