Odysseus: Captain Irresponsible Essay, Research Paper
Through his occurrences with Skylla and Charibdis, the Sirens, and Helios? cattle, Odysseus? heroic character is further disclaim in Book 12 because through all encounters Odysseus was a poor leader and put his crew in danger. His actions prove him to be selfish, boastful, stubborn, and irresponsible. While sailing past the Sirens, Odysseus has his crew fill their ears with wax to prevent them from hearing the enchanted songs. He also has them tie him to the sail post but not fill his ears with wax. One would think Odysseus is looking out for his men by having them fill their ears with wax, but in reality he just wants to be the only person to have heard the Sirens sing and survive. He wants to be able to brag back home in his native land. He wants to be famous. In addition to his selfish, boastful actions with the Sirens, Odysseus also displays stubbornness when he reaches the cliff of Skylla. Odysseus has no choice but to pass Skylla?s cliff, but the Oracle told him not to look a fight and just run away. Odysseus, however, is very stubborn and puts on his armor and is ready to fight her even though he was warned not to. He also withheld valuable information from his crew by not telling them about Skylla and Charibdis. This prevented them from properly preparing themselves. His actions put his men in danger and he?s lucky he didn?t loose his life. Odysseus also shows his unheroic nature when on the island of Helios. He has his men swear not to kill Helios? cattle, for if they did, they would all die. This precaution could be seen as heroic, but instead of watching his men to make sure no one broke their promise, the crew?s supposed leader falls asleep on the job. A similar situation occurred with the bag of winds, where Odysseus had his men promise not to open the bag. He went to sleep, his men opened the bag, and the wind knocked them off course and further delayed his journey home. One would think a true leader would learn from his mistakes, but apparently Odysseus doesn?t. Just as with the bag of winds, Odysseus? crew slaughtered Helios? cattle. As a result, Zeus thrown down a lightning bolt which causes all the men to drown. Book 12 further confirms my perception of Odysseus as not being heroic. Although he is known to be the ?God-like man? for what is thought to be courage and resourceful thinking, its merely stubbornness, selfishness, boastfulness, and irresponsibility. Odysseus is lacking the leadership quality and in effect falls short of a hero.