Odysseus Archetype

Better Essays
War and time combined together have the ability to ruin someone’s life. Odysseus, who went through war and then spent years away from his family and home still managed to survive after all the experiences he had throughout these long years. He did this simply to get home to his family in Ithaca, his journey set in ancient Greece. Heroicness, among many other things, is often evident in epic heroes, an archetype that Odysseus fits incredibly well. Odysseus’s journey is filled with Greek gods and goddesses, helping Odysseus on his way home to his son, Telemachos, and his wife, Penelopeia. In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus displays qualities of an epic hero, particularly through his journey, his interactions with the gods, and his hubris. To…show more content…
Almost all epic heroes have a hamartia, a flaw that leads to mistakes and eventually their downfall. Odysseus’s hubris is his hamartia because he often does unintelligent things due to his inflated ego which have negative effects on the people around him and himself. An example of Odysseus’s hubris is when he tell the Cyclops his name. Odysseus declares, “‘I say, Cyclops! if ever any one asks you who put out your ugly eye, tell him your blinder was Odysseus, the conqueror of Troy…’” (Homer 110). Because he tells Polyphemus this information about himself, Odysseus is met with revenge by Poseidon later on. Odysseus’s impulsive attempt at obtaining kleos by severely hurting an enemy later brings revenge upon himself instead of glory, his initial goal. Also, Odysseus’s hubris gets in the way of his journey when he doesn’t tell his men about the danger of Scylla and the fact that she will eat some of the crew when they pass through her part of the ocean. Odysseus narrates, “‘...I took care not to mention Scylla and the peril we could not avoid; I thought they would be likely to leave the oars in a panic…’” (142). First, Odysseus doesn’t warn his men of the impending danger they face. Later on, six of his crew members are killed by Scylla, all because Odysseus had enough faith in himself as a leader to handle the danger without telling anyone else about it. These events are just two examples of the numerous times Odysseus exhibits hubris. Though this is his hamartia and does lead to terrible things happening, a fatal flaw is an important part of the epic hero archetype. Odysseus is an epic hero partly because of his
Get Access