Empathy For Odysseus
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Empathy For Odysseus

My personal view on the sorrows of the Homeric hero

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Empathy For Odysseus
Sloclassical.org

The war, a destructive whirlwind of devastation, ripped me from my family and stranded me from their embrace for seven months. When I was finally freed from its steely grip, a new-found hope planted in my bosom, once again I was ravaged by fortune and all thoughts of reunion were dashed. It has been ten months now. Ten long months of anguish have passed since I last glimpsed a fleeting image of my spouse, since I last heard the joyous melody of my young son’s voice. My memory, although so fresh merely months ago, now seems stale and tarnished. When I return home, if I return home, how my son will have grown. I think I will hardly recognize him and, so then, he will hardly recognize me. I must wonder if I am destined to become a shattered memory to my child. And, my spouse, the love of my life, I can hardly recall how the light once danced about his frame. My family is becoming a fantastical silhouette on the dreary expanse of my reality. My heart, once swelling with pride and teeming with youthful ambition, now rests shriveled and dead in my chest. The thought of my family, of the loved ones I have left behind, now haunts me. They are my ghosts, the phantoms of a life that has long since died. I, trapped in my suffering, have no one with which to take my revenge, to punish for the wrongs done to me.

I could, I suppose, resent the war, the dark force that first forced my departure, or my men, a personified embodiment of the trials and tribulations I have faced on a daily basis, or even fate, the pull of destiny that guided me to ruin. But, I know that these lines of thought are pointless. War cannot pity me, war cannot compensate for my loss. It is a force of nature whose innate being can never be changed by the likes of me. It is pointless to blame war. The men in my unit are even less to blame for my challenges. What would be the point in foisting my sorrow onto them, those who have also suffered? We are, inevitably, lost in a sea of anguish, stranded in a desert of hopelessness. But, we are together. They are my constant companions and, without them, who is to say if I would even be alive. While it is true that many of the issues of our voyage were caused by my men, it is also true that they are my men and that I, their leader, should have controlled them. I should have guided them and protected them from danger, even if the danger I protected them from was, in fact, themselves. It is pointless to blame my unit. Just so, it is of no use to curse the Fates. Destiny, as is said, lies in one’s own hands and I have failed to grasp it. Even if my sorrows were created by some otherworldly force, I cannot judge what is best. Perhaps my suffering is necessary, perhaps it is right. The longer I think on the matter, the more certain I am that I must have done something, committed some misdeed, to incur the wrath of the Almighty. And, so, it is pointless to blame fate.

In fact, the only entity that I can blame is myself. For, I am the only force with which I have control, the only vessel with which dominion lies solely in my grasp. And, it is that fact, the knowledge, that I did not, could not, control my own situation that leaves me so dejected. Yes, I am the only figure that can assume the blame, I am the only person with which I can enact my own revenge. And, as time passes, I stray closer and closer to the path of revenge. A path, I am sure, that will lead to the destruction of the one who has wronged me. Then, perhaps, death is not a true punishment, for in death, I may find rest. Instead, I stand, an internal war raging in my heart. Doubt and pain, no longer mere emotions, loom as sentient guardians preventing me from attaining the happiness I so desire. I cannot die, but I also cannot truly live. So, I withstand. I carry on. I survive in the hope that one day I will find my way back to those I love. I survive so that I may punish myself in suffering for my own weakness. I survive and I am in agony.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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