Odysseus: Not A Hero

Better Essays
The main character of the Odyssey, Odysseus the King of Ithaca is given a complex personality to an extent where it is hard to identify whether he is a true hero or not. True heroism is only achieved when a person achieves certain qualities that portray heroism. Odysseus is not a hero based on the standards of merciful, selfless, and gentle because of his actions of sacrificing his men, killing the suitors and being ruthless throughout the Odyssey. Along with many others qualities these three are helpful and necessary in a hero. A hero must be willing to do service for others and put the needs of others safety and protection before his own. Odysseus does not even come close to matching these qualities because he is a person, who only serves of himself, and he sacrifices his allies to achieve his goals and often he takes action ruthlessly. Odysseus, the crafty ruler of Ithaca is not a hero because of his lack of many important heroic qualities. One of which is his lack of mercy and because of that he can be considered more of an anti-hero instead of a hero. At the middle of the chapter Odysseus’ Revenge, Homer tells of how Odysseus showed no mercy to the Suitors, even though they begged for it and the citation that shows how merciless he is reads, “Spare/ your own people. As for ourselves, we’ll make/ restitutions of wine and meat consumed,/ and add, each one, a tithe of twenty oxen with gifts of bronze and gold to warm your heart./ Meanwhile we cannot blame you for your anger/… Not for the whole treasure of your fathers, / all you enjoy, lands, flocks, or any gold / put up by others, would I hold my hand. / The will be killing until the score is paid. / You forced yourselves upon this house. Fight for your way out, / or run for... ... middle of paper ... ...of gentle and kindness shows that Odysseus is not a hero. His way of supporting ideas that favor him most portrays him as non-heroic and his true picture is also revealed by his selfishness and mercilessness. Odysseus is not a hero based on the standards of merciful, selfless, and gentle. His actions against Polyphemus, the Suitors, and his men truly show that he is in fact the opposite of a hero. The actions he takes to return home safely and to get back his throne are very cruel and show signs that he lacks the nobility of being called a hero, or a king, or a warrior. He has shown that he powerful, destructive, and ruthless and these are qualities that a hero must not have. Odysseus, the mighty King of Ithaca is not a hero because he is not selfless, gentle, or merciful. Works Cited Homer.The Odyssey Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.
Get Access