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A look at the theme of violence and its role in The Odyssey and Antigone


In both Homer’s The Odyssey and also Sophocles’ Antigone, physical violence and war appear to be taken into consideration respectable; terrific fighters such as Antilokhos, Akhilleus as well as Odysseus of The Odyssey as well as Eteocles of Antigone are pietistic as well as popular as exemplary figures in their corresponding societies, brave souls eager as well as capable of going into fight. Yet in both the poem and the play, a sense of deep catastrophe and futility comes with virtually every occurrence of physical violence. Each major battle is met with the inquiry of whether the benefits of physical violence have actually surpassed its repercussions, and also the answer to this question is almost always no. Violence, as a whole, offers in both works as an unfortunate, unfortunate and even illogical resort, and hides the idea of honor and achievement of physical violence in the Greek world.

In The Odyssey, Odysseus right away increases to the center as a sufferer of violence. And it is usually his own terrible habits that in turn difficulties him later. When Telemakhos brows through Nestor while examining his father’s disappearance, the royal prince of charioteers states the cost Odysseus would pay for striking a Trojan community unnecessarily: “But when we plundered Priam’s community as well as tower/ and required to the ships, God spread the Akhaians./ He had a mind to make homecoming difficult for them” (III, 140-2). While Odysseus is famed for his prowess in fight, the sacking of this community is an outcome of recklessness, not technique or necessity; he as well as his fleet are for that reason penalized and also forced to stay. However, Nestor, Diomedes, as well as Menelaos, three Akhaians that have actually not participated in this crazy act, realize that the fights they combated during the Trojan War bring them enough despair and grief, and also smartly withdraw from combating any kind of even more. They are allowed by Zeus to escape.

The significance of Odysseus’ error of sacking Priam’s town can be observed in the lengthy as well as tough journey he and also his fleet are subjected to for the next ten years. If Odysseus does not assault the community, he can anticipate a safe separation from Troy; but because he does, Odysseus is obliged into his lengthy and also risky trip throughout the seas. And during his expatriation from house, Odysseus commits another terrible act that lengthens his trip to Ithaka. He blinds the Kyklops Polyphemos, boy of Poseidon. Again, using physical violence to settle his problems lengthens Odysseus’ unfortunate as well as perilous trip to his homeland. Although one might attribute Poseidon’s punishment of Odysseus to the reality that he discloses his identity to Polyphemos upon leaving the island, leading the Kyklops to beseech his daddy “that Odysseus, raider of cities, never ever/ see his residence” (IX, 578-9), the fact stays that Odysseus’ earlier decision to invade Priam’s community is the source of the errors he is making currently. Underlying the hubris that obtains Odysseus in trouble in his exchange with Polyphemos is the negligent, unprofitable violence he resorts to back at Troy.

The illegitimacy of violence in The Odyssey can once again be seen in the revenge cycle that appears both with Poseidon and also Odysseus, and also the Ithakan king and the suitors. When Poseidon tries Odysseus and also throws his ship all over the world, the god of quakes is sustained by rage as well as sadness for the damage done to his kid. Poseidon’s despair, fed by Odysseus’ fierce behaviors, feeds his own aggression and also desire to maintain Odysseus far from house as well as household. The cycle of physical violence, discomfort, and vengeance is unending. When Odysseus annihilates the suitors, the extreme vehemence as well as insensibilities of physical violence are taken another look at. Odysseus launches the strike on the suitors in order to recover honor to his family, as well as, having defeated them, is explained by Eurykleia, Penelope’s registered nurse, as “a lion/ sprinkled with goo as well as blood” (XXIII, 49-50). Later on, Eupeithes increases to avenge the murder of his kid Antinoos and also the violent struggle is perpetuated. Odysseus responds by eliminating him and bearing down the old guy’s advocates also as Athena cautions all from seeking “this bitter skirmish” (XXIV, 593). Just at the straight warning of Zeus’ wrath does the child of Laertes command himself and also finish the senseless battling. This finishing to The Odyssey suggests that Odysseus’ last activities somewhat do not have honor because they are unchecked as well as aimless; the violence leaves hand and endangers to put Odysseus right into difficulty once more. The finishing also reminds the target market that violence is such a consuming, powerful, painful, inefficient remedy to problem and also hardship. Physical violence only begets more violence, and also this way births none of the honor commonly designated to Greek warrior heroes.

The integral tragedy of violence is even more apparent in Antigone. The opening to the play, which instantly follows the fatal fight in between Eteocles and also Polyneices, establishes the tone for the rest of Antigone. A fierce war between 2 siblings starts the terrible cycle that will at some point destroy the entire previous and also existing royal household, as well as put a curse on Thebes.

The fate that befalls Antigone results from her public defiance of Creon’s required that Polyneices not be offered proper interment rites or honors. Rather, Antigone’s brother “need to be left to exist unwept, unburied,/ For hungry birds of prey to swoop as well as feast/ On” (28-30). Antigone hides her sibling anyhow, resulting in Creon’s judgment that she will certainly be carried out for insubordination against the state. The deaths that take place in the future in the play are the fate that Creon need to face for his impiety as well as opposition to the regulations of paradise.

However underlying all the fatalities as well as the troubles Creon creates for himself is the really event that starts this domino effect of pain as well as suffering: the war between Eteocles and Polyneices. Polyneices earnings this battle on Thebes to regain honor and power, marking the beginning of a curse that will afflict Thebes and also spoil its royalty. The overall misery of the characters in Sophocles’ disasters may be mapped back to Oedipus as well as his fated ruin; Oedipus leads a life of torment and regret as a result of his predestined regulation of Thebes, and his descendents normally bring the worry of his curse after he has died. Nonetheless, in Antigone, what starts the final stage of the Sophoclean disaster is a terrible clash that finishes lives as well as results in disaster in Thebes.

There is not much physical violence in Antigone; unlike The Odyssey, battles are not waged and also battles are not combated; nevertheless, where violence reveals itself one can discover a troubling web link between catastrophe as well as physical violence. Each occurrence of violence in the play is visuals and also ruthless in gloom. Birds as well as pets abuse Polyneices’ body. Antigone hangs herself in silent anticipation of rejoining herself with household in heck. Haemon “in sorrow … leaned upon the blade/ And also drove it half its length right into his body” (1234-5). Eurydice does herself in, pressing a sharp-edged blade with her bosom. Creon asks for fatality in the long run, recognizing the error of his regulation. Once again, violence produces even more violence, until finally the gods raise menstruation. Unfortunately, in Antigone, menstruation is lifted just when physical violence has actually eaten all.

Physical violence, an unavoidable component of Greek culture, exposes its dark shadows and agonizing legacy in both The Odyssey as well as Antigone. Although in some cases the fighting and also warring in rhyme and also play showcase the honor and bravery of violence, the vital impression to be attracted from both stories is that physical violence is one of the roots of suffering, hardship, and also distress. Physical violence, even when executed honorably, only causes more physical violence, and for the most part, when thought about from a distance, is unnecessary and also useless. Physical violence, maybe honorable and also terrific in some situations, remains in and of itself ignoble, providing little honor to those who engage in it.

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