The Odyssey

People miss the main point and genius of Homer’s epic tale.  They get distracted by the amazing predicaments — a Cyclops, Sirens, etc. — Ulysses (Odysseus) faces on his dauntless journey homeward, which predicaments are no doubt very dramatic and therefore entertaining, but they are not the main point of the story.

The deeper meaning of this marvelous tale is that it is a perfect metaphor for what one goes through in dealing with life’s many challenges.   You find yourself in some kind of predicament and then have to figure out a solution.  If you don’t, life runs you over, but if you do, you continue on your merry way — until the next inevitable challenge.  

The dramatic challenges Ulysses faced were only different in scale, but not in kind, to those of ordinary life.  Yet the end result is the same in both cases: figure out the predicaments and you survive, even thrive; don’t figure them out and you are overwhelmed.  That’s the real takeaway from The Odyssey.

An interesting note: most scholars are of the opinion that Homer was blind.

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