Importance of Greek Mythology

8 August 2016

“Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and their own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars referred to the myths and studied them in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and, in general, on the ancient Greek civilization.(citation) Mythical narration played a very large, and also important role in the lives of the ancient Greeks, they relied mainly on the mythical stories to guide them through crisis and gave them something to believe in; as many people follow God’s words and the Holy Bible in our current time. The epic poems “The Illiad” and “The Odyssey” are the oldest known literary sources from the mythology time that we know of. These poems include very many important life lessons such as spiritual growth, loyalty, and perseverance; but these are only a select few of the main themes in the epic poem, “The Odyssey.

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Homer does an excellent job in relating this message through various characters, adventures, and obstacles throughout the book. In the epic poem, “The Odyssey,” Homer shows the importance of spiritual growth through many instances. Odysseus begins on Calypso’s island and he has been led to believe he owns everything, except for the most important thing, happiness. Odysseus’ becomes depressed because he realizes how much he misses his home land. Homer introduces Odysseus at a bad time to emphasize the growth of Odysseus’ spirit from beginning to the very end.

If Homer would have written about Odysseus in high spirits from the beginning, then the growth would not have seemed as prevalent. Odysseus seems to brighten up quite a bit as he sees the light in sailing home. He is brutally tested Poseidon nearly kills him when on the coast of the first island that he reaches, Scheria. The Odyssey says, “and trapped within that backwash of the brine, Odysseus would have died before his time had not gray-eyed Athena counseled him. ” This is only one instance of many that seems to shows the lesson of spiritual growth in “The Odyssey.

This epic poem also portrays loyalty in very many different ways from characters to situations. In The Odyssey, there remained three main characters that stood out and showed their trustworthiness to Odysseus while he was away fighting in the Trojan War and trying to make his way back to Ithaca. It seems that out of all the characters, the most loyal person to Odysseus could have been simply overlooked, but it most definitely would have been Odysseus’s wife, Penelope. She remained faithful to her husband even after almost twenty years apart from him.

She refused to marry one of the suitors that hassled her day by day; so it came as a surprise to learn that Odysseus is most unfaithful to his wife. This part of the epic poem represented the human-like personality of Odysseus in showing that even he could make mistakes, and also wasn’t anything close to perfect. Telemachus, at one point, shows his loyalty to Odysseus by joining him on going on a voyage to learn more about his father, Odysseus. There are a lot of different meanings for each tale and in the Odyssey itself, and there are many more understandings than just one interpretation.

From this perspective, one of the main themes of the Odyssey is perseverance. Perseverance is a very important theme and is one that is seen quite a lot throughout the entire epic poem and definitely by more than one character. First of all, there is Odysseus and he was greeted with perseverance in the very beginning of the story. He was held captive by Calypso on an island, when later visited by Athena, Odysseus develops an even stronger desire to go home. In spite of Calypso’s persistence, he then decided to leave. Odysseus also had an encounter with Circe, and was presented with very many different types of temptation.

He took the sea once more with his son and wife in mind, and proceeded home. Odysseus and his men end up running into the lotus-eaters. The lotus plants provided an excellent, relaxing feeling for all of the crew, and no one wanted to leave except for Odysseus who stayed his course. Perseverance is also displayed in his way of thoughts, and also his desire to survive and at times conquer, are qualities that promote his perseverance. For example, when Odysseus finally returns home, he plans to kill all of the suitors that have been courting his wife and ends up doing so.

Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey have let us get a bit of a taste of the importance Greek Mythology for the ancient Greeks. His writings have let us see how much they believed in the Greek mythology and how they applied the life lessons to their personal lives. I found many comparisons to the Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology to our God that many people believe in today. Their words and stories were as important to us as His stories are to us today. Homer’s epic poem, The odyssey included many obviously important life lessons that the ancient Greeks learned from and took from the stories in the way they lived their lives.

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