his mother Thetis’ prophecy that he would live either a shortrnand glorious life or a long and inglorious one. He is unable tornimagine a long life of honor and respect, nor can he look forwardrnto renown after his death as a consolation. His problem atrnTroy was that his comrades, and this means of course the expedition’srnchief, Agamemnon, did not accord him the respect hisrnpride demanded: they did not fulfill their part of the heroic bargain.rnAnd it was this failure that caused Achilles to query thernvalidity of all his heroic assumptions.rnAchilles was alone in this questioning. The other heroes,rnOdysseus among them, continued to assume the correctness ofrnthe heroic ethos and continued cracking heads. Homer doesrnnot reveal in the Iliad the final outcome of the war, nor does herntell us in that poem what happened to his heroes after the warrnwas over. And yet the return of war-hardened heroes must havernbeen a serious problem then as now. How could a hero, onernwho for ten years has been earning honor and riches throughrnbattle, adjust to a peacetime existence? We get hints at the answerrnto this question in Homer’s description of the shield ofrnAchilles in Iliad XVIII, where marriages and harvests take place.rnEven there, though, contention is rife, but it is mediated andrnmoderated by civic custom overseen by elders and judges.rnGreek life back home was nearly as contentious as was war onrnthe battlefield, but violence was by and large contained: peace,rnthough, does not automatically denote domestic tranquillity.rnThe problem of readjustment to a peacetime life must havernbeen difficult, or, in the case of Sophocles’ Ajax, impossible.rnHomer’s Odyssey in its pre-Hollywood existence set about tornanswer questions of readjustment to a warless world. Odysseusrnis one of the great heroes of the Iliad, leader of a contingent ofrnmen. After the destruction of Troy he sets out for home withrnhis men, all of whom he loses before finally reaching homernalone and on another’s ship. His first adventure after the destructionrnof Troy is with the Cicones—omitted in the televisionrnversion—whom he defeats in war, thus continuing his warlike,rnraiding ways. He is still in military mode. One of the temptationsrnhe must overcome before reaching home is the temptationrnto engage in piratical and military raids.rnThe remainder of his journey back contains those episodesrnmost beloved of Hollywood, and the episodes we all rememberrnfrom childhood. We recall the l.otus Eaters, in the televisionrnversion combined cleverly with Circe; the Cyclops, Circe,rnSirens, etc., though we may forget Aeolus and the Laestrygonians,rnand not be much interested in the scene on Phaeacia—rnthough we cannot forget Nausicaa, as the television version did.rnAfter triumphing over all these enemies and temptations—andrnonly about halfway through the poem—Odysseus lands onrnIthaca and can begin the second part of his quest, that of reintegratingrnhimself into local society as husband of Penelope andrnleader of the Ithacans.rnOdysseus has survived, but for what? Questions arise concerningrnhis welcome at home, his motivation to return tornPenelope, and her desire—or the lack thereof—to be reunitedrnwith the man she last saw some 20 years earlier. His final test isrnthe test both of his will to assume his earlier responsibilitiesrnwith Penelope and of Penelope’s willingness to have him back.rnOne of the most gripping of Odysseus’ adventures is his visitrnto the underworld—suggested by Circe—^where he is to meetrnTeiresias, a seer who can predict the future. From Teiresias hernlearns that it is his destiny (a) to return to Ithaca to wife andrnhome, and (b) ultimately to die. Death is not to be in war, thernIliadic mode, but a peaceful one. He must accommodate himselfrnto a peaceful life. It has been observed that Teiresias’ advicernis not really very helpful in detailing how Odysseus is to reachrnIthaca, and does not provide the kinds of information Circe’srnremarks earlier had led us to expect. In fact it is only with Circernin the next book that Odysseus learns of the next horrors andrnadventures. That is to miss the point. Odysseus learns in thernunderworld his ultimate destiny, the destiny that awaits us all.rnHe must first accommodate himself to a peaceful life. Therntelevision version was excellent in its depiction of the underworid,rnbut defective in that it did not contain these aspects ofrnTeiresias’ prophecy, the main point of Odysseus’ journey. Onernvisits the land of the dead in order to learn about living, a themernthat goes back at least to the epic of Cilgamesh in the NearrnEast.rnTeiresias’ advice is delivered to Odysseus, but is advice that isrnmeant for all men: we are all at some point at least to give up arnlife of adventure and live a domestic life, and by so doing we canrnhope to have a peaceful end. Odysseus is Everyman, and Teiresias’rnadvice and predictions concern the lot in life of every man.rnTeiresias’ advice, therefore, is important; though it may be defectivernin detail for Odysseus, it does tell us the meaning of life,rnalbeit perhaps in attenuated form. Any trip to the underworldrnshould tell us something of the nature of our being, and Teiresiasrndoes just that.rnOdysseus must settle down to an adult life of domesticity.rnNo more adventures, no more sexual escapades, no more honorrnwon in war. He must face up to the fact that in the Greekrnworld, however attractive the heroic life might be to the young,rnat a certain point one must grow up, marry, settle down, producernheirs, and reenter civic society. So the Odyssey contains asrnwell a sort of metaphorical growing up for Odysseus, a growingrnup we glimpse at times when Homer introduces stories from hisrnchildhood. In other words, the Odyssey is a sort of Bildungsromanrnin which the hero, already, to be sure, mature and an adult,rnlearns the responsibilities of adulthood and maturity. He cannotrnbe considered truly a man until he shoulders these responsibilities,rnresponsibilities which in his case also entail managingrnan estate and governing a civic entity.rnIt was altogether too easy for the young Greek warrior to forgetrnthat a man’s role is to beget, to support family and children,rnand not ceaselessly to be led on by the siren song of adventure,rnfame, success. There are temptations along the way and theyrnmust be overcome. Odysseus’ crew could not conquer theirrngluttony and animal desires and hence died; Odysseus survived.rnHe survived also the temptation of an immortality of ease andrnsex with the beautiful goddess Kalypso, the “concealer”; he survivedrnthe lure of limitless knowledge with the Sirens; he survivedrnthe life of sybaritic ease with the Lotus Eaters and the untroubledrnexistence of the Phaeacians. He, the “man of manyrnwiles,” also had to overcome his own tendencies to clevernessrnand risk-taking, tendencies that almost resulted in his beingrneaten by the Cyclops—though it was in fact his cleverness thatrnenabled him to escape that ogre. Survival, not heroic derringdo,rnis man’s lot, and man must learn from experience.rnOdysseus was at various times tempted by an easy life lived inrnoblivion, but like a good Greek opted for a difficult life that offeredrnthe opportunity of immortal fame among men. Survivalrnis necessary, yes, but it does not bring fame and cannot conferrnimmortality. This is the message of Odysseus’ adventures,rnthose fabulous and exotic tales that we all remember: it is hisrntask—and ours—to resist, to strive, to aim at fame; and abovern20/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn