Fictional heroes in literature are characters that embark on grueling, mind-altering journeys even though they receive no personal gain from these missions. Heroes overcome difficult challenges and resist temptations while also learning important life lessons and acquiring an enlightened perspective. The epic poem The Odyssey by Homer chronicles the great hero Odysseus’s return trip to Ithaka. His long and demanding voyage to his homeland leaves Odysseus a changed man. However, many argue whether Odysseus truly earns the title of “hero.” There is evidence for both sides of this argument. Because of his cleverness, his undying bravery and his ability to learn from past mistakes, Odysseus proves himself a hero. Odysseus’s clever and cunning skills allow him to make it back to Ithaka after a demanding expedition. He creates well thought-out plans to destroy obstacles in his path. When Odysseus and his men are trapped in the dwelling of Polyphemos, the Kyklops, he devises a plan to escape, knowing full well that utilizing his brains over the giant’s brawn will be the only way to make it out alive. Here Odysseus not only shows he is clever but also displays selflessness by put his men before himself. After returning home, Odysseus still have one more challenge to conquer: the suitors. With his son, Telemakhos, Odysseus is able to kill the suitors despite the uneven numbers. This is due to his carefully strategy that required sharp wits and enormous patience. Odysseus also proves he is not easily fooled by not immediately revealing his true identity to strangers. He knows that it is wise to keep his identity a secret. The beggar Odysseus is a great example of this deception. Odysseus returns to Ithaka a beggar so that the... ... middle of paper ... ... Hades, Odysseus gets right to work on properly burying Elpenor’s body. Previously, he had disregarded his fallen comrade’s body and left it there to rot. After realizing he was wrong, he does his best to rectify the situation. Towards the end of the poem, Odysseus makes plans to make his huge sacrifice to Poseidon for he did much to anger the great sea god in the past. Through fatal mistakes, Odysseus is able to learn important lessons and change his ways. Learning from past mistakes, displaying superior courage and having unmatched wits are the reasons Odysseus can be considered a hero. He endures difficult challenges and temptations to return to his kingdom, where chaos has overtaken. Along the way, he understands the true power of the gods and gains humility. Like a true hero, Odysseus is able to change for the better and sacrifices himself for others.
This shows that Odysseus’ self-serving nature extends beyond material greed into the equally sinful realm of pride. In a classic display of hubris, Odysseus taunts the Cyclopes fulfilling the sole purpose of stroking Odysseus’s ego. At first it appears that our hero is lacking foresight, but Odysseus tells Polyphemus his name in hopes that tales of his cunning will spread throughout Greece: a very selfish goal, directly resulting in the endangerment of the lives of both him and his men throughout the remainder of their travels.
Throughout Odysseus’s meandering and consequent homecoming in Ithaca, Homer depicts many different aspects of Odysseus’s personality in his epic poem “The Odyssey”. Although Odysseus is smart, brave, and is a great fighter, in reality, he is an overconfident madman. Throughout Homer’s classic epic, Odysseus uses his skill to overcome many obstacles. However, in each story, overconfidence is always a major theme, and Odysseus’s hubris always causes him to do crazy things. At the end, Odysseus’s arrogance is his fatal flaw, and leads him into trouble.
Odysseus returns from a great victory of the Trojan War and the enormous amount of pride he gains gets him into a lot of trouble. As he returns home, he lands on the island of the Kyklopes. He insists that they meet with the unknown host, with the prospect of receiving gifts. His pride and craving for more treasure leads him and his men into trouble. They get trapped in the cave of the Kyklops and uses his wit to escape. He spoils the victorious moment when he taunts at Polyphemos. He taunts, “Kyklops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes son, whose home’s on Ithaka!" (IX, lines 548-552). Not only did Odysseus...
Throughout the story of The Odyssey, Odysseus is both punished for his pride and rewarded for his ingenuity. When he lingers in the cave of Polyphemus, Odysseus ends up losing six of his men to the cyclops even though he boastfully attests that “He (Polyphemus) thought to tempt me, but he could not cheat a knowing man like me” (85). As a result, when Odysseus reveals his identity as they are sailing away from the island, Polyphemus pleads with his father Poseidon to punish the crew and to “vouchsafe no coming home to this Odysseus, spoiler of cities,…let him come, in evil plight, with loss of all his crew, on vessel of a stranger, and may he at his home find trouble” (89). This curse comes true, as Odysseus is the lone survivor of Poseidon’s storm and meets trouble with the suitors as soon as he returns to Ithaca. However, while Odysseus is punished for his pride, he is able to learn from his mistakes, and is accordingly rewarded for his ingenuity and cunning. By stating that his name is “Noman” and by getting Polyphemus drunk, he and his men are able to escape the cave, and when he disguises himself in Ithaca, he is able to successfully defeat all of the suitors and take back his home and city as
For a character to be an epic hero, he must possess four characteristics. These four characteristics include the following: (1) he must be high born, (2) the hero must have human weaknesses, (3) he must be brave,and 4) he must be clever. In The Odyssey, Homer’s character Odysseus was an epic hero because he possessed all four of the characteristics.
Odysseus’ has hubris and excessive pride in himself, the gods he believes in, and his accomplishments, which hold him back and do not allow him to reach hero potential. The pride that Odysseus has in his name is visible throughout his entire tale he is telling to the Phaiakians and King Alkinoos. Starting the story of his journey, Odysseus already begins to display his hubris when he explains to his hosts who he is and where he hails from. After stating that he is the son of King Laertes of Ithaka, Odysseus shares that, “Men hold me formidable for guile in peace and war: this fame has gone abroad to the sky’s rim” (IX, 21-23). He believes that he is so well known that the Phaiakians should know him from t...
