Homer's Odyssey Essay: How Free Is An Individual?

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How free is an individual? The changes that Odysseus and Augustine undergo convey how a person is affected heavily by influence. Their stories show the relationship between an individual’s freedom and the influence of their environment. The environment affects the individual but ultimately the individual is free to make his or her own choices. Odysseus’ pride was dangerous. His pride in blinding Polyphêmos delayed his return home. Once Polyphêmos knew Odysseus’s name he was able to pray that Odysseus would never return home. (Homer, IX, 576-580) Poseidon did all that he could to fulfill this prayer. (Homer, I, 90-99). If Odysseus would have kept calling himself Nohbody he would have avoided his punishment but proud Odysseus had to insure…show more content…
In order to be humbled he had to lose everything he had. He lost his fortune, his crew, and right at his conversion he lost his clothing. (Homer, page 91, lines 385-389). This loss of physical items lead him to abandon his pride. As he lost these items he became more and more aware of the effects his pride had on his situation. He understood that his ruin occurred because he decided to choice pride over humility. If he would have never lost all that he would not have been inclined to choice humility. His acceptance of humility is symbolically displayed in the scene with Ino’s veil. In ancient Greek culture some boys would have to dress as a women during their coming of age ceremony and when they removed the garment they were a man. (Keene). Homer is alluding to this when Odysseus has to put on Ino’s veil. (Homer, V, 385-389). By letting go of the beam Odysseus is letting go of the last thing connecting him to his old self and by putting on and removing the veil he is choosing to become a new humble man. Odysseus does change from that moment…show more content…
His path to true fulfilment began with him reading Cicero’s Hortensius. (Augustine, 39). This philosophical document gave him the idea that through wisdom he could find happiness. (Augustine, 39). Prior to this Augustine was wandering aimlessly to try to find happiness. Cicero oriented Augustine’s choices towards wisdom, and ultimately God. Cicero also sparked in interest in sacred scripture for Augustine, but he turned away from it because choice to only accept it at face value. (40). This literal understanding of scripture made him susceptible to the ideas of the Manichees. (Augustine, 40). On this part of his path he began to accept God as the source of wisdom but his understanding of God was limited because of the false teachings and literal interpretations of the Manichees. Augustine finally experiences his fulfilment when he leaves the ideas of the Manichees in Carthage and places himself in a new environment. In Milan he figures out what the truth is, through the preaching of Ambrose. (Augustine, 94). Ambrose presented the Old Testament as allergies and thus exposed their deeper meaning. (Augustine, 94). The new way of reading scripture allowed Augustine to grow in his understanding of the Catholic Church and inclined him towards becoming an official part of it. Once he had the new understanding of the Church he was ready to make the

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