I get teleported into the Odyssey and see the story unfold for myself.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Mandy Li

Welcome to Crash Course Literature. Today, we’ll be reviewing “The Odyssey.” “The Odyssey” is a classic: one that most English teachers adore, writers call inspiration from, and translators cry tears over. Whether they’re tears of joy or despair, I’m not so sure. 

Let’s be honest and just rip the Band-Aid off. “The Odyssey” is not a good book. Odysseus, our main character, is not someone to be respected. That dude spent most of his time hitting on teenagers half his age. 

Instead of discussing the storyline of “The Odyssey,” we’ll be talking about how to not be like Odysseus because that dude has too many complexes for a single therapist to diagnose. 

Avoid Toxic Relationships

What the hell was this dude’s relationship with Calypso? One minute, Odysseus is cursing her out using words that would earn him a bar of soap in his mouth, and the next minute, they're doing the Devil’s Tango. Relationship advice: it is not healthy to be plotting the murder of your partner while simultaneously holding a burning desire to rip their clothes off. Pick a lane. Either you want to drown your partner in the Hudson or you want to take them to the Hudson Staircase. Don’t be a hypocrite.

Don’t Be a Child Predator

Odysseus has some serious issues regarding children. First, he appears stark naked in front of a bunch of teenage girls. Then he flirts with the young, innocent princess in order to gain sympathy. MAJOR RED FLAG! This guy is in his forties while this naive little princess is only about 12 years old. She's even younger than a Stuyvesant freshman! 

If You’re Already Married, Try to Stay That Way

When Odysseus finally returns home and is reunited with his “beloved” wife Penelope, he promises her that he will tell her everything about his journey. And he does... except the parts about sleeping with almost every woman he met on his trip. His definition of “everything” is very selective, huh… HE CHEATED ON HER Y’ALL. Poor Penelope. If Odysseus can’t be loyal, who among us can? 

Choking People Is Bad… 

Odysseus doesn’t seem to have any qualms about killing the people who raised him. Don’t think that being Odysseus’s relative wins you any goodwill. He CHOKED his nurse, who raised him since he was young, and threatened to kill her. If I did that to my parents, I would never be seen or heard from again. Have some respect for those that raised you (or just people in general).

Don’t Sacrifice Your Parents for Gold 

More presents?? More presents!! Sure, presents are great. Odysseus certainly thinks so. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, sure––EXCEPT––his dear old daddy is dying because of grief for his missing son. Yet, Odysseus is perfectly fine with returning a year late, under the promise of more presents, and more gold. Never thought I would see the day where a guy would trade quality time with his father for money. Odysseus must have a heart of ice. 

Try Not to Have an Ego Bigger than the Milky Way Galaxy

Odysseus seems to think the whole world revolves around him. His ego is so huge that he can’t help but make one stupid decision after the next. He tries to fight monsters that he’s been told can’t be defeated, which results in his crewmates dying. Innocent mistake? Not so much. He also sacrifices some of his crewmates so that he can escape from Polyphemus, the Cyclops. Yes, Odysseus, everyone but you can die. You’re worth more than those irrelevant crewmates of yours who break their backs to go do idiotic things with you. Real class act.

What should we take away from today’s Crash Course summary? Odysseus is not a Greek hero. In fact, he’s much more of a child predator than a “hero.” I beg of you: don’t be like Odysseus. It might save you from getting canceled, put behind bars, or being generally despised. I also heavily emphasize that choking people is a non-starter.