Odyssesy Essay - October 1 2007 Humanities 1010 Sec 733 Dr...

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October 1, 2007 Humanities 1010 Sec. 733 Dr. Shirley Carnahan #4 The Power of the Mind Can a person get by on their physical strength alone? There are many people that believe a strong mind is more important than physical strength. Homer agreed with this belief, and made the importance of a strong mind a central theme in his epic The Odyssey . Although Odysseus is known as a great warrior, his wit is highlighted in Homer’s epic poem. In The Odyssey , Odysseus learns the importance of cunning over strength. This attribute is emphasized by characters throughout the epic, and called upon to be used by Odysseus on his journey home, as well as when he arrives home. Odysseus encounters numerous characters and stories that tell about the importance of a strong mind throughout his trip home. One instant in which Odysseus hears a lesson of cunning over strength is in the land of the Phaiákians when the minstrel, Demódokos sings about Arês, Aphroditê and Hephaistos. “‘The tortoise tags the hare—/ Hephaistos catches Arês—and Arês outran the wind.”’ (Book VIII, lines 351-352, page 134) This quotation from Demódokos reveals that a strong mind is more beneficial then physical strength. As the passage says Hephaistos is able to catch Arês, who is faster than the wind because of his wits. Hephaistos, using patience and planning is able to accomplish a feat he could not have with strength alone. The minstrel is speaking directly to Odysseus who takes great pleasure in the story. Homer chose to have the minstrel sing this tale because it truly embodies the central theme of a strong mind. 1
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Odysseus hears about the importance wit over strength from Demódokos, and also from Circe on his journey home through the strait where Scylla and Charybdis lurk. To get home Odysseus must pass through this dangerous strait. Circe tells Odysseus that the only way to navigate through safely is to row as fast as he can past Scylla. She advises not to stop, if he tries to fight he will loose more men then if he sped by. “‘No, no, put all your backs into it, row on; /
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