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herody Essay on Homer's Odyssey: Odysseus and the Heroic Cycle