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Are You Living The Odyssey Archetype? Check Yourself - Crazy Characters
Are You Living The Odyssey Archetype? Check Yourself - Crazy Characters

Video: Are You Living The Odyssey Archetype? Check Yourself - Crazy Characters

Video: Are You Living The Odyssey Archetype? Check Yourself - Crazy Characters
Video: The Odyssey by Homer | Themes 2023, April

John William Waterhouse. Ulysses and the sirens. 1891

In fact, Odysseus had only one son - Telemachus. But it is with him that the first in the history of psychiatry is associated with the simulation of a mental disorder by the cunning king of the island of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's poems

The ancient poet in the poem characterizes the hero with the most enviable epithets: "clever", "godlike", "enduring", "hard in trials." The king of at least one island represented himself accordingly:

I am Odysseus, the son of Laertes, everywhere by the invention of many

Glorious Tricks and by loud rumor ascended to heaven …

And this is not empty boasting. The goddess Pallas Athena herself gives him a compliment:

Must be secretive and unspeakably cunning, who will argue with you

In different fictions wants; that would be difficult for God.

Let us not forget to mention the psychopathological burden of the Greek hero. Odysseus's grandfather from the maternal side, Autolycus, became famous as a "skillful thief", and in world literature became synonymous with cheating.

Odysseus lived for pleasure with his young wife Penelope on his island in the Ionian Sea. But bad luck - the war began because of the beautiful Helena, the wife of the Spartan king Menelaus, who was seduced and taken away by the Trojan prince Paris.

The time has come for our "hardy" to go to war with Troy in order to help her husband return the kidnapped Elena, who, by the way, was Penelope's cousin. But the oracle predicted to our hero that if he went to war, he would return to the poor and only after 20 years. Odysseus decided that it was not profitable to fight for someone else's wife on such conditions. And he decided to pretend to be "insane."

When the invited representatives of the Aegean "military enlistment office" sailed to Ithaca, they saw an amazing picture: Odysseus was plowing a field with a plow, sprinkling the furrow with salt instead of grain.

But the representatives who came for the "conscripts" were also not bastard. One of them, the son of the Euboean king Palamed, exposed the simulation of Odysseus. He took the little Telemachus and put him in the path of the "sower". Odyssey had no choice but to stop the team, carry his son aside and again continue to plow the field. Thus, the "madness" of Odysseus was exposed, and he had to say goodbye to the rural idyll.

Intentionally simulating the symptoms of a mental disorder according to the International Classification of Diseases is considered within the framework of conduct disorders (in other words, within the framework of psychopathy). So Odysseus was not crazy, but his psychopathic personality traits not least allowed him to naturally become one of the heroes of the Iliad (victory over Troy).

A la guerre comme? la guerre - in war as in war. The noble and the brave die first, while the psychopathic individuals (cold-blooded and cynical) remain the victors

So, when landing from ships, everyone knew about such a prophecy: the first one to set foot on the land of Troy will perish. The arriving army froze in anxious anticipation. Odysseus was the first to jump from the ship. Behind him are all the others, who did not notice that the cunning king had previously thrown his shield to the bottom, on which he stepped. So the arrow struck not him, but the warrior who followed him.

Odysseus did many useful tricks during the protracted siege: he stole a statue of Pallas Athena from besieged Troy; proposed to build a large Trojan horse, thanks to which Troy was finally taken after a long siege. However, out of a sense of revenge, the hero did not disdain to resort to a vile act. He managed to take revenge on the vigilant Palamed for his exposure and former shame. He accused him of betrayal and conspiracy with the king of Troy Priam, tossing into Palamed's tent a forged letter from Priam and a bag of gold, which everyone took as payment for betrayal. The innocent Palamed was stoned.

After the defeat of Troy, in full accordance with the prophecy, Odysseus returned home for another ten years. But not all these years he fought with the raging sea. He spent a year with the sorceress Kirka, who gave birth to a son from him. The nymph Calypso has seven even more pleasant years. Combined business with pleasure, until the omniscient gods intervened.

Ancient Greek tragedians present Odysseus as a decent scoundrel (with the exception of Sophocles' Ajax). He is merciless, cruel and unprincipled. But it was precisely the "lack of conscience" - the main feature of the psychopathic personality - that often allowed him to perform significant actions for him and those around him. Dante not without reason placed Odysseus in the eighth circle of "Hell" of his "Divine Comedy", where the hero "was executed in a groaning fire" among "crafty advisers", thieves and seducers. On the last, ninth circle, there were traitors and "enemies of the people."

Mental disorders can manifest themselves not only by psychoses, but also by the simulation of psychotic disorders, which are classified under a special heading.

Cruelty and heroism are the property of not only the archaic era, therefore, in our memory, Odysseus remained the personification of cunning and ingenuity

But I remember other school models on which we were brought up: the temperamental beauty Carmen, who was a liar and a seductress; Gorky Chelkash is a thief, a homeless person and an "inveterate drunkard" …

Perhaps we sometimes "work out" the archetypes learned in childhood? Check if you live by the Odyssey archetype?


  1. Homer. Iliad. Odyssey / Per. from ancient Greek. N. I. Gnedich and V. A. Zhukovsky. M.: Fiction, 1967.
  2. Dante Alighieri. Divine Comedy / Per. with it. M. Lozinsky. M.: Fiction, 1961.
  3. Myths of the peoples of the world. Encyclopedia in 2 volumes / Ch. ed. S. A. Tokarev. T. 2. M.: Soviet encyclopedia, 1992.
  4. Who's Who in the Ancient World. Reference / Comp. B. Radis. Per. from English M. Umnova. M.: RIO PO; Tallinn: MADPR, 1993.

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