English 220: Short Response Paper One

English 220: Short Response Paper One: For this first short paper (3-4 pages), select one of the characters from the three epics we have read/discussed, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and explain why that particular character is…

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English 220: Short Response Paper One

Paper details

English 220

Short response paper one

Fall 2022

Short Paper Assignment

For this first short paper (3-4 pages), select one of the characters from the three epics we have read/discussed, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and explain why that particular character is_________________________ (using the word ‘interesting’ is not an option).

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The array of possibilities is endless:

1.      The most respectful                              12. The most terrible

2.      The most dangerous                             13. The most pathetic

3.      The least respectful                              14. The least honorable

4.      The bravest                                           15. The least likeable

5.      The most deserving to be killed           16. The most irritating

6.      The wisest                                             17. The one you can most identify with

7.      The most arrogant                                 18. The one you can least identify with

8.      The most humble                                  19. The most sinful

9.      The most cunning                                  20. Most like your dad or mom or brother or

10.  The weakest                                                sister

11.  The most laughable

                                                                   AND OTHERS

Your only source need be the textbook, or the reading materials I have placed on Moodle.

Please double space, using 12 font, Times New Roman, and for all assignments like this.

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Solution

Odysseus’ Arrogance in The Odyssey

Odysseus is portrayed as the King of Ithaca and is married to Penelope. They were blessed with a son, Prince Telemachus (Hommer, 2021). Odysseus is portrayed as cunning and favored mainly by the goddess Athena. However, he has enemies like Poseidon, who are focused on frustrating every part of his journey. Despite being a courageous king, Odysseus is considered the most arrogant throughout his reign, including at his death.

Arrogance refers to behaving proudly and unpleasantly towards others, believing that you are more important than them. In this case, Hommer (2021) illustrates that in every situation Odysseus skillfully resolves, his arrogance would likely overshadow them, resulting in devastating consequences.

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Hommer (2021) portrays Odysseus’s arrogance in various situations across the king’s battles and journey. For instance, he arrogantly declares his escape from the Cyclops’ den as a success despite losing six men trapped inside the den. His arrogance continues during the escape, whereby he mocks the Cyclops by saying, “if any man on the face of the earth should ask who blinded you, shamed you so- say Odysseus, raider of cities” (Hommer, 2021).

He taunted the Cyclopes after blinding them, forcing Poseidon to curse him. Besides, Odysseus shows arrogance when he informs Polyphemus of his name, pitting his immortal indignation against the divine vengeance of Poseidon—discovering the origin of Odysseus forces Polyphemus to request his father, Poseidon, to punish Odysseus due to his arrogance.

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Consequently, after encountering Polyphemus at Ismarus’s circle, he fails to kill him since he wants him to open the door for him (Hommer, 2021). Arrogance drove his decision to confront Ismarus, resulting in two causalities on his side. Afterward, instead of being remorseful and consoling the lost lives, he arrogantly brags to King Alconis about his adventures of butchering a whole village. Still, on his adventure with Polyphemus, Odysseus arrogantly insists on staying in the cave, despite pleas from his men to leave for home. This results in their capture by the Cyclops.

Furthermore, Hommer (2021) observes that Odysseus displays arrogance by failing to give credit to the gods after defeating Troy, angering the gods, who later extend his trip home by 20 years. He believed in his greatness, comparing himself to the gods. He yells at the gods, claiming that he does not need their help and is not ready to offer them sacrifice for aiding the Greek’s victory.

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As a result, the gods retaliate by increasing obstacles on his journey. After the Greek’s victory, Odysseus claims he won the ultimate battle alone and did not recognize the Greek’s contribution (Hommer, 2021). He further declares that nobody knew about the wooden boat except him. Their success in evading the sea monster Poseidon sent to kill them depended on his knowledge of the sea, not the gods.

Additionally, Odysseus arrogance is displayed in his encounter with the Sirens, where he insists on listening to their songs. Hommer (2021) illustrates that Odysseus wants to forcefully listen to the songs and live to tell the tale, ordering his men to strap him on a mast as the Sirens sing. He further attempts to fight Scylla, including interrupting the goddess, Circe.

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He mocks the goddess by saying, “Yes, yes, but tell the truth now, goddess,” “Deadly Charybdis—can’t I possibly cut and run from her and still fight Scylla off when Scylla strikes my men?” (Hommer, 2021). The goddess only advised him on his journey, and recklessly interrupting her with words shows arrogance. Despite Circe being a minor goddess, she still expects respect from people.

Athena, the goddess, also understands Odysseus’ arrogance and always allows him to earn victory even after her intervention (Hommer, 2021). She knew that Odysseus always had two options in battles, to become victorious or be killed. In this case, claiming victory when she intervenes on behalf of Odysseus could result in arrogance, whereby Odysseus is likely to refute such claims.

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Also, Odysseus’s arrogance is evident when he refuses to take responsibility for his leadership failures. Instead, he blames his crew. He abuses his men and calls them mutinous fools (Hommer, 2021). Consequently, after the sacking of Ismarus, Odysseus arrogantly mocks him by saying, “then I urged them to cut and run, set sail, but would they listen? Not those mutinous fools; there was too much wine to swill, too many sheep to slaughter down along the beach, and shambling longhorn cattle” (Hommer, 2021).

Therefore, based on the analysis above, it is evident that in every intelligent and successful thing that Odysseus achieves, his arrogance overshadows him from enjoying them. Hommer (2021) portrays Odysseus’s arrogance in various situations, such as during his escape from cyclopes, when he yells his name at Polyphemus, when he brags about his adventures to King Alconis and when he fails to give credit to the gods after emerging victorious in Troy.

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Other situations where his arrogance is evident include when he insists on listening to Sirens, mocking Circe, when Athena allows him to claim victory, and when he fails to fails to take responsibility for his failures. Henceforth, a king’s reign should not be marred with arrogances since it can result in devastating consequences to their subjects, like being unceremoniously killed in situations that could have been avoided.

Reference

  • Hommer (2021). The Odyssey. Prabhat Prakashan Publishers

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