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Loyalty In Odyssey Essay, Research Paper


In The Odyssey by Homer, the scene when Odysseus dog Argos recognized him after nineteen years of absence, along with Eumaios still respecting his master greatly showed that a loyal person in the Odyssey or even in the Greek society will be respected while the disloyal are despised. Unlike disloyal characters such as Melanthios, the reader respects characters that put duty over personal gain in The Odyssey. The Characters get what they deserve in the Odyssey, if they are respectable, they usually end up well, if they are disloyal, they end up bad.

Both Argos and Odysseus did not forget each other during their nineteen years of separation. Even when Argos is weak, dirty, and dying, he still tried to show affection toward Odysseus by wagging his tail, and laying his ears back. This showed that his loyalty towards Odysseus never faded despite his master s absence. When Odysseus recognized Argos, and realized he never forgot about him, Odysseus becomes emotional, and wiped a drop of tear away. I was touched after reading this scene, and it was hard to ignore my respect and sympathy towards Argos. Not only the animals display this sort of fealty, however since Argos was loyal, the reader respects this character.

Eumaios, the swineherd, also embodies the characteristics of a faithful servant. Like Argos, even when Odysseus is speculated as dead, Eumaios still refers to Odysseus as his master: I call him my Master, though he is absent . His kind treatment of the beggar, who was actually Odysseus, shows he is a good person in general, not only to his master. The fact that Eumaios sleeps with Odysseus pigs every night greatly reinforces this pattern of being loyal. He was so loyal that in order to take care of his absent master s livelihood he sacrificed himself. I respected Eumaios because he treated the property as if he expected Odysseus to return at daybreak. In the end, he also helped Odysseus in the banquet hall battle. His ultimate fate was not due to luck, but rather a life of uncompromising devotion.

Not all of Odysseus s servants emulated this ideal. Melanthios, to the contrary was the exact opposite of Eumaios. He ignored his duty as a goatherd by delivering the goats to the suitors instead of protecting Odysseus property. Even though Odysseus has been gone for a long time, he should still do his job because Penelope was still his master. Even though the goatherd insulted Odysseus unwittingly, the author used dramatic irony here to accentuate the servant s recklessness. The reader knows Odysseus was in disguise, and he was holding in his anger, but Melanthios didn t. He kicked him on the street, he tried to tell Odysseus to leave his own house, and he even helps the suitors during the banquet. These scenes foreshadowed Melanthios brutal execution later in the story.

In conclusion, the loyal characters in The Odyssey had a good end to them, and the disloyal characters all suffered. Since Homer wrote this play hundreds of years ago, this shows that in the Greek society loyalty was an important characteristic to have. (In a world of great uncertainty, the devotion of allies, friends, and servants cannot be overlooked. Though the times have changed, the value of fidelity has not. Like Odysseus, each of us should evaluate our friends and allies before placing complete trust in them.

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