The desire of a soldier to return home after fulfilling his duties during a war is evident in Homer’s writing of “The Odyssey”. After the Trojan War, fought between the Achaeans and the Trojans, Odysseus seeks to return to Ithaca so he could take his rightful place as King. However, Odysseus meets multiple hindrances that delay his return by ten years during which, his people assume he is dead. Now, the man’s experiences throughout the mentioned period evidently end in the arms of his wife Penelope but as John Scott writes in his article, “The Close of the Odyssey,” Odysseus reuniting with his wife could not be the objective of the poem. In Scott’s assertions, aside from being an adulterer, Odysseus’ desire to rejoin his wife did not stem from love but rather, his desire to protect his personal honor as evidenced by the killing of Penelope's suitors.
Foremost, in Scott’s view, the fact that Odysseus readily accepts the advances of other women, despite having a wife, prove not only his lack of commitment to Penelope but also his chauvinistic traits. Accordingly, the author goes on to dub Odysseus’ actions as “a double standard of morals” after noting his relationship with both Circe and the goddess Calypso with whom he spent one and seven years respectively (Scott 398). Concurrently, as Scott points out, another illustration of Odysseus’ disregard for Penelope is evident in his visit to the underworld where, after encountering the shade of his mother, the man promptly asks of his father and son's well-being (399). Subsequently, since he only mentions Penelope when asking about his estate, then it is safe to assume that Odysseus values his wife as just a “guardian of his son and his property” and nothing else (Scott 399). As a result, John Scott argues that Penelope’s value appears to depend on whether or not she is faithful to her husband and fulfills her duties as the mother of his son.
With the given facts in mind, the reunited couple cannot be the final goal in Homer’s documentation of “The Odyssey”. In fact, John Scott suggests other possibilities in the most probable objective Homer had in mind while penning the poem. On one hand, the second book mentions Laertes, Odysseus’ father, who wallows in misery and grief and as a result, Penelope opts to spin him a shroud in preparation for his impending funeral (Homer, 2.93-110). Since there is such a premonition on Laertes, then there are chances a father-son reunion was the conclusion Homer sought for his text (Scott 402). On the other hand, there is the issue of Penelope’s suitors who end up dead because of her indecisiveness. As Scott observes, vengeance was “the very essence of Greek thinking” and for that reason, Odysseus’ killing of the men in his house and the reactions of their family members might be the targeted conclusion of the poem (401). After all, the mere presence of the men in Odysseus’ home was an insult to the king’s honor as they sought to marry his wife while plundering his food and wealth.
Homer. "The Odyssey." The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall, Lee Patterson, Patricia Meyer Spacks, William G. Thalmann Heather James. Trans. Robert Fagles. 9th. Vol. I. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014. 206-483. Print.
Scott, John A. "The Close of the Odyssey." The Classical Journal 12.6 (1917): 397-405. JSTOR. Web. 30 January 2016. <http://www.jstor.org>.