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From the initiation of the The Odyssey, Odysseus stands out as a character who personifies the traits of any stereotypical Homeric hero. A symbol of confidence, nobility, strength and courage among his people, Odysseus stands apart from other Homeric leaders in his exceptional ability to manipulate and deceive, making such cunning maneuvers and keen intellect his defining asset and ultimately his key to victory. While it is true that many of these traits serve as constants throughout the duration of Homer’s epic, significant alterations in Odysseus’ behavior are the keys to understanding and validating Odysseus as a man who has clearly changed over the course of his journey. Despite the qualities and constants he shares with other Homeric leaders, Odysseus stands apart from other characters as one who develops and changes upon his return to Ithaca. This change is most prominently demonstrated by Odysseus’ improvement in leadership upon his return to Ithaca, which is further reflected in his ability to subordinate his personal glory to achieve his goals, and ultimately trade his short-sighted and impulsive decision making for a more long-sighted and rational outlook.
Early on his journey, Odysseus makes hasty decisions to reveal his rather shortsighted, and to a certain extent, almost childish and self-indulgent nature to the reader. While it cannot be denied that he possesses strength and courage of immeasurable nature, these characteristics are juxtaposed by a more hubristic nature that undermines our seemingly ideal hero. This lack of precaution is first demonstrated when Odysseus can’t help but taunt Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, by revealing his identity despite already defeating the Cyclops. Upon blinding the Cyclops and retu...

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Odysseus underwent many transformations from the beginning of his journey to his return to Ithaca; however, it is also true that in many perspectives he did not change at all. He began as an imposing cunning man who aimed to overcome his opponent and attain victory through deception, and he ended up the same way. The decisive factors that demonstrate change in Odysseus’ character, are the actions and decisions he makes in making that victory possible, which further shape his leadership style. Given that Odysseus has endured so many hardships and battled a near-constant death parade, topped with emotional loss and unjustifiable cruelty, it is not surprising that Odysseus has changed in a variety of ways as is demonstrated within the epic. In this manner, our Homeric hero Odysseus, the “man of twists and turns” (1.1), certainly does live up to his name.

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