THESIS STATEMENT: The Oddysey showcases a lot of Greek virtues such as
endurance/perseverance, courage, and self-control which all help create the building blocks to a developmental society.
Point 1: Endurance/Perseverance is the heart of the three virtues, giving those a reason to move forward despite what could be dragging them down.
Detail a: “Solitary conferment has long been considered a severe punishment because in solitary confinement, after a period of solution from other men and form a verified environment, a man is quite literally stripped of his identity. Prisoners of war have regularly been subjected to this type of treatment as a means of “breaking” them.” (Lowery 1078)
Detail b: “Achilles, overreaching, transgressive hero that he often is, initially identifies his goals with the will of Zeus and only too late recognizes the suffering implied in that identification. Odysseus, whose life is defined by restraint, moderation, and continuity, can use his moral understanding as a way of achieving his goals.” (Segal 492)
Detail c: “One of Odysseus’ most common epithets in the Odyssey is polutlās, “much-enduring.” Endurance points to a capacity to suffer hardship and has been lauded as a heroic virtue in many cultures. This passive submission to suffering, however, has lost its luster in recent generations.” (Wiggins 1)
Point 2: Courage is not a virtue showcasing strength, but rather the ability to accept and overcome fear.
Detail 2a: “And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it, neither brave man nor coward, I tell you it’s born with us the day that we are born. So please go home and tend to your own tasks, the distaff, and the loom, and keep the women working hard as well. As for the fighting, men will see to that, all who were born in Troy but I most of all.” (Illiad 212, Hector)
Detail 2b: “Odysseus is noted for his bravery, as is shown by Penelope’s repeatedly calling him “my lion-hearted husband.” Bravery does not mean that one does not have fear at all. Rather, it is the courage to overcome fear, which distinguishes a hero from the crowd whose courage has to be inspired by the hero. And his courage is all the more heroic when the danger comes from giants and monsters who are much bigger than him in stature and much more powerful than he is. When he answers the challenge the sea god Poseidon poses to him, his heroic courage reaches its peak” (Liang 43)
Detail 3b: “At least three of the dangers Odysseus encounters are dangers precisely because of what they would do for this desire of man to experience the world around him.” (Lowery 1079)
Point 3: Self-Control helps those keep sight of what is most important to them by controlling how they react to the things around them.
Detail 3a: “Odysseus’ encounter with her is a kind of mock preparation for his meeting with his actual true love on the next island he comes to, and the girl’s balked interest shows us Odysseus’ unwaning attractiveness. In which the character considers two alternative lines of action, regularly concludes with the second choice adopted, but twice neither is chosen.” (Segal 342)
Detail 3b: “At the beginning of the Odyssey, Calypso is keeping Odysseus in a kind of solitary confinement, and even though the very human Odysseus was at first attracted to the sensual goddess, he too begins to break and by the time the odyssey opens in the eighth year of his confinement, Odysseus sits “weeping on the shore even as aforetime, straining his soul with tears and groans and griefs.” (Lowery 1078)
Detail 3c: (Danger with lack of self-control) “Themistocles himself was also a product of a shame society. Plutarch writes that “Themistocles‟ longing for fame laid an irresistible hold on him…. From the very beginning, he was seized with the desire to win the leading place in the state…. And to play a part in great events had become a passion with him.5 Plutarch‟s characterization of Themistocles suggests that he possessed a thirst for honor that would rival his Mycenaean forefathers. One could perhaps deduce from Themistocles‟ mixed parentage that he developed an inferiority complex that could never be quite quenched. In the world of Odysseus, the keyword as stated earlier in this study was “unhonored”. In the world of Themistocles, the keyword was “honor”. In the context of an “honor-shame culture,” both words represent the same idea.” (Chandler 5,6)