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We probably have to look no further than the opening lines of this epic poem to find indications that Odysseus' attempt to return to his native land involves the acquisition of knowledge. Thus, Homer describes his hero as follows:
Many the men whose cities he saw, whose ways he learned. (A.S. Kline translation)
Not only does Odysseus learn the ways of many people, but he also learns the ways of many strange beings. In Odyssey 9, when Odysseus lands in the country of the Cyclops, Odysseus says that he wanted to go ashore and "try and find out who these men are" (Odyssey 9).
Of course, we should not forget that Odysseus' quest to the land of the dead and his conjuring up of Teiresias is intended to provide him with knowledge about what the future holds in store for him (see Odyssey 11).
Likewise, Odysseus' desire to hear the song of the Sirens is clearly an opportunity, he thinks, to acquire knowledge. As Odysseus sails past their island, the Sirens tell him that the person who hears their song "goes his way a wiser man." Additionally, they tell him that "We know everything that comes to pass on the fertile Earth" (Odyssey 12).
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