In Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men go on a long, excruciating journey to find their way home. Traveling from island to island, they encounter dangerous situations. Unfortunately, all of Odysseus’s men die throughout the journey; however, their deaths were not Odysseus’s fault. The blame of Odysseus’s men’s death is on themselves because of their ignorance and lack of intuition. The men disobey Odysseus when they ignore his commands. While on the coast of Cicones Odysseus says, “‘Back, and quickly! Out to sea again!’ My men were mutinous fools, on stores of wine.
Sheep after sheep they butchered by the shore” (9.155-58). The men didn’t listen to Odysseus and thought it would be fine if they didn’t get back on the ships. They endangered their lives and many of them ended up dying. Odysseus wants to bypass the island Thrinkia when, “Odysseus makes them swear not to touch the god’s cattle… knifed the kine and flayed each carcass” (12.902-03).
The men do specifically what Odysseus tells them not to do. What they did caused all of them except Odysseus to be killed by Zeus. The men act before thinking things through when they need to use their common sense. Right after they leave the island Aeolia, “The curious and suspicious sailors open the bag, thinking it contains treasure” (Summary.673).
This causes the ship to be blown back to the island when they were very close to home. Instead of opening the bag, they should of went to Odysseus and asked him what was in it. Wandering around on the goddess Circe’s island, “Wolves and mountain lions lay there, mild in her soft spell… they faced our men like hounds” (10.541-45). The men should have realized that something was wrong or suspicious.
Circe turns the men into pigs, but Odysseus saves them when he receives immunity towards her. This story shows even when someone’s odds are low, they still need to stay smart in order to make it to the end. It’s the mens’ fault themselves that they died because in all of the dangerous situations they were in, Odysseus tried to help them, but the men decided not to listen and not to use their brains. Odysseus could only control them to a certain point; therefore the men had most of the responsibility. The mens’ choices left them dead and never to reach home.
If only they had followed directions and made smarter decisions; they could have made it safely home.