ODYSSEUS Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » odysseus


Name: Odysseus or Ulysses                                                               
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the                       
hero of Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's       
Iliad. King of Ithaca, husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of           
Laërtes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his guile and resourcefulness (known   
by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning) (see mētis, or "cunning intelligence"), and       
is most famous for the ten eventful years it took him to return home after the         
Trojan War.                                                                             
Relatively little is known of Odysseus' background except that his paternal             
grandfather (or step-grandfather) is Arcesius, son of Cephalus and grandson of         
Aeolus, whilst his maternal grandfather is the thief Autolycus, son of Hermes           
and Chione. According to the Odyssey, his father is Laertes, one of the                 
Argonauts and his mother is Anticleia, although there was a tradition that             
Sisyphus was his true father. Ithaca, an island along the Ionian northwestern           
coastline of Greece, is one of several islands that would have comprised the           
realm of Odysseus' family, but the true extent of the Cephallenian realm and the       
actual identities of the islands named in Homer's works are unknown.                   
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey portrayed Odysseus as a hero. However, the Romans, who       
believed themselves to be scions of Prince Aeneas of Troy, considered him a             
villainous falsifier. In Virgil's Aeneid he is constantly referred to as "cruel         
Odysseus" (Latin "dirus Ulixes") or "deceitful Odysseus" ("pellacis", "fandi           
fictor"). Turnus, in Aeneid ix, reproaches the Trojan Ascanius with images of           
rugged, forthright Latin virtues, declaring, in John Dryden's words, "You shall         
not find the sons of Atreus here, Nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear."             
While the Greeks admired his sly, multi-faceted, "many-turning" personality,           
these qualities did not recommend themselves to the Latin. In Euripides' tragedy       
Iphigenia at Aulis, Odysseus, having convinced Agamemnon to consent to the             
sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis, he then           
facilitates the sacrifice by telling her mother, Clytemnestra, that the girl is         
to be wed to Achilles. His attempt to avoid his sacred oath to defend Menelaus         
and Helen offended Roman notions of duty; the many stratagems and tricks he             
employed to get his way offended Roman notions of honor.