Greek Myths


Section I:"Odysseus the most cunning man in the world."

Odysseus, son of Procris and Cephalus of the Royal House of Athens,
played a major role in the Trojan War. However, the legends of Odysseus do
not begin until after the great war. At the end of the war he was
separated from the rest of the Greek armies and was forced to wander for
ten years until he was reunited with his family. His journeys in those ten
years were very similar to Jason's journey in his search for the Golden
Fleece. Also, in the course of Odysseus' adventures, he proved himself to
be not only a great hero but also a cunning and resourceful man, worthy of
the title the most cunning man in the world.

There are many similarities between the adventures of Jason and those
of Odysseus'. Both heroes proved themselves to be mighty warriors; Jason,
when forced to battle against the soldiers of the dragon teeth and Odysseus
during the long battles of Troy. Both heroes showed extreme courage in the
face of danger and neither shied from doing what was necessary to complete
their quest. Both men were also very modest and were able to except help
when needed, either form gods or from other mortals. Jason did not
hesitate to ask for help from the princess Medea. Odysseus accepted help
from a simple sheep herder in order to reclaim his home. Although these
two heroes had similar adventures and shared similar qualities, they were
very different.

The first difference we notice between these two heroes is their
lineage. Like most Greek heroes, Jason was a direct descendant of the gods.
Odysseus on the other hand was not. He was a member of the Royal House of
Athens and not divine as were many of his peers and relatives. Odysseus
was also more compassionate than Jason. Jason used people to his own end
and then disregarded them. An example of this would be his relationship
with Medea. She made him into the hero he was, saved his life many times,
and left her homeland to follow her love Jason. Jason, however, upon
reaching home with the Golden Fleece, decided to marry a princess to gain
more political power. He made this decision with no thought towards
Medea's feelings and her love for him. Odysseus, in contrast, was far more
loyal to his family and followers. He placed their happiness and safety on
an equal or greater level then his own. For instance, when he was on the
island with Calypso, the nymph, it would have been very easy for him to
abandon his desire to return home and live in perfect comfort forever. We
see his concern again on the Island with the witch Circe. After the witch
had turned all of Odysseus's companions into swine, Odysseus with little or
no thought for his own safety, went to confront the witch to save his crew.
However, the most notable difference between these heroes lies not in
they're adventures but rather in how they approached and dealt with their
problems.

Jason, like most Greek heroes, felt that the easiest way to deal with
a problem was to kill it. Odysseus, on the other hand thought of other
possible solutions to his problems. He would try to use his intellect as
well as his brawn to accomplish his goals. Throughout his adventures and
as early as the Trojan War, we see Odysseus's cunning. It is he who is
attributed with the idea for the Trojan horse (a large hollow horse filled
with Greek soldiers). A second example was when he landed on the island
of the Cyclops during his adventures. The Cyclops demanded to know who he
was to which he answered "I am Noman" With those words he shot an arrow and
blinded the Cyclops's one eye. During Odysseus' retreat, another cyclops
approached the first and asked what happened to his eye. The first cyclops
responded that no man had shot his eye. This ensured Odysseus's escape from
the island because the second cyclops didn't realize there were intruders.
A last example of his cunning is at the end of his adventures. Odysseus
returned home and found all the suitors there. Dressed as a beggar, he had
no trouble retaking his bow and then killing all of the suitors. So we see
that Odysseus could rely on both his wit and his strength to save him from
dangerous situations. This is why he was given the title " the most
cunning man in the world."





Section II: Adonis

Sonnet, XVII.


Cherry-lipt Adonis in his snowie shape,
Might not compare with his pure Iuorie white,
On whose faire front a