There are many essential emotions that form the building blocks of our lives. These emotions help to shape the people that we are. These feelings are emotional necessities to ultimately keep us happy. Nothing makes these feelings more evident than the Odyssey by Homer. Through out the course of this book there is one major emotional theme which is love. Often times in life we search for a companion, someone to share our love and life with. Odysseus and Penelope’s lasting relationship is an obvious representation of love in the Odyssey.
Although Odysseus is gone for twenty years he never forgets his faithful wife in Ithaca. This love almost seems to help him persevere through the many hardships that he encounters on his journey home. On the other hand, Penelope also exemplifies this same kind of love for Odysseus. At home in Ithaca, she stays loyal to Odysseus by unraveling his shroud and delaying her marriage to the suitors that are courting her. She always keeps the hope that her love, Odysseus, will return. Odysseus and Penelope’s marriage clearly illustrates the theme of love.
There are also many other bonds formed in life that show great love and guidance. One of the most emphasized in the Odyssey is the father – son relationship. These relationships clearly support the issue of love in the Odyssey. The father – son relationship between Odysseus and Telemachos is a little awkward because they both never really got to know each other but they still care for each other’s well being. When Odysseus hears of all the suitors devouring Telemachos’s future fortune and mistreating him, he wants to return and revenge the misuse of his family and property.
Odysseus, like any parent, also misses his only child while he is at war. Telemachos on the contrary also displays a lot of love for his father. Telemachos leaves Ithaca, inexperienced, to find any knowledge of his father in hope that he is still alive. Telemachos through out most of his life has lacked a father figure and desperately needs that special help and guidance from Odysseus as he becomes a man. Their relationship seems to show how love can give you the strength to carry on. The other important father – son relationship in the Odyssey that exhibits love is the one between Odysseus and Laertes.
Odysseus, when he returns, wishes to go see his father. When he confronts his father and tries to hide his identity, he is unable to finish his story because of the great sorrow in his father’s eyes. This shows how much he loves his father and what great suffering he caused him. This anguish that Laertes exhibits also shows how much love he has for his son. Since Odysseus was assumed to be dead, it almost sent Laertes into a kind of depression. When Odysseus returned it gave Laetes an overwhelming happiness. This is a case where love seems to be the cure for pain and grief.