What are some examples of Odysseus betraying his men or his wife Penelope in the Odyssey?

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An example of Odysseus betraying his men comes at the end of the story of Polyphemus. Odysseus initially saves his men from becoming a food supply for this one-eyed monster by getting Polyphemus drunk and poking out his eye. The men are able to escape Polyphemus's island, but just as...

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An example of Odysseus betraying his men comes at the end of the story of Polyphemus. Odysseus initially saves his men from becoming a food supply for this one-eyed monster by getting Polyphemus drunk and poking out his eye. The men are able to escape Polyphemus's island, but just as they are rowing away, Odysseus, who had previously identified himself as "nobody," shouts out his name. This is a very foolish act of pride that causes trouble for his men later on. Knowing who Odysseus is, Polyphemus calls on his father, Poseidon, god of the seas, to make sure that Odysseus and his crew don't get home.

While Penelope is the picture of the faithful wife, Odysseus does not return the favor. For example, he sleeps with Circe, a bewitching goddess, and then spends seven years having an affair with the beautiful Calypso until he gets tired of her and decides he wishes to return to Penelope.

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This is a great question. Odysseus has been fairly faithful to his men and his wife. So, I do not want to give an impression that Odysseus was characterized by a characteristic of betrayal. However, Odysseus has not been a model of complete faithfulness.

Perhaps the most egregious instance of Odysseus's unfaithfulness is his time with Calypso, the nymph. He stayed with her for seven years after a ship wreck, as a love slave. To be sure, Odysseus was a prisoner, but he still capitulated. They were lovers.

Penelope could have made the same argument as Odysseus. She could have stated that she was besieged by suitors and that she had to give in, but she resisted with great cunning. So, from this perspective, some can say that Odysseus betrayed Penelope to a certain extent.

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