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The World of the Odyssey, Essay Example

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Essay

Even though the Odyssey took place in ancient Greece, there are many similarities between the people who lived during this time and the people who live today. One of the main themes of the book is the religion and the importance of pleasing the gods as a part of daily Greek live. Although the things we do today do not mainly reflect our desire to appease gods and prevent them from punishing us if we step out of line, religion remains an important part of life in 2013. Unlike the Odyssey, however, many of the main religions that are practiced in the world today are monotheistic rather than polytheistic. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are religions that all believe in the workings of one, ultimately powerful god. Despite this, other parts of the word are still polytheistic, such as the Hindu religion and several African tribal religions. Although only parts of the world still believe in polytheistic gods, we have to thank the early Greeks for many advances that make our lives easier today. Fortunately however, we do not have to worry about the wrath of Zeus as we complete our daily activities.

One of the most striking similarities between the world of the Odyssey and the world today is the importance of marriage. Although our society has changed a lot since ancient Greek times, we have managed to maintain a large majority of basic values since this time period. Even though Odysseus is forced to be apart from his wife Penelope during most of his travels, she constantly worries about him and they always think about each other. The wedding bed in book 23 is symbolic of this relationship, which indicates the consistency of their marriage. Only one person has even seen this bed and when the couple returns to it once they are reunited after Odysseus’ return from Troy. Modern culture is equally interested in marriage as this ancient culture; we all consider that true happiness is accomplished once a man and woman fall in love. As the wedding bed is an important symbol in the Odyssey, it is also an important symbol to our culture. Marriages that are successful usually involve the husband and wife sleeping in the same bed in the same room, living together in peace and raising a family. Although the day to day life of the family was different in ancient Greece than it is today, the ultimate feeling of familial happiness remains the same.

While there are many similarities between the world in the Odyssey and the world today, there are many differences as well. Ancient Greek culture as reflected by their epics and plays deal a lot with the idea of fate and how cannot truly control their own destiny. In the Odyssey, Odysseus’ wants nothing more than to go home to his family, but he knows that he cannot fight against fate. Fate is what led him on his journey and he knows that the gods will it to be this way; he will be able to go home once the gods decide that it is his time. The modern world has a very different opinion of fate. We fully believe that we are able to control our own destinies and that only our actions can change outcomes that were set to happen. Rather than drifting into the tides, we are able to fight against them and set our own paths. This difference is likely due to the religious thoughts and opinions of the Ancient Greeks compared to modern day religious beliefs. While the Ancient Greek gods actively participated in their lives and were responsible for all kinds of events, the gods we worship today behave more idly. In addition, the Greek gods would intentionally harm humans if they desired while todays gods are here to benefit humanity and guide us. Therefore, we are currently allowed to believe that we control our own fate while the ancient Greeks were prohibited from doing so because of their religion.

In addition, the ancient Greeks lived a very different day to day life than we do because of a lack of technology. In today’s world, we have conveniences like television, medicine, and other advanced tools to aid our daily activities. Out of these differences the single most distinct feature that contributes to our difference in life is medicine. The life span one would expect from an ancient Greek is far different than one would expect from a citizen living almost anywhere in the world today. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks in the Odyssey were almost always involved in some kind of war; although this is true of people today as well, the likelihood of going to war and living has improved.

In conclusion, although there are many differences and similarities between ancient Greeks and our people of today, the features that remained similar are due to human nature while the things that changed were a result of the change in time period. Our value of life and happiness remains the same, even though one could argue that it is now easier to achieve. As discussed, our certain views of religion, weddings, and family life remains the same while other concepts of religion, fate, and daily life has differed. Nonetheless, the human experience has remained constant, and people who live many generations from now will share the same basic features as us too.

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