The Odyssey: Initiation/Return

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  • The Road of Trials
  • *jumps*
  • The Road of Trials
  • Row faster!
  • The Road of Trials
  • NO DON'T EAT THEM!
  • Yumm...
  • On his way back home to Ithaca, Odysseus faces many trials. One of the first is the cyclops Polyphemus. There is no way for him to use strength to escape, so he must rely on his intelligence. He blinds the cyclops with a sharpened stick, stressing that brains are just as important as brawn.
  • Temptation/Rescue from Without
  • You have to let him go, Calypso.
  • Scylla and Charybdis are another trial Odysseus comes across. There's no safe way to get around either of them. Odysseus chooses to approach Scylla instead of Charybdis, and this requires great sacrifice. But sacrifice is preferable to complete annihilation (which is what Charybdis would have brought).
  • Ultimate Boon/Crossing the Return Threshold
  • Another trial that Odysseus faces is the cattle of the sun god Helios. Odysseus was warned by Tiresias not to eat them, but his crew didn't listen to him. As a punishment, all of them were killed. This emphasizes the dangers of being disobedient and self-indulgent.
  • Freedom to Live
  • On Calypso's island, Odysseus is made an offer. The goddess tempts him to stay with her by offering him immortality. Odysseus refuses, but Calypso keeps him prisoner anyway. Eventually Hermes comes to tell Calypso, by order of Zeus, to let Odysseus go.
  • Odysseus has made it home, and there's one final challenge he has to face. In order to win his wife's hand and rid the palace of the suitors, he as to string his own bow and shoot it through twelve axes.
  • Who is he...?
  • He's never going to be able to do it!
  • Odysseus succeeds in the challenge, gets rid of the suitors (with the help of his now fully grown son, Telemachus), and reclaims the throne of Ithaca. He is reunited with his family, and his persistence to overcome every challenge thrown his way has finally rewarded him.
  • Happily Ever After
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