One the the very first dangers encountered by Odysseus and also his crew was the addictive food that the Lotus Eaters. Keep reading to uncover out what real-life peril this very delicious fruit could have represented!
throughout history, seafarers have faced a range of perils at sea. There to be a consistent worry that a man who boarded a ship can never return home.
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This to be often since of the dangers of the open up water. Greek mythology’s sea monsters embodied the risks that can sink a ship, from sudden storms to all of sudden striking rocks.
Other dangers, however, to be on shore. Like various other seafaring cultures, Greek seafarers were at risk of losing themselves in the allure that the ports they visited.
Many of these dangers are, like the monsters of the sea, represented in the Odyssey. Odysseus and also his men battle not only monsters, but likewise temptation in your ten-year long journey home.
One the the very first temptations they confront is top top the island of the Lotus Eaters. Historians think that this risk to your return was based upon a difficulty that is acquainted to many in the contemporary world.
The Island of the Lotus Eaters
When Odysseus collection out from trojan after ten year of war, he had actually twelve ships. An additional ten years later, that would lastly reach Ithaca alone.
The voyage started to go poorly from the an extremely beginning. Not long after cruising from Troy, the Ithacan fleet was battered through a suddenly storm and driven because that nine days by rogue winds.
Having lost their means and sustained slight damage, Odysseus bespeak the ships come land top top the following island they came across. There, they might take on fresh water and make repairs before continuing towards home.
The ships arrived on an unknown island and, follow to the Odyssey, rested and also ate your lunch on the shore. ~ they had actually eaten, Odysseus ordered three of his company to investigate the island further.
Odysseus knew there were world living top top the island, although nobody had come to the beach to greet the twelve ships. The told three guys to go inland and report back on what kind of people lived there.
After numerous hours, the three men had not returned. Odysseus himself led one more party ~ above the island to find out what had happened come them.
They soon found the three males in a stupor. They had not to be injured, but had been warmly greeted by the island’s natives.
Homer referred to as these civilization the lotophagoi, or Lotus Eaters. They to be happy and also peaceful human being who live off the fruit of the lotus tree.
This fruit was so delicious the it made any kind of person that ate it completely forget around anything else. The Lotus Eaters never ever thought about leaving their island or even making renovations to it due to the fact that they were totally consumed by their obsession with the lotus fruit.
The fruit was so intoxicating the a solitary bite of that could completely overpower a man. Once the three scouts sent by Odysseus had actually taken fresh fruit, a high-end for sailors, indigenous the Lotus Eaters lock had instantly forgotten all around their homes and also their duty to your captain.
Odysseus realized the the males were in the thrall of the Lotus Eaters’ food. He automatically ordered the rest of his guys not to eat anything native the island or bring any food on board the ships with them.
He had actually to drag the 3 men earlier to the ships, crying as they were pulled far from the lotus fruits. They were so enthralled by the island’s food the they had to it is in tied listed below the ships’ benches to prevent them indigenous jumping overboard and attempting come swim back to the Lotus Eaters’ island.
Luckily because that them, the effects of the lotus fruit appeared to wear off after time. It was later on said that the men who had consumed the lotus fruit at some point returned to sanity and also were embarrassed through their behavior on the island.
My modern-day Interpretation
Many scenes in the Odyssey have been interpreted by modern scholars as allegories because that the points that can keep a male from seeing to his duties in ~ home.
Some the these risks were the threats that might lead to fatality on the sea. The Sirens and also Scylla, because that example, room both believed to represent rocky cliffs and also outcroppings that could sink a ship and keep the sailors from ever before reaching home.
Other threats were much more mental, however. ~ above the island the Circe, for example, Odyssey’s affair v the beautiful sorceress practically leads him come forget around his goal of returning to his wife and child in Ithaca.
The intoxicating food the the Lotus Eaters is taken as a real distraction that could keep males from return to their duties.
The encounter v the Lotus Eaters is sometimes framed together a warning versus becoming also distracted by pleasure in a general sense. This has been advice given to sailors in countless cultures, who consistently had a call for seeking out vice when they concerned shore.
As a basic symbol because that excess, countless fruits have been proposed together the possible real-world counterparts of the mythical lotus tree. Particular berries and also even specific varieties of days have been determined as fruit that to be so delicious and luxurious that they could inspire guys to never want to leaving the place they grew.
A an ext specific interpretation, however, is that the lotus fruit specifically represented the hazard of losing oneself come the pleasures that alcohol and also other drugs. While it seems unlikely that a male would forget his home because of a pleasant-tasting fruit, one addictive substance would be much much more likely to accumulate a complete abandonment that responsibility.
Those who assistance this theory believe that Homer may have actually used the lotus tree come represent an additional plant that was famous in the old world: the minus poppy.
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The effects of the lotus fruit top top the 3 crewmen and also the Lotus Eaters seem similar to the results of opium use.