And this danger is no worse than what we faced
when Cyclops penned us up in his vaulted cave
with crushing force! But even from there my courage,
my presence of mind and tactics saved us all,
and we will live to remember this someday,
I have no doubt. Up now, follow my orders,
all of us work as one!"
[Homer, The Odyssey, Book 12, Lines 226 - 233]
The biggest theme In the Odyssey to this point, in my opinion, is perseverance. Odysseus has gone through so much, and has kept his chin up the whole way. It’s an important life lesson to learn. Giving up means you have no chance to succeed. Perseverance doesn't necessarily mean that you won't fail, but it does make success possible.
Without perseverance Odysseus wouldn't be back in Ithaca. He would perhaps be in the stomach of a Cyclops, or at the bottom of the sea. Perseverance alone didn’t prevent him from suffering the same fate as his crew. There’s some luck involved, courtesy of Homer, of course.
Just yesterday, I was playing in a hockey game and a player from the other team hit me, as hard as I’ve ever seen anyone get hit in youth hockey. He wasn't aiming to get the puck, or to make a nice play, he was just trying to get a kid on a stretcher. Unfortunately I was the one he decided to hit. I came around the net with the puck and he was waiting for me. He put his hands right into my chest, and I went down hard. My head went flying back and I hit it on the goalpost, and the ice.
I don’t know exactly how, it happened so fast, but after absorbing the blow, I bounced right back up onto my skates and slammed my stick on the ice. I was furious! Luckily for him, the referee stepped in and steered me to the side to see if I was concussed, because I was about to go “vengeful Odysseus” on him. I persevered through the rest of the game (without a concussion).
I’ve been taught that when someone makes a dirty play, you want to “take his number.” I did, and as luck would have it, we played the same team later that same day. When I got the chance to, I wrecked the same kid who hit me, in the flow of the game, of course. One of my teammates got him, too, right before the end of the second game, kneeing him where it hurts, if you know what I mean. Not intentionally, but he wasn’t sad it happened, either.
I’m not saying getting checked is the same as staring at Scylla and Charybdis, but Odysseus had to go through the same thing: getting hit, getting right back up, and persevering through