This excerpt discusses the first few lines of The Odyssey and additionally explains their importance and relevance to the strength of the female persona. Athena, Penelope and Odysseus all possess feminine traits, but use them in very different ways.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 24, 2021, 11:53 pm ad1c9bdddf
SOLUTION This solution is FREE courtesy of BrainMass!
The strength of the female persona is brought to the forefront of literature in the story of The Odyssey. This can be seen via characters Athena, Penelope and Odysseus. Although Odysseus is a man, he possesses feminine qualities, such as the ability to cry and show emotion publicly. Likewise, Athena is the character, or "god" if you will, who has the ability to keep hope alive for both Odysseus and Penelope. She is the glue that holds everything together while this couple's lives are in turmoil.
In addition to providing great examples of the strength in femininity, The Odyssey displays extreme cases of role reversal, especially in the characters Odysseus and Penelope. By giving the kingship to Penelope when Odysseus is away, strength is given to women, and by giving Odysseus the courage to cry and express strong emotions, strength is given to both men and women. These character traits prove that women are capable of being strong individuals and that Odysseus isn't reduced to anything less than a man because he doesn't revel in the absence of emotion.
In the first few lines of the passage, Odysseus shows deep, heartfelt emotion, which is a feminine quality, but the positive is that it rewards him with deeper admiration from Alcinous, the King of the Phaeacians, who ultimately saves his life and assists him in his heroic journey back to Ithica. Tears can be displays of both sentiment and passion that have the ability to change a person's mind, and are often used by women to sway the hearts and decisions of men, so that they can get what they want. The very fact that Odysseus' tears are mentioned at the beginning of this passage not only shows the importance of his emotion, but implicates the graveness of the situation at hand.
The tears of Odysseus are described as being "molten", which is a word that is usually attributed to the lava flowing slowly from a volcano. My interpretation of this is that his emotions were powerful enough to move the hearts of those at the assembly, and forever changing, which is substantiated when Alcinous decides to become involved in his personal matters. In addition to the lava reference, the tears were further described as flowing slowly "down his cheeks," which means they were full of emotion and released some sort of pressure that he had been holding inside for an undesirable period of time.
Odysseus had been away from home for longer than expected, but this the first time that it is mentioned that he cries. The fact that the tears are further described as being bright means that they could be seen by all of the assembly and proves that he was not ashamed to display his feelings of frustration and sorrow in front of everyone. In addition to the fact that the tears were allowed to freely fall down his cheeks without interruption, despite the wiping of his hands, Odysseus' noncontempt for crying shows bravery and a comfortability that has since been lost in society. If he had felt that there was any threat that he would be scorned in the assembly, he would not have done it openly. He could have fled the scene and chose seclusion by seeking shelter, but he instead stayed in front of the crowd and cried for all to see.
In the second line, Odysseus' crying is described as "weeping." The difference between crying and weeping are very extreme. When one weeps, it is usually a response to something deeply moving that has already taken place. However, when someone cries, they just show emotion and there very often is no depth to their tears.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 24, 2021, 11:53 pm ad1c9bdddf>