What themes from the Odyssey influenced today's society?

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Homer's Odyssey is an epic poem that still captures the imagination of modern audiences. Themes like the idea of trying to get back home can frequently be found in modern movies and television shows. Movies like Castaway and O Brother, Where Art Thou? both portray a hero struggling to return home. For several years, the television show Lost examined the trials and tribulations faced by a group of people who were seeking to return to civilization.

Another theme from the Odyssey that remains appealing is trying to discover one's identity, trying to discover who we really are. In the Odyssey, the title character goes from being one of the conquerors of Troy, one of the most famous warriors in the world, to being unknown. At one point, Odysseus even makes up a rather ironic name for himself:

“Cyclops, you asked my name, and I will tell it: give me afterwards a guest gift as you promised. My name is Nobody. Nobody, my father, mother, and friends call me.” (A.S. Kline translation)

Although Odysseus is speaking in jest, at this point in his journey he has to resort to concealing his identity. This will not be the last time Odysseus has to hide who he really is. Only after numerous struggles and adventures does Odysseus finally reach home; but, even there, he must deny who he is until he can defeat the suitors.

In many ways, college becomes our own personal odyssey. We meet many different peoples and learn many different things. In the process, we hopefully discover who we really are and what we really want to do with our lives.


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The Odyssey

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