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Odysseus A Hero Essay

analytical Essay
658 words
658 words
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What is a hero? The definition of a hero can be different for every person. To some people, a hero could be brave, fights for their country and shows their moral values. Heroes are often associated with people who are selfless and try to work for the common good. In Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Odysseus must return home to Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War and being away for twenty years. Although he achieves nostos (homecoming), his selfish and violent actions in his journey reveals how he cannot be considered as a hero in modern times because he used his men as “chess pieces” to help himself return home to Ithaca. The Greek values of being a hero are very different than the values that many have today. In ancient Greece, most Greek heroes have used brute strength in accomplishing their tasks. Heroes like Heracles used their strength to accomplish tasks such as slaying an evil monster, like the Nemean lion. Only when their strength alone is not enough to complete a task, they use their metis, which is another Greek value meaning wisdom to outwit their enemies. One example of this is when Odysseus and his men were trapped inside of Polyphemus’s cave and the only way out of the cave was to trick Polyphemus into removing the boulder that concealed the entrance. The boulder was so big that, “two sturdy wagons-twenty sturdy wagons / Couldn’t pry it from the ground-that’s how big the stone was he set in the doorway” (Book 9 235-237). Another example of how Odysseus displays an act of metis is when he tells Telemachus to trick the suitors, by making them remove all their weapons and hiding them outside of the dining room. Odysseus said to Telemachus,” Take all the weapons that are in the hall/Into the lofted storeroom and stow them... ... middle of paper ... ...aca, he displays his violent personality, killing all the suitors in his house, which is unacceptable in modern society. Another quality of Odysseus is that he is dishonest, he did not tell his men that they all were going to die, which is very unethical by today’s standards. Odysseus has been violent and selfish during his journey back home; he has never considered his men as a part of his mission back to Ithaca. Heroes have changed since ancient Greece, where they only needed to do one amazing task to become a hero. Heroes in modern society are more ordinary people. They are willing to make self-sacrifices, something that Odysseus could never understand. A modern hero can either be famous or someone who is ordinary. Modern society has shown that anyone can be a hero, even if they have not made a big difference in the world. Anyone, anywhere can be a modern hero.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the definition of a hero can be different for each person. heroes are often associated with people who are selfless and try to work for the common good.
  • Compares the greek values of being a hero with those of modern times.
  • Analyzes how odysseus' violent actions during his journey back to ithaca have revealed why he cannot be considered a modern hero.
  • Explains that heroes have changed since ancient greece, where they only needed to do one amazing task to become a hero. heroes in modern society are more ordinary people willing to make self-sacrifices, something that odysseus could never understand.
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