Guest Post by E.J., INTJ
The Iliad & The Odyssey
Dominant Intuition (Ne): Odysseus is a man of new ideas, and this accounts for his resilience during the Trojan War. When everyone else, even Agamemnon, is exhausted, Odysseus continues to see positive possibilities in their situation. He is the most insistent supporter of the war––not because of an Ni-style drive, but through his Ne focus on new potential. Odysseus’ Ne gives him the enthusiasm to put new energy in his war-weary fellow Greeks. After the war is over, Odysseus sails around, following a string of new ideas, rather than heading straight home like most of the other Greeks.
Auxiliary Thinking (Ti): Although Odysseus is a great warrior, he is at least as famous for his wiliness as for his fighting abilities. Odysseus operates using a flexible form of logic. He first analyzes a situation from a variety of angles and then acts based on what makes the most sense to him at the moment. Odysseus does not usually make long-term plans. Fortunately, the gods seem to accommodate this tendency, often dropping in to give him instructions just before he needs to act. Although Ti-users are not usually known for their speech-making abilities, Odysseus uses a combination of Ti and tertiary Fe to become a convincing speaker. In his speech to Achilles, Odysseus opens by complimenting Achilles, then moves on to critique Achilles’ refusal to fight from every possible angle. At the end of the speech, Achilles, not Agamemnon, appears to be in the wrong.
Tertiary Feeling (Fe): Odysseus understands other people’s motivations very well and is normally a good judge of character. Although he appears to think very little about his wife’s feelings when they are apart, he managed to forge an emotional connection with her that was strong enough to last through twenty years of separation. Telemachus bonds with him almost instantly, even though he had been a very small child when Odysseus left for war. Odysseus can also be very charming, convincing Nausicaa to help him despite his wild appearance. With enemies, however, Odysseus uses his Fe as a weapon. He is manipulative, deceptive, and–as the fight with the suitors indicates–he shows very little mercy to those who have personally offended him, regardless of their level of guilt. Odysseus tends to base his moral beliefs on his circumstances. There are some socially-based customs that he tries not to violate (hospitality, honoring the gods), but he often appears more concerned about the immediate consequences of his actions rather than any universal principles. While Odysseus primarily makes his decisions based on logic, he needs to vent his emotions from time to time. This behavior backfires after his encounter with the Cyclops. Odysseus can’t resist taunting the blinded monster, and in doing so, he reveals his name. Unfortunately, the Cyclops is Poseidon’s son, and Odysseus earns the god’s long-term enmity.
Inferior Sensing (Si): Odysseus blocks out the past for long periods of time as he fights the Trojan War and has a series of adventures afterward. It is only when he is trapped on Calypso’s island, unable to act on all of his Ne inclinations, that Odysseus begins to think seriously about home. When he does, longing hits him with a vengeance. After he is allowed to leave the island, he sails homeward as quickly as he can. Once there, Odysseus chooses to sneak around Ithaca in disguise to see what has changed, knowing that a grand entrance could be dangerous. He is touched by the loyalty some people still bear him from their past connections, but infuriated (understandably) by the changes in his home. Odysseus retains a sentimental attachment to the marriage bed he crafted, and he is very relieved to learn, after Penelope’s test, that the bed is still in its old place.