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Essays by KT

The Odyssey by Homer

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9/11

September 21, 2009

GE 201

            Of the characters in Homer’s Odyssey, I can relate most with is Eurycleia.  From what is learned about her, I think the faithful nurse’s personality is closest to mine.  The author, Homer, refers to her as a “faithful old woman” (19.437). 

            Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus when he returns home to Ithaca from the Trojan War.  She was the first one to recognize him despite him being disguised as a beggar.  She recognized him by noticing his scar.  She was very observant.  I tend to be quite observant, especially with smaller things that others may not notice or recognize.  This scar was something that other people may not have noticed or recognized as being a characteristic of Odysseus.  But Eurycleia noticed it and knew about the scar and how Odysseus got it.

            This also showed Eurycleia’s great memory of the past.  She not only noticed the scar but she remembered about the scar.  I tend to remember characteristic things about people for a really long time.  If someone tells me something that they enjoy or something characteristic about them, I generally remember it.  If I create a characteristic memory with someone, I usually remember it.  For example, the gifts I give to my close friends are not something necessarily useful, or something random that I got cheap.  Rather, the gifts I usually give to my close friends are something that brings back a memory of us together or something that I know they’ll like because it is something characteristic of them.

            Eurycleia is the faithful one of the servants.  Despite the other servants being unfaithful to their master, Eurycleia is faithful.  I consider myself a faithful friend.  I won’t betray my friends’ trust.  Eurycleia is to Penelope as I am to my friends.  Not in that I am a servant to my friends as Eurycleia is to Penelope.  Rather as Penelope is the true friend.  The other servants are like the ones who pretend to be friends, but then betray the other’s trust when difficult times come.

            I am not one to go along with the crowd when something they are doing is immoral.  Despite what others are doing, I usually know whether or not I feel comfortable with it.  Although it’s hard to determine when to stand up and tell them what they are doing is wrong and when it’s best to leave the situation.  I, however, don’t know how I would respond to a situation similar to the one Eurycleia was in.  I don’t know if I could go behind my friends’ backs and tell my other friend what they’ve done.  I think I would first need to stand up for my one friend in front of the other friends.  If that didn’t work then I would be able to go to my true friend and let them know that the other ‘servants’ have not been ‘faithful’.

            Eurycleia is a very understanding person.  Penelope describes her as being understanding.  I’m usually pretty understanding of others.  I can generally understand where another person is coming from, even if I don’t agree with them.  I can usually see why people could believe what they believe and do what they do.  I don’t have to agree with their beliefs or actions to understand the reasoning behind such.

            I can relate also to her other personality characteristics such as her stubbornness.  She says herself that she is stubborn.  “Tha knowst my temper, stubborn and stiff!  I’ll be as hard as stone or iron!” (17.438-439)  I can be quite stubborn.  Even at times when it is unnecessary, I can be stubborn.  When necessary, like in the example I just gave, I can also be very stubborn.  In the example given, Eurycleia must be stubborn in order to save her life.  She must keep the secret that she knows who Odysseus is.

            Eurycleia assures Odysseus that she can keep his secret.  She is stubborn and doesn’t reveal the secret.  I can keep secrets well.  I am good at keeping secrets even when it is not specifically told to me that it is a secret and I must keep it.  But when told explicitly that I need to keep a secret to myself, it is near impossible to get it out of me.  Unless a secret is a danger to the revealer of the secret or someone else, I will not reveal it.

            Sometimes Eurycleia’s faithfulness to her master can make her a bit naïve and more willing and able to be walked over.  Sometimes my attachment to my close friends causes me to question things I may not have questioned otherwise.  I also tend to put them before myself even sometimes to the point of dropping what I’m doing to talk to them or skipping lunch because they can only hang out on my busiest day and my lunch break is the only break I have that day.  Eurycleia’s faithfulness to Odysseus caused her to lock the doors behind him and consequently, many were killed by him because they could not escape.

            The character in Homer’s Odyssey with whom I relate the most is the faithful, observant, and understanding nurse of Odysseus and his family.  The stubbornness and good memory of Eurycleia, the good servant, also remind me of my personality.

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