Trials and tribulations are inevitable in our lives. This is one of the many messages of The Odyssey. These trials and tribulations are the doors towards enlightenment. They are the reasons why we yearn for relief – why we yearn for our homes. While the “home” or Itacha – Odysseus’ homeland represents happiness, trials and tribulation represents the opportunities to appreciate the “home.” In the story, Odysseus had to leave Itacha in order to venture on a war on other islands. He traveled many seas and went different islands, and on each island he encountered different trials and tribulations. One such island, Odysseus encountered enemies which could take away his life from him. These enemies were the giant monsters, sirens, and marooned. But, with Athena he was able to vanquish these enemies. These enemies are all “out of this world,” so are some of the trials that a person may encounter in his or her life. In a research article written by Freda Carmack (n.d.), she explains that examples of such trials in the real world include those that are faced by war veterans, or those who have just came from wars. These people, he explains, encounter trials and tribulations in the battle field – they have to defend their life. They also face trials and tribulations when they go back to their homes.
Nevertheless, Odysseus’ trials and tribulations are not always in the form monsters, sometimes, they were in the form of temptations. In the story, the Sirens’ song and their ability to foretell the future are temptations to Odysseus. These temptations offer temporary release of tension, fear, hatred, the pains that Odysseus and his men feel. Odysseus says, “So did they chant with their entrancing voice. My heart longed so to listen, and I asked my men to set me free” (Mandelbaum 243). Also, in the land called “Lotus Eaters,” his me, due to the fatigue and sickness that they feel in their hearts, ate the lotus fruits and immediately they forgot about their feelings, but the fruit caused them to “disremember their homeward path” (Mandelbaum 172 ). It is because of this effect Siren’s songs and of the fruit that Odysseus resisted them. If he does not resist them then he will not be able to return to his homeland.
Odysseus’s success in resisting the temptations while on their journey was useful when he returned home. When he returned home, suitors are tempting him. But, because of his spiritual growth acquired in his journey, he was able to resist them. He finally learned that his journey is a lesson in itself. It is through similar journeys that a person will gain spiritual growth, understand the world better, and gain happiness in this world. But before achieving all these, we must face out trials and tribulations – we must resist temptations.
In conclusion, Odysseus, indeed, represent some of us, and the events in his journey represent the trials and tribulations that we encounter in our lives. The Odyssey is, therefore, not just a piece of art that is to be read for leisure, but one that is applied tour day to day life.
Carmack, Freda. There is no place like home: The straggle to find peace after the war. n.d. Web. 27 Jun 2014.
Mandelbaum, Allen. The Odyssey. 1990. Web. 27 June 2014.