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Overcoming Impulsiveness

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It is commonly accepted that, by human nature, people are flawed beings. However, many people refuse to accept their own shortcomings. Those who do not recognize those shortcomings may be chronically plagued by them, while those who do accept their human failings can often overcome them, avoiding tragic consequences. In Greek mythology, the characters Hercules and Odysseus both exist as impulsive individuals who do not acknowledge their own weaknesses. This common tragic flaw of impulsiveness between them causes each to damage those around them due to their inability to conquer their flaws. Only through the assistance of a mentor are they each able to trounce their common imperfection successfully.

When Odysseus and Hercules act independently, those around them experience consequences as a result of their shared attribute of impulsiveness. However, when they accept the assistance of a mentor, they are both able to overcome their impulsiveness effectively, suggesting the importance of a mentor. Odysseus’ reveals his impulsiveness just after he blinds and escapes the cyclops. In his elation and arrogance, he reveals his identity to the blind cyclops. He then continues to taunt the creature, angering the cyclops. Poseidon, the cyclops’ father, then curses Odysseus, “[swearing] Odysseus should reach his own country again only after long misery and [the loss of] all his men” (Hamilton 306). Although he is cunning and clever, Odysseus’ pride consumes him, and he carelessly submits to his impulse to gloat, causing a god with the ability to follow through on his threats to impede on his journey. In this instance, the consequences of his action are not only foisted upon his men, but also upon himself, further extending the gravity of the...

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...r own tragic flaws. Through the help of the mentors Athena and Theseus, they are taught to overcome these flaws. This translates to the society of the Greeks as well as today’s society. It emphasizes the need for the ability to recognize one’s own flaws. It also highlights the importance of humility and the ability to accept the assistance of those who may posses more wisdom in order to overcome one’s own deficiencies and reach the desired goal.

Works Cited

Colum, Padriac. IV. The Life and Labors of Heracles. The Golden Fleece and the Heros Who Lived Before Achilles. New York: Macmillian, 1921. Ancient / Classical History - Ancient Greece & Rome & Classics Research Guide. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. .

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. [s.l.]: Grand Central, 2011. Print.
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