Over the weekend, I attended Loyola’s theatre production The Odyssey that took place in our very own McManus Theatre. The epic poem The Odyssey by Homer is about a Greek hero named Odysseus who tries to reach his home in Ithaca after ten years of the Trojan War. He was held captive by Calypso, who eventually gets persuaded to release him after Zeus sends Hermes to tell her to do so. Several years had passed and Odysseus had still failed to make his way home. As a result of this, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus reach the assumption that he had died, and men line up in hopes of marrying Penelope so that they can become the new king. Odysseus has a good reputation amongst the Gods except with Poseidon, king of the sea, because he poked his son the Cyclops’ eye out. Due to this, Poseidon makes it difficult for Odysseus to reach home by creating storms and rough waters. While Odysseus tries to make his way home, Athena associates with Telemachus, telling him that his father will eventually return home and that in the meantime, he should try to figure out more about his father’s whereabouts. Throughout the play, Odysseus does whatever he can in order to see his wife and son. This includes lying about his identity to numerous people, cheating on his wife, and committing murder.
There were several aspects of the play that relates to or contradicts what the Christian faith stands for. For example, throughout the play Athena continued to protect Odysseus and show him mercy. She was the one who convinced Zeus to send Hermes to liberate him from Calypso and guided him until he reached Ithaca. There were a few times when Odysseus even lost faith and trust in her, but she still continued to remain by his side and show compassion towards him anyway. This is similar to how God feels about his creations. Although his creations may not have faith in Him, He continues to always have faith in his creations and show them mercy. Some events that happen in the play that are contradictory to what the Christian faith is about are when Odysseus lies, commits adultery, and murders. Throughout the play, Odysseus lies about his identity to various people such as to Athena and Penelope. When Odysseus arrives at Ithaca, Athena asks him who he is and where he came from, but he decides to lie to her. She knew that he was lying and once she revealed herself to him, she reprimanded him for doing so. He also lies to his own wife by disguising himself as a beggar. When he finally reveals to her who he actually is, she cries hard and tells him that she can’t believe it. Another time in the play where Odysseus is caught sinning is when he sleeps with females other than his very own wife. On his journey home, he encounters several nymphs and goddesses who he ends up sleeping with regardless of Penelope back at home. Penelope continued to remain faithful to him for years while he was away, but he clearly did not remain very faithful to her. Another sin that Odysseus can be held responsible for is for murdering the guests at the end of the play. When Odysseus finally arrives at home, he encounters the men who have hopes of him being dead so that they can marry Penelope. In order to gain his power and authority back as king, he murders the men and even the other guests at his home. There are several parts of The Odyssey that can nicely tie into the values of Jesuit education. For instance, continuing to have faith is something that both Christians and Athena have in common. Just like the Jesuits continue to have faith on a daily basis, Athena continued to have faith in Odysseus throughout his journey back home. Some of Odysseus’s actions throughout the play also contradict what the Christian religion believes in. He commits several sins such as lying, adultery, and murder; he lies to Athena and Penelope, cheats on Penelope, and murders the guests at the end of the play