The first heroic characteristic of Odysseus is his cleverness. In The Odyssey, one of the instances where Odysseus displays cleverness is in his encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus. Polyphemus captures Odysseus and his men in the island Cyclopes, which was filled with other giants. Although it is expected among the Greeks to display hospitality to strangers, Polyphemus ends up eating some of Odysseus men. In order to escape the giant, Odysseus comes up with a clever plan. He offers Polyphemus wine in order to get the giant drunk. When the giant falls asleep, Odysseus stabs Polyphemus’ singular eye, blinding the giant. The giant naturally wakes up, and starts to try and recapture Odysseus and his men. Knowing that the giant’s shouting would most likely attract the attention of the other giants in the island, Odysseus replies to Polyphemus when the giant asks him his name that his name was “Noman.” But when Polyphemus shouts for help, none of the other giants come to his aid, since he is shouting “My friends, N...
His journey starts east from Troy to Ísmaros. Odysseus and the Akhaian forces battle with Kikonês. Odysseus, knowing of the Kikonês’ skill, intelligently order back out to sea. They refuse and, in return, many are killed. Here, Odysseus’ intelligence would have saved the men, if they would have listened. Though they failed to obey, Odysseus exhibited patience as he did not hold them at fault.
...t certain to drown him, but with the minor help of a Sea Nymph, Odysseus was able to survive and successfully reach home. Not only was Odysseus able to overcome the disfavor of gods, but also was also able to come out victorious when the situation called for his demise. This can be seen after he fought the monster Skylla. Against such a large monster, certain death is almost guaranteed, but despite the loss of all his fellow men, Odysseus himself was able to survive. Despite this loss, Odysseus himself was able to survive the odds, something only a hero can accomplish. Towards the end of his journey, Odysseus was able to defeat the suitors, despite being greatly outnumbered. It seemed as though the loads of bloodthirsty suitors would slaughter Odysseus, Telemachos, Eumaios, and Philoitios, but Odysseus was not deterred. Despite pessimistic talk from Telemachos,
Odysseus who is cunning and egoistical goes on trials that negatively affect the beginning of his journey. While intoxicating Polyphemus, Odysseus tells him “my name is nobody” (Homer). The fact that Odysseus uses an alias proves he is clever because it makes the cyclops look foolish when he calls to the neighboring giants for help. Through his decision and use of an alias, we can infer Odysseus “learns to be more crafty” (Heatherington). Additionally, when he was deserting the cyclops’ island, Odysseus stops and “yell[s] out and mock[s] them” (Homer). Based on his actions we must conclude he is injudicious because he provokes the giants and brings Poseidon’s anger upon himself and his crew. Also, in
As seen throughout The Odyssey, a hero is perceived as a person who achieves great success never before seen and whose legacy lives beyond their years. Since The Odyssey was written around the eighth century BCE, the people that we view as heros in present day tend to embody different traits than the heroes of that time. Even though the word, “hero” does not have one specific definition, a hero is generally categorized as someone who is idolized for their bravery and does anything necessary to defend their people. Although Odysseus embodies the Homeric ideals of heroism in that he accomplishes triumphs that others have not, his successes are the product of divine intervention and his actions were primarily selfish; therefore, he is not a true
He also was very cunning and liked to play games with the enemy. In Book 9 Odysseus wanted to mess with the Cyclops, and see how powerful he was. Odysseus’s men just told him not to mess with Cyclops but instead, steal some of his things, and leave. Odysseus objected and wanted more action to occur. Stated in the story, “...how sound that was! Yet I refused. I wished to see the caveman, what he had to offer no pretty sight, it turned out, for my friends” (Homer 376). Odysseus let his trait of arrogance take over, and almost risked the lives of all of his men, including himself. But after everything, he still saved the majority of the men and got them out. This shows how sly Odysseus was. He had a plan from the beginning and may have failed a little, but int he ends got what he wanted and succeeded.
The idea of a true hero is varied from person to person, because each viewpoint has a different idea of the personality that makes one a hero. There have been many fiction and non-fiction heroes that show different character traits, which influence people’s definitions of a hero. However, each person’s unique thought about a hero still focuses about one central idea: a hero must prove himself in order to earn his heroic status. This is the cornerstone of all the opinions about heroes because heroes have to show their heroism in order to become who they are in the end. At the beginning they are inexperienced, ordinary people who go on their adventures, and face their fears and weaknesses, but they develop greatly throughout these journeys. After comprehending what true heroism is and following it only then will they become heroes even though each of them has different traits. In the epic poem The Odyssey, by Homer, Odysseus gains the title of hero during his journey back to Ithaka, from Troy, by proving to be one. It is through his characteristics and experiences that he becomes the well developed man at the end of the book. In truth, because of his confidence, loyalty, and difficult struggles, Odysseus becomes a genuine hero to the people he defended.
Odysseus’ story has been re-told, passed on, and admired for generations on end. This story not only shows a story of doing what you think is right, but it also show the story of one of the worlds most known hero. Odysseus is a strong hero, showing strength, courage, and weakness, which are all traits of many other heroes. Not only does he have these traits, but he is able to understand what is right for the whole group. He makes sacrifices that may be saddening and cause a loss, but help in the long run. But most memorable is the amount of cunning and wit he showed throughout the story, a reminder of all the epic things he did.