Odysseus Punishment In Homer's Odyssey

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Throughout Homer’s Odyssey, the gods punish men for acts of folly and greed. Men are prone to succumbing to temptations, even when receiving clear guidance. When Odysseus is punished for bragging about putting out Polyphemos’ eye, his punishment seems appropriate. When his crew is killed for eating Helios’ cattle, the punishment seems too harsh. The problem is then whether the gods punish these acts in a fair and just manner. The gods guide mortals to the best of their ability, but it is ultimately up to mortals to make their own decisions. Humans often commit acts of folly and greed because of conditions where they need to fill their physical needs and desires rather than the spiritual law of the gods. The gods’ punishment for these acts is appropriate because of the reasons why people choose to …show more content…
Odysseus was to guide himself and his crew, but failed to do so, delaying his return home by many years. Odysseus’ crew killed the cattle in order to please their earthly needs and desires rather than to obey the sacred godly law. The suitors were greedy and disrespected divine morals. One can wonder why the gods view death as fitting in some instances, and this is a question that cannot completely be answered. Folly, as seen by Odysseus’ actions, appears to be less harshly punished than greed. Greed is more severe because it is what makes people commit crimes against the gods. Breaking the laws of hospitality and killing the cattle of Helios were attacks on the gods’ sacred values. Discipline and restraint are necessary, and motives for actions can speak louder than the acts themselves. These laws cannot be continuously broken, especially when men are repeatedly advised. Punishments may seem harsh, but the gods keep consistent the severity of punishments for instances of foolishness and