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Melissa Jean Hinton

Professor Vanelis Rivera
World Literature I
16 September 2013
The Odyssey
A Focus on Death and Immortality
Would you want to live forever? Imagine a life with no death, a life without having a fear of
death and all that comes with dying. Death is merely the dissolve of the sprits capsule. Odysseus travels
take him far from home and shuffle him around the great seas. He longed for his home, his wife
Penelope, and their children. Damned and cursed by Cyclops, Polyphemus, Odysseus had reason to fear
for his life. The brave soul journeyed on so that he may reach his beloved family. After a treacherous
journey hes shipwrecked and finds his way to Ogygia, home of sea nymph Goddess Calypso.
The beautiful and seductive Goddess Calypso takes it upon herself to rescue Odysseus and
nurture him to good health. The lonesome Goddess imprisoned Odysseus for seven years. They
attended to the needs of one another, although Odysseus still yearned for his home. After some years
she was visited by Hermes under the direction of Zeus. Zeus demanded that Calypso release Odysseus.
Disheartened by Zeuss words, she watched him weep as he gazed out into the ocean, homesick and
heartbroken. Calypso would made Odysseus a prodigious offer.

Son of Laertes in the line of Zeus, my wily Odysseus
Do you really want to go home to your beloved country
Right away? Now? Well, you still have my blessings.
But if you had any idea of all the pain
Youre destined to suffer before getting home,
Youd stay here with me, deathless
Think of it. Odysseus!no matter how much
You missed your wife and wanted to see her again.
You spend all your daylight hours yearning for her.
I dont mind saying shes not my equal
In beauty, no matter how you measure it.
Mortal beauty cannot compare with immortal.(389-390)
Odysseus now has to make the choice between mortality and immortality. In comparison to
wife Penelope, Calypso is a perpetually young beauty. Considering the amount of time that Odysseus
has been ensnared by the Goddess Calypso, he knows that she is lonely and governs him. In contrast,
Penelope is loyal to Odysseus. He is determined to return to his family and professes his love for
Penelope to the Goddess. The offer of eternal life was not enough to dissuade his adoring heart.
Against the will of her heart, the jealous Calypso decided to release the grief-filled Odysseus
from her control. She provided him with tools and resources, but not physical help. Odysseus wasnt
the only one that was heartbroken. Out of kindness and love she stocked Odysseus raft to make sure
he did not grow weak and hungry. Even though she had trapped him for years, she didnt have a cold

Odysseus encounters several other treacherous events that probably make him question
whether or not he should have accepted Calypsos gift of immortality. Throughout the entire series of
catastrophic events throughout the epic, he has one main goal: To go home and be reunited with his
cherished family and country. When he finally arrives home, around a month later, he realizes that
immortality was not important. A life without real love, like he had for Penelope, was no life at all.
If Odysseus would have accepted Calypsos offer for immortality he would have lost the ones
close to his hearts and those he called friends. Imagine a world of aging friends where death were
imminent and there was nothing you could do to encourage time to stop ticking away. An immortal life
would surely guarantee a life of boredom. What would Odysseus gain from immortality other than
agelessness and deathlessness? For him, the benefits from the acceptance of death outweighed a life
with Calypso. She was possibly bored with her own immortality, which is why she entangled Odysseus
and tried to coax him to join her realm of life.
Odysseus was ultimately reunited with his friends, family, and countrymen. Ithaca, in itself, was
paradise for him.
No sight is sweeter to me than Ithaca. Yes,
Calypso, the beautiful goddess, kept me
In her caverns, yearning to possess me;
And Circe, the witch of Aeaea, held me
In her halls and yearned to possess me;
But they could not persuade me or touch my heart.
Nothing is sweeter than your own country
And your own parents, not even living in a rich house
Not if its far from family and home. (426-427)

He would leave a legacy behind through his children and through telling his story. Although the
concept of death is frightening, our lives live on through memories and stories. Odysseus recognized
this and that is why he was not afraid of death and was able to endure all of the catastrophes that he

Works Cited
Puchner, Martin, and Homer. "The Odyssey." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd ed. Vol. A. n
New York: W.W. Norton &, 2012. 385+. Print.