Who is the weakest link?In The Odyssey, who do you think hinders the journey most: Odysseus, his men, or the gods? 

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that each party plays an integral part in hindering the journey and without each party working together against the goal of Odysseus' homecoming then he might have gotten there much sooner, certainly in under twenty years!

The men were certainly helpful in keeping Odysseus from home and the only reason I think they helped to hinder the least is because without them he might not have had a chance to get away from the Sirens. He had to sacrifice half a dozen men in order to escape their clutches. Other than their sacrificial value, they held Odysseus up a few times. The Island of the Lotus Eaters wasted some time when the men didn't want to leave. they wasted more time with Circe when she caught them snooping then turned them to swine.

The gods played a bigger role in keeping Odysseus from home. Poseidon, god of the sea, kept throwing him back, but it was retribution for Odysseus blinding Polyphemus. Calypso and Circe certainly helped, but they also took his time as well trying to keep him for themselves.

Odysseus certainly hinders his own journey the most. There certainly were those seven years that he spent as Calypso's love slave, even though he wasn't entirely unwilling- he probably could have left much sooner than he did. His biggest mistake was blinding Polyphemus thereby angering Poseidon- the one god who could really hinder his journey home by sea.


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes! Odysseus is just so consumed with the desire to prove his valour and worth. Although the gods and the crew are obviously partly to blame, I think the biggest cause is Odysseus. It is quite ironic that in a sense half of the time he looks as if he doesn't actually want to make it back to Ithaca, because he is having such a great time in his various exploits strutting his "stuff."

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All of them are responsible, but Odysseus is the most at fault.  He spends so much time with each of his obstacles.  Although I agree with Clane about Polyphemus and angering Poseidon, I'm not sure how else he would have escaped that particular predicament.


linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that Odysseus is probably most at fault. He just seems too willing and ready to follow adventure instead of focusing on going home.