When Homer told the story “ The Odyssey” he included three scenes which cause the listener to understand and favor Odysseus before Odysseus gets his revenge and takes back the kingdom, Ithaca. I think he intended these scenes to make us feel sorry for Odysseus, to show how Odysseus’ character has improved, and to make us root for Odysseus. The first of these scenes shows Odysseus returning to Ithaca and meeting his faithful dog Argos. Homer described Argos as being so old and tired that he could not lift himself from his own muck that was surrounding him. When Odysseus saw his dog, he asked the servant guiding him around how Argos was treated, since his owner wasn’t there anymore.
The servant laughed him off, but when Argos heard his Odysseus’ voice, he lifted his head and tried to wag his tail, overjoyed to see his missing master. Then as Odysseus walked away. “ death and darkness in that instant closed the eyes of Argus, who had seen his master Odysseus, after 20 years,” line 1206). As Odysseus walked away, the dog laid down his head, closed his eyes, and breathed his last. When you watch a movie, it’s commonplace to see bad guys dying, but if a dog dies, we will cry for an hour.
It’s one of the saddest, most emotion-invoking things that can happen, and I think that’s why it was included in this scene. Argos dying reminds us of all that Odysseus has been through and it makes us feel even sorrier for him. We remember all the men that he has lost and are reminded that for Odysseus to get his home back, more people must die. Another scene included in this story, which helps us understand Odysseus is when Odysseus meets Antonius. Remember that when Odysseus left Ithaca he was the king, but when he didn’t return, others began competing for his spot.
They knew the only way to become king was to marry the Queen. So, many suitors started staying in the palace, which was accepted because of the hospitality rules in Ancient Greece. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, visited the castle courtyard one day to beg for scraps of food from the suitors eating there. As he walked around the courtyard, he met a suitor named Antonius, who was the leader of the men gathered there. When he asked him for some food, Antonius refused.
This was incredibly rude, especially because the food wasn’t even his; it was actually Odysseus’, though he didn’t know that this was Odysseus. When Odysseus criticized him for being so selfish, Antonius became offended and decided to throw a chair at him. He expected this “ old” man to fall to the floor, humiliated as he had just been, but Odysseus barely flinched and kept walking. Antonius, upset that Odysseus was still standing, said, “ Eat and be quiet where you are, or shamble elsewhere, unless you want these men to shut your mouth pulling you at the heels, or your hands and feet, till your back is peeled!” (line 1247). At this point, other suitors reminded him that it might be a God he was speaking to.
But Antonius was arrogant, and he shrugged off their warnings. This scene gives us a contrast between Antonius, an arrogant brat, and Odysseus who calmly takes his time and plans out what he will do next. It also shows us how Odysseus has changed and improved. Before, he was the one charging in without a plan (like in Cyclops’ cave). Now, he thinks things through and considers all his options. One last scene which causes us to root for Odysseus, is when Odysseus was called in to talk with Penelope following his argument with Antonius.
While Odysseus is talking to her, we hear about how she has managed to remain unmarried after all these years. Penelope’s story proves what a good match she is for Odysseus, because of how smart and loyal she is to him. She explains that when Odysseus didn’t return, many suitors began living in the castle so they could court her. But she told all of them, “ Young men-my suitors , my lord is now dead, let me finish my weaving before I marry. . .
the country women would hold me in dishonor if he, with all his fortune, lay unshrouded,” (line 1324, 1329). They agreed with her, so all during the day she would weave the cover for his casket. Then at night, when no one was looking, she would undo all that she had done during the day. She did this for 3 years until one of her maids told the men and she was caught sneaking upstairs. Nevertheless, for 20 years she has managed to avoid being married.
This just is one of the examples shown to prove that Odysseus and Penelope are a good match. They are both loyal to their marriage, even after years of not seeing or talking to each other. It also makes us want Penelope to be married to Odysseus and not some jerk like Antonius. Without these three scenes, we would just think that Odysseus is a jealous king, wanting to wipe out all of his opponents. These scenes help us to understand Odysseus’ perspective, to have compassion for him, and to root for him in the battle that ensues.