Odysseus And The Metaphorical Travel To Human Nature


Since the beginning of time men – from Socrates, to Kent – have always tried to give an answer to their purpose in this world.

However, there is nobody that can be more similar to the modern man than Odysseus. In fact, Odysseus wasn’t like all the other heroes – blonde, young, or particularly ambitious, but simply an incredibly smart king who only wanted to end the war as soon as possible in order to go back to Ithaca to his son, and wife. However, because of his thirst of knowledge combined with other events, such as being hated by many gods, Odysseus will travel, losing his men and treasures, for ten long years before finally arrive to Ithaca.


Ulysses depicted in a Roman marble statue

However, even after that he reached his home, and killed all the men who were trying to take his place, and wife, he would leave once again to get to a place that no man had ever arrived before, the place beyond The Pillars of Hercules, the unknown world.

When Odysseus decided to start that last journey he knew that he wouldn’t had come back home, he knew that if he would have passed The Pillars of Hercules there was no going back, but he decided to travel anyway, forced by his thirst of knowledge and the will to overcome human obstacles – to go beyond, and to discover what was undiscoverable.

What’s more modern, more human than this thirst for knowledge, this will to overcome barriers and limits?

Odysseus’s travel is nothing but a metaphor of our human nature – this never-ending going in a circle looking for an answer, looking to discover the sense of all of this. Where are we, and especially why are we here? These are the fundamental questions that every human being, sooner or later, asks to himself/herself.

There are always going to be men who will travel, physically or metaphorically, looking for answers – it doesn’t matter that the answers cannot be found, or if we have already passed them, what really matters is to never lose that thirst that make us human being.

GatsbyAs F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “ Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


Quick Facts

  • Even though is universally known that Homer wrote the Odyssey, it is unclear if Homer actually wrote the book, or if Homer even existed
  • Many historians believe that the Odyssey, which is a collection of 24 books, was written by many authors instead of a single one
  • Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey describes Ulysses as a hero, but the Romans, who believed to descend from the Prince Aeneas of Troy, considered him as a liar villain
  • Ulysses is, probably, based on a real Greek king who battled in the war of Troy, but historians, based on how many years went by, can’t find proves to be sure of it
  • Ulysses, in the epic novel, didn’t want to go to Troy because an oracle predicted that he would have taken many years to go back home. In fact, he pretended to be mad, but he got eventually discovered and forced to leave for war.
  • Even Achilles didn’t want to leave for Troy because of an Oracle which predicted that he would have died in battle. In fact, his mother, who was a god, changed his son’s appearance by turning him into a young girl. However, Ulysses discovered the trick by noticing that that young girl was very, and strangely, interested to his weapons.
  • Ulysses doesn’t leave Ithaca to reach the place beyond the Pillars of Hercules in the Odyssey, but in another epic novel – The Inferno, By Dante Alighieri
  • Ulysses was the one who came up with the famous horse trick, which can be also seen it in Troy, the movie
  • Achilles actually died in battle as the oracle predicted

About Author

Gianlorenzo Emanuele Caruso

Gianlorenzo Emanuele Caruso was born twenty-two years ago in Varese, Italy. When he was ten years old he said to his parents that when he would have turned eighteen he would have moved away from Italy; he left at seventeen. He is in the States since five years now, he spent his first year as a senior in a Catholic high school in Maryland, and then he moved to Santa Barbara in 2011. He will graduate in June 2016, and then he is planning to transfer to London to get a master in Finance. When not in school, Gianlorenzo, can be found either traveling with his motorcycle or at his laptop checking companies to invest in. He also has a great passion for art, history, movies, and music; especially for Bruce Springsteen.

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