The Odyssey: Is Odysseus A Hero?

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Is Odysseus a Hero? What is the true definition of a hero? Is it someone who survives a series of difficult tasks on a journey which he did not want to go on in the first place? How about someone who endangers the lives of his crew because he is too self-absorbed to think of anyone other than himself, is that a hero? The correct answer is “no”, however despite this, modern literary scholars still believe that the character of Odysseus from Homer’s famous The Odyssey is in fact one of the greatest heroes that ever existed from Greek mythology. Although modern literary scholars of the Odyssey claim that Odysseus is a hero, further exploration of the character determines that Odysseus is ultimately, not a hero. This is because Odysseus only …show more content…

In The Odyssey, Odysseus ends up taking or ruining the lives of thousands of Trojan warriors, Polyphemus, Odysseus’ mother, and more than one hundred suitors that he killed at the end of his journey, in addition to being responsible for the deaths of all of his crew members. For example, when Odysseus and his men are escaping the cyclops’ island, instead of leaving quickly and quietly as to not draw any more attention to themselves from Polyphemus, the cyclops they just blinded, Odysseus cannot help his self absorbed personality and goes against his crew’s wish. “Godsake, Captain! Why bait the beast again? Let him alone…” (Homer/Fitzgerald 911) are Odysseus’ crews wish but instead, Odysseus yells to Polyphemus, “...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 Ithaca!” (Homer/Fitzgerald 911) In doing this, Odysseus shows that he is not a hero because he is willing to risk ruining the lives of his crew and himself just because of his substantial ego. Of course, a hero must always face a time where he/she is forced to take a life here or there, but Odysseus’ acts do not balance each other out between saving and taking lives. Not only does Odysseus show that he is not a hero by taking more lives than he saves, he is also unsuccessful in the end of his

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