Odyssey by Homer is one of the most significant epic works of ancient Greek literature. The author raises the problem of the juxtaposition of men and gods. Odysseus challenges gods and is pursuit by Poseidon. However, when Odysseus gets an offer of the immortal life from Kalypso, he refuses preferring to stay a human instead of becoming a god.
The main theme of Odyssey is the struggle between man and gods. The refusal of Odysseus from immortality stresses his power and lack of fear in face of death. In such a way, Odysseus turns out to be even superior to gods, who view immortality as the major criterion of their superiority over humans. Refusing from immortality, Odysseus stresses that he does not view gods as superior to men.
Odysseus’ refusal implies human superiority over gods and the neglect of the main character in relation to gods. He proves to be strong enough to live his life until the end and stand all the sufferings and challenges he has to face in the course of his life.
In such a way, Odysseus refusal from immortality is the turning point when man goes out of gods’ control. This is the crucial point of the entire literary work, which conveys the main idea of Homer. The author shows that the era of human fear in face of gods has gone and, now on, humans are strong enough to stay humans.
Immortality is the priceless gift any human could have ever dreamed about but, at the same time, immortality is a distinct feature of gods that makes them superior to humans. Hence, refusal from immortality means refusal from the inferiority of man to gods.
Homer. Iliad. New York: Penguin Classics, 2008.
Homer. Odyssey. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006.