Homer’s The Odyssey: Use of Mythological and Cultural Elements

Odyssey is one of the most popular classic epic poems in the field of socio-cultural development. Its narration gains credit in the way to attain the means of structuring and restructuring the life of Greece as whole. The concept of Odyssey is an amalgamation of cultural entities and diversified mythological representation. The elements of myth and cultural depiction are very clear by the elaborative description of Odysseus. The dominance of cultural entity and mythical elaborations are the basis for understanding the character of Odysseus.

This paper in particular is dealing with the cultural and the mythological elements used in the Odyssey. The approach is to see the ways through which Homer established the relevance of mythological and cultural elements in the plot.

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Thesis Statement

Odyssey is a blended narrative structure, representing the cultural and the mythological elements of Greece in a balanced form.

Elements of Myth

Odyssey has always been recognized as a classical mythological narration. The elements of myths are very close to social and ritualistic approaches created and followed by the people during those days. The participation of Homer in elaborating these elements is very strong. His technological narrative structures are closer to empirical status and thus are utilized for meeting the ground for mythological definitions. The narration of poetic art to describe the conflict between Odysseus and father Laertes are the core elemental concerns led by Homer. Homer used diversified elements to create mythological instances and most of them were related to this conflicting status.

On more particular analytical base it can be considered that there are two specific elements of myth in Odyssey that can be recognized very easily. From a geographical perspective, this myth can be identified through the process of ordering the entire world. As in the play Odysseus decides to travel through landscape, the elements of myths are interwoven with it from local to the universal structure. This can be marked in Chapter XIII, where there is the elaboration about the ring of mountains surrounded around Phaecia. While explaining this sight, Homer added mythical supposition to the entire scenery. He declared that this geographical structure is due to the anger displayed by Poseidon added by the process of urging made by Zeus. This declaration is still a part of Greek culture and many people consider it as fact than myth unexplained. A detailed understand of the world gets achieved by means of considering and reconsidering the mountains around Phaecia as a kind of instance.

Apart from this mountain around Phaecia, Homer adds the element of conveying the cultural values. The approaches are different yet there is a steady versatility determined through courage and the display of power. Homer described the soldierly courage of Odyssey innumerable times and every time makes the reader realize the addiction of sustainability. The purpose is t show the mythological superior figure of man and his capacity to dominate the sources of generating strength and power in the society.

There is a sense of superiority and demand to be the authority, in the words of Odyssey. The myth of considering King as next to God can be well realized here. His dignity lies among followers and to remain with this dignity, Homer adds the element of superiority to the plot.

Homer adds the metaphorical journey of Odysseus and creates room for mythological aspects. Being the hero, he fights every external war, but being a man he fails to lead his mind as per his wish. This is a static psychological set back that Odysseus faces and establishes the demand for mythological entities rather than any kind of practical practices, just like the experiences in the idyllic island. Added to this, the introduction of characters like Cyclopes provides the plot with the mythological romantic descriptions. Justifications related to mythology have been handled by Homer with more regular supervision over the characteristic feature of understanding difference between myth and practical life.

The typical feature that elaborates Homer’s mythological structure is reflected through different kinds of value system within the narrative process.

The declaration specifies that for Greeks, the concerns related to hospitality are very much close to expectations and are much valued against the modern lifestyle. The persuasions are mythological, but the approaches are very practical. The point that the Grecians use to consider is that to show more obedience to Zeus and other gods, it is important that they carry on the tradition of hospitality. It can be thus derived that the nature to show and maintain hospitality is directly related to the process of accepting obedience for Almighty. This is something that is very mythological in nature, and Homer uses it to show the psychological set up of Grecians. The elements of myth among the Grecians are established by Homer with practical exemplifications. Every mythological instance used by Homer has been well justified as per the ritualistic and social believes carried by the Grecians.

Use of Culture by Homer

The cultural aspects followed by Greeks are well utilized by Odyssey. To a great extent Odyssey came up with all popularity and valued the process offering respect to the every guest and strangers. It can be marked when Telemachos came to the King, there was the issue of security and king’s servants, Eteoneus Boëthoïdês was all with the traditional means of judging and answering. The initiations were all in favor of greeting guests with honor and splendorous arrangements. In reference to Menelaos’ palace the greeting gets followed by the trend of inquiry about the identity.

Homer in particular tried to show the gorgeous and sophisticated cultural structure of Greek civilization and thereby made Odyssey the base for these preliminary identifications. It has been established that the Greek culture is not only very modern in approach, but also is very sensitive regarding relationships and responsibilities. The people in particular value relationships and believe in the persuasion of right kind of declarations for the maintenance of the same. The cultural means of experiencing life and realizing the truth can be identified through the knowledge that Odysseus collected while dealing with physical and psychological conflicts with Poseidon.

Realization of Odysseus is the chain that ties the conceptual identification of life among the people of Greece. With excessive cultural dominance, Odysseus makes a very strong impact over its spectators. It is this process of creating impact that influences the cultural structure to the core. The in depth realization of life, sufferance and death has been made an integral part of life and people enjoyed the sense of ecstasy through Odysseus.

Elements of depression add the sources for an elaborated psychological demonstration from Odysseus. It is through the feelings and expression that Odysseus describes the communal pain and the unleashed faith over unpredictable entities. Essence of spirituality and the perceptions over practical life cycle has been explored by Homer and the same realization has been passed to the population in general.

When it comes to cultural representations, Homer made it very clear that ancient Greeks are indentified for their faithfulness. This has been considered as a thread to relate the social aspects of the society for showing the elements of cultural explorations. As the book opens Homer illustrates the presence of gods.

The warning of God displays the mythological impact of ruling led by God and the decisive notion to identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’. As gods believe that the deeds of Aigisthos are dreadful there is an obvious value added to the essence of faithfulness. In the plea, it has been discovered that Athena feels the essence of faithfulness as an important element, as she believes that Zeus owes Odysseus for the purpose of exhibiting static and rigid faithful behavior. This leads to the demand for Zeus to help Odysseus as gods always chose to help those who are faithful and offer respect as well as dedicated honor to the gods.

Odysseus’ value for faithfulness can be marked among his citizens. His treatments and declarations for those who are faithful, encourages the element of cultural existence in ancient Greece. Though modern Greece may be as faithful as initiated by Odysseus, yet Homer created the impression of faithfulness among the people of Greece. Loyalty and different aspects of managing socio cultural determinations are illustrated by Homer and he is very balanced in declaring the essence of establishing a very decent and well structured society in Greece.


As considered by the thesis statement, Odyssey is an influential narration and has been structured on the basis of mythological elements. Its impact over the construction of culture and social formulation is very strong. The characterization of Odysseus has been made for the purpose of reaching all those people who are inclined to release their frustration and want to attain peace. The sense of depression and the sufferance faced by Odysseus are utilized by Homer to elaborate the Greek society and human psychology. Depiction of society, beliefs, ethical considerations and psychological pressures are analyzed by Homer through Odysseus and that creates foundational understanding of the plot for socio-cultural structures. Uses of myth are the managed by Homer to add the descriptive instances of managing popular culture. To make people believe the practical and in-depth psychological structure, Homer used mythological aspects and added the sense of self realization to the spectators.

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