Homer's Odyssey, though it functions as a fantastic tale of a hero's journey, also has a far more complicated agenda. It is through the perils and challenges that Odysseus faces that he grows as a person and becomes the famous clever and cunning character at the end of the epic. It is the mistakes of Odysseus and his crew that lead to his metamorphosis from an animal back to civilized humanity. What is even more masterful is that Homer sparks a similar transformation in Odysseus" son, Telemachos, which serves to bring the two together. From his misfortunes he learned to be a better man and becomes more able to regain his place in his homeland of Ithaca. Odysseus learns how important civility as well as humility really is, and we see as readers, how the two are intertwined. .
The first mistake that gives Odysseus an opportunity during his journey to grow is his habit of bragging to his enemies. He eventually learns that doing this gives his enemies a chance to seek revenge against him. In one case, after leaving Troy, Odysseus attacks the land of the Cicones and instead of leaving after his victory, he instead stays to celebrate. Meanwhile, an .
army gathers against him, and forces him to flee while many of his men are killed. Afterwards, Odysseus and his crew land on the island of the Cyclops. They are attacked and some more of the men are eaten by Polyphemus. After getting the giant Cyclops drunk, Odysseus and his men blind the monster with a spear in his one eye. They could have made an escape without misfortune but Odysseus mocked Polyphemus and shouted his real name. With this new information Polyphemus prays to his father, Poseidon, to have Odysseus and his men punished. Due to his angering of Poseidon Odysseus must wander throughout the sea while his men slowly die one by one. Thus, Odysseus learns that boasting of deeds can have ill effects, and he uses this knowledge on the island of Phaecians and Ithaca where and bring himself unwanted trouble.