At its heart, the Odyssey is about the importance of memory—of one’s past and one’s true role. Forgetfulness recurs as an ever-tempting evil. It is easy to taste the lotus blossoms to feel happy and wish to stay forever, to sit feet of the singing Sirens, and to stay in beauty and luxury with Circe. These specific instances are symbolic echoes of the temptation of forgetfulness that permeates the entire epic. We may even wonder how Odysseus, after ten years of the despair and triumphant ecstasy of war, can go back to his old married life. This challenge resonates just as powerfully today, rooted not in a particular time or culture but in the human condition itself.

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