Odysseus: A True Hero

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What does it mean to be a hero? The variety of traits people look for in a hero is endless. In general, a hero is someone is someone that makes a heroic journey and displays admirable qualities. In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus makes a journey to become a hero. Essentially, he is making a journey to save his family and the country he rules, Ithaka. This epic poem begins in medas res and through this non-linear tale Homer’s audience receives the chance to watch the transformation of Odysseus as he evolves into a classic hero. When Odysseus begins his journey he is selfish and struggles with his overwhelming hubris. However, after successfully completing each step of the hero’s journey the reader begins to see a whole new character, and ultimately, a hero. Odysseus proves himself a hero by displaying to the audience sharp intellect, modest humility, and unyielding leadership.

Odysseus possesses sharp intellect which ultimately helps him move forward in his journey to become a hero. As a hero he has a cunning ability to think on his feet when he is put in difficult situations. He shows this to the reader when him and his crew are on the Land of Kyklopes. The Greeks find themselves trapped in the cave of Poseidon’s son. As they are plotting their escape the Polyphenos asks Odysseus his name. Thinking fast, Odysseus tells him “’ my name is Nohbdy: mother, father and friends, /everyone calls me Nohbdy”’ (IX, 397-398). With this clever response Odysseus is able to fool the monster and conduct the safe escape of his crew. Odysseus further proves his quick wit when he is faced with the challenge of convincing his wife that it is truly him who has arrived home after all these years. He quickly thought of what would make her beli...

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...reclaim their palace. In the end, even though he returns home alone, Odysseus creates a perfect example of what it means to be a great leader and overall a great hero.

In summation, Odysseus can be classified as an epic hero. Although he is not perfect it is only appropriate to acknowledge that his heroic qualities outshine any negative ones by far. Through his sharp intellect, modest humility, and unyielding leadership one is able to make the conclusion that Odysseus earns every right to the title of being a hero. He endured a difficult journey that lasted twenty years and in the end he became a better person. When a person goes through this kind of transformation and is able to overcome such a challenging journey, it is a matter of proper respect to call him a hero. By all means the Odyssey provides the perfect example of a person’s journey to become a hero.

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