Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

Start Free Trial

When does Odysseus in The Odyssey appear more human, showing weaknesses and limitations?

Quick answer:

There are two different parts of the Odyssey that come to mind. Odysseus was a strong warrior, so there aren't too many times when he appears weaker and limited. However, when he was trapped on Calypso's island, he had no power or control whatsoever. He was a mortal, she was a goddess. She compelled him to stay, even though he did not want to stay. He longed to go home and see his wife. He was trapped on her island for 7 years. Another time when he seemed to be limited and weak was when he arrived home in Ithaca. He was dressed as a beggar, and he had to remain quiet and reserved.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are two different parts of the Odyssey that come to mind.  Odysseus was a strong warrior, so there aren't too many times when he appears weaker and limited.  However, when he was trapped on Calypso's island, he had no power or control whatsoever.  He was a mortal, she was a goddess.  She compelled him to stay, even though he did not want to stay.  He longed to go home and see his wife.  He was trapped on her island for 7 years. 

Another time when he seemed to be limited and weak was when he arrived home in Ithaca.  He was dressed as a beggar, and he had to remain quiet and reserved.  He had no control over anything that was going on in his land.  He was the king, yet he had no way to control the suitors or their maids. He couldn't even tell his wife that he was back.  He couldn't even hold her and tell her he loved her. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial