Odysseus and the Lies He Told

The Odyssey is a classic that tells the tale of Odysseus and his long and hard journey home. The hero Odysseus often relies on duplicity and guile achieve his ends. Thus, the message of the Odyssey is that tactics which involve dishonesty are valuable if used to achieve desirable outcomes.

While trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, Odysseus uses his duplicity to make the outcome favorable to him and his men. When Polyphemus’s friends called and asked what was wrong, he replies, “Nohbody, Nohbody’s tricked me, Nohbody’s ruined me” (993). Odysseus planned on hurting Polyphemus and used his logic to say that his name was ‘Nohbody’. Odysseus was dishonest about his name, but his dishonesty led to him achieving his escape. After blinding Polyphemus, Odysseus and his men, “[rode] on the pectoral fleece of the giants blind hands blundering never found” (994). Polyphemus, believing he was letting out his flock, unintentionally let Odysseus and his men escape due to their conniving and dishonesty. Odysseus used his cunning tactics to find a way out of Polyphemus’s cave only by using his dishonesty to his advantage.

While taking back his property and Penelope, Odysseus used guile to fool all imposing on his success. Before taking on the men in his house, Odysseus tells his son, Telemachus, to “round up all armor, lances, gear of war left in our hall, and stow the lot away back in the vaulted storeroom” (1027). Odysseus made sure that once he revealed himself to the men, he would be able to take them out without any trouble. His guile made sure that the outcome would be in his favor and he would win back Penelope. Later when Odysseus’s skill is revealed, the men “turned and scanned the walls in the long room for arms; but not a shield, not a good ashen spear was there for a man to take and throw” (1039). Once Odysseus’s plan was carried out, the men who took advantage of his wealth realized that his guile had tricked them into their death. By not allowing the men adequate...