Loyalty, Devotion, Fortitude

Hillary Johnson
English P.7

The ancient Greeks believed that everyone should live by a certain set of rules. Some of these included: 1) obedience of the gods, 2) the ideal of a strong intellect and strong body, and 3) loyalty, devotion, and fortitude. The theme I’ve chosen for this paper is loyalty, devotion, and fortitude. I think Penelope, Odysseus’ crew, and Odysseus all showed one, if not more of these traits.

Penelope for example showed all of the aforementioned qualities. She showed great loyalty to her husband, in the many years he was absent from his wife and kingdom, as the quote, “…with native Ithicans here to court me, against my wishes…” shows (pg. 728). The quote says that even with countless numbers of men asking for her affections, she simply turned away in hopes that her husband would one-day return. Penelope also showed great fortitude and devotion. By allowing the suitors into her home, and being a gracious host, even though she knew exactly why they were there, and even though they were rude guests, Penelope showed devotion to the 1
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gods, who said that guests should be welcomed into the home any time, and cared for as if they were ones closest friends. “So every day I wove on the great loom, but every night by torchlight I unwove it…” (pg. 728). This quote speaks of the shroud she told the suitors that she must weave for her husband before she could choose one of them to marry. This shows loyalty to her husband, because even though she knew she might be caught by one of the suitors, she would still try and stall for time, as long as she could.

Odysseus’ crew showed loyalty to Odysseus, and great fortitude. “The lovely voices in ardor appealing over the water made me crave to listen, and I tried to say ‘Untie me!’ to the crew, jerking my brows; but they bent steady to the oars. Then Perimedes got to his feet, he and Eurylochus, and passed more line about, to hold me still. So all rowed on…” (pg. 707). This quote speaks of the orders Odysseus gave to his crew, in order to keep the ship from being destroyed by the Sirens. He told the men to tie him to the ship’s mast, and if he pleaded to be set free, then they were to tie him tighter to it, until they had passed the Sirens, and it was safe for him to be set free again.
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Odysseus showed great loyalty and valor, in his adventures. Odysseus was extremely loyal to the gods. Many, many times, throughout the epic, Odysseus prayed to, thanked, and spoke highly of the gods, even when they dealt him a loosing hand. One example of this is when he is addressing the Cyclops about his hospitality to Odysseus and his crew. “…Great Sir, have a care for the gods’ courtesy; Zeus will avenge the unoffending guests.”
This excerpt shows Odysseus warning the Cyclops of the gods’ wrath, for his lack of hospitality.

In this paper, I have cited several accounts of people being loyal to each other, having great devotion to the gods, and having great fortitude in the face of danger. Penelope, with her loyalty to her husband, Odysseus, with his devotion to the gods, and Odysseus’ crew with their incredible bravery; all of these people represent the ways of life for the ancient Greeks.