The Hero’s Journey in Homer's The Odyssey

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The Hero’s Journey is never an easy one. This particular journey, as detailed in Homer’s The Odyssey, is one of struggle, loss, heartache, pain, growth and triumph. It is comprised of many steps that Odysseus has to overcome and battle through in order to achieve his final goal of reaching his home and his loved ones. From the Call to Adventure to the Freedom or Gift of living, Odysseus conquered them all. The story begins in the middle of the story, as many of the oral Greek traditions did, with the Journey of Telemachus to find his father. Although Telemachus has not yet met his father, it is almost as if they are journeying together, where the end of both of their journeys results in being reunited. Telemachus journeys from being a boy to becoming a man, while out in the sea Odysseus is battling Poseidon to return to the home that wife that he loves and the home he has left behind.

The first step in any hero’s journey is the Call to Adventure, or the seperation from the pack. For Odysseus this call happened while he was on Calypso’s Island. Up on Olympus Athena had convinced Zeus of her case and Hermes was dispatched to free Odysseus from Calypso’s grasp. Odysseus was settled here for quite some time and had no way of escape until Calypso was forced by the gods to let him go. This is where his journey begins. At first Odysseus is very skeptical of this freedom and thinks that it is a trick by Calypso, which is the denial stage that follows the call to adventure. This stage seperates Odysseus once agaian from what has become familiar to him. He is called to journey alone once again to gain what it is that he has wanted for so long. For Telemachus his call came due to the perils he was facing in his own home with suitors competing for his mother’s love. They started to eat him out of house and home and began to disrespect his mother. Before this Telemachus had stayed quiet, and had not taken action. Telemachus got summoned to branch out from his mother and his home to venture out on a journey of his own. It was now his time to become a man.

In every journey the hero also has a mentor. In this story Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, has taken on this role for both Odysseus and Telemachus. Athena was by Odysseus’ side as a guide for much of the beginning of his Journey. Athena also is a guide to Odysseus when he’s not even aware o...

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...machus, through this journey, has become a man. When the story began Telemachus was a little boy with no figure in his life to really guide him stuck in a bad situation. Over the course of the journey Telemachus had to make due in many situations where respected elders surrounded him. In normal father to son relationships it is your father who teaches you and forces you to become a man. Somehow in this story, although Odysseus was not directly in Telemachus’ life, Odysseus did teach Telemachus how to be a man. It was Odysseus’ absence and hope of his return that was the driving force for Telemachus, and which made him eventually grow into manhood.

The hero is the man who fights for what he loves. A hero is someone who rises above circumstance to take back what is his or hers. A hero is a man who was favored by the gods. All of these qualities and more can be found in both Odysseus and Telemachus. Odysseus and Telemachus both showed many manifestations of a hero throughout the Odyssey. It was a journey of change and growth for both men. Out of this journey they returned with much wisdom and personal gain. Odysseus and Telemachus have truly walked the path of the hero’s journey.
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