Odysseus The Hero Essay, Research Paper
The “Odyssey” is an epic story that has been a compelling piece of literature since it was first written and it will remain that way for many years to come. This much-found success of the Odyssey has been because of the story s hero, Odysseus.
Odysseus has many personal qualities that make him survive through all his journeys. He is one of the first Greek mythic heroes famous for not only his brain but also his strength. He is a man with a curious mind, and he is also a man with unsettled valor and bravery. In addition to his character, he is a superior athlete as well. Although Odysseus often hesitates before acting he does contain a vast amount of reason and a gift to evaluate situations. Patience is one of his most important characteristics. This patience has saved him and his men many times, and has been illustrated numerous times throughout his travels such as when he disguised himself as a beggar when he finally reached Ithaca, waiting for the right moment to reveal himself.
As great as he was, Odysseus still had some weaknesses that lengthened his voyage back to Ithaca. His most significant weakness he possesses, is that of his pride. Pride is good to have, but in Odysseus’ case he had too much of it. This is clearly apparent in the episode on the Cyclopes’ island. When Odysseus and his men are clearly safe away from the island Odysseus brags about his successful achievement. Polythemus hears this and launches giant boulders in the direction of the ship. Some came very close to sinking the ship, yet that was not enough for Odysseus. Blinded by his pride he unwisely revealed his identity to Polythemus. With that Polythemus called upon his father, Poseidon, to seek revenge on the man who had harmed him.
That incident hurt Odysseus more than losing a few men, because Poseidon made his travel home longer and harder. Yet another weakness of our hero is his sexual drives. In other words, Odysseus loves women. An example of his love for women was his stay with Circe for one year before his men reminded him of home. He also stayed with Calypso for seven years; although, we must take into account that there were some other reasons why he stayed with her for so long. Mainly because of the fact that she was an immortal and he didn’t want to have her against him.
Odysseus began his journey by raiding a city, but when reinforcement was called in, many of his comrades were killed off. Surviving that he visited the Lotus-Eaters where three of his men fell victim to a strange plant. Losing all desire in continuing the journey, they left. When they reached their next destination, an island containing a cave full of goats, they came across a cave dwelling Cyclops. On site, the Cyclops ate two of the men traveling with Odysseus. In order to keep the travelers from leaving; the Cyclops trapped them with a boulder; leaving Odysseus and his men unable to escape. Being clever, Odysseus and his men managed to escape by stabbing the Cyclops in his eye and cling on the undersides of the Cyclops s goats. This shows how Odysseus used his brain.
In book ten Odysseus, with the help of an ally, was sent to continue on his mission. His crew opened a bag given by the Keeper of the Winds; a horrible wind brought them to where the Laestrygonians lived. This shows how Odysseus fell asleep and trusted his men not to open to bag. Odysseus thought he could trust his men, and in return expected their trust. This shows he was not a cold-hearted man. After the giants devoured many of the crew; Odysseus and his crew left to continue their journey only to end up on the island of the enchantress Circe. After he defeated Circe, he stayed with her and was given any sexual favors by her. This shows his weakness for lust.
At the furthest edge of the ocean’s stream was the land where all journey to when they die. With instructions from Circe, Odysseus sacrificed a bleeding lamb into a pit so that he would be able to talk to the blind prophet, who had once accompanied him and his crew. While at the pit, Odysseus met the some of the Greeks, including Achilles, the best Greek fighter at Troy. He meets up with one of his own men who asked to be buried correctly, and being a loyal man, he went back and buried him. This is another good quality of Odysseus.
When the men got on the island of the Sun, they saw beautiful sheep, which Odysseus knew was too good to be true. He had a feeling that they were the Gods. But, his men ignored all warning and sacrificed cattle. Back at sea, Zeus sent a thunderbolt at the ship, killing everyone but Odysseus. This shows another smart thought of Odysseus. After being thrown into the sea, Odysseus drifted to the shores of Scheria, the island of the Phaecians. Being strong, Oddysseues survived in the sea.
He finally reached Ithaca with these great oarsmen rowing him on in their ship and found that he was about to face another challenge. Perhaps even more bothersome than all the previous perils that he has faced outside of Ithaca, was sailing round the great and mighty seas.
“He took his fast ship down the gulf that time for a fatal drug to dip his arrows in and poison the bronze points; but young Ilos turned him away, fearing the god’s wrath.” (P225 lines 300-03)
This quote is supposed to show that while, Ilos, was afraid to continue their journey Odysseus could not help but love this particular quest because it showed great surprise in men. Besides, not just any noble man, but Odysseus, would chose such a great fate, a hero in the eyes of Pallas Athena.
Book II was named “A Hero’s Son Awakes.” Hero being the word used to describe Odysseus. The son being of our hero Odysseus. The son spoke highly of Odysseus’s strength and greatness to anyone who would listen. Without our hero’s strength and knowledge there was no one brave enough to protect the people from danger because there was no hero at this point in time.
While looking at Odysseus’s short period with the Trojans many can recognize that more than a few men of ancient times believe he was a true hero.
“Not that I am naming, far less telling, every feat of that rugged man…then sworded many Trojans through the body on his way out with what he learned of theirs.” (P255, lines 253-73)
People would look at him and see him only as a beggar disguised amongst the townspeople. However Odysseus was still held as a hero for his remarkable feats. His ability to blend in while trying to attack the Trojans helped him to distinguish his characteristics as a hero in many people’s eyes. Most would have expected a full frontal attack instead they were shown a well-composed plan of a genius.
Gently I pleaded, but they turned cold and still the Laistrygonian height and far stronghold of Lamos. (P321, lines 75-87)
Odysseus was able show to a much strong side to him than ever imagined. He was strong both physically and mentally and it showed in his actions. Who would have thought that a man with such high pride would plead mercy towards someone? Though try as he did, his pleading could not surpass the fact that his voyage was cursed by heaven. The events that he tells us throughout his quest shows heroism in themselves; the antagonists that he came across and the skits that play between them show great courage that only a hero could uphold.
I had drawn my sword and cut my own ships cable we too breathe to grieve for our companions. (P322, lines 134-42)
No less than a hero would risk his own crew and life in order to fulfill a mission. To voyage away from the misery that he faced amongst Lamos. His crew being smashed to smithereens he was able to continue on his way without hesitation in order to redeem safety for his crew and himself. Odysseus knew of his own legacy.
What if Odysseus came? -And I can tell you, there is hope of that- or if the man is done for, still his son lives to be reckoned with, by Apollo s will. (P439, lines 91-4)
However, Odysseus was not just the only one who knew of his accomplishments, but his people did too. How could someone who has lived during this time not hear the tales of Odysseus s strength? Although at times he disguised himself as a beggar, he was still Odysseus; some people could not see past that.
Many knew of Odysseus s voyages and life. A hero is defined as any person, esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility, etc. and the central male character in a novel, play, etc. Odysseus fits this definition like a key in a lock. Odysseus had nobility, everyone around him was able to see that; he had courage, his people and crewmates saw that throughout his feats. The second definition was also describing our hero, Odysseus; he was the central character of the novel. His many feats gave him unimaginable respect by others. Both his crew and family knew of his legacy and his commitment to freeing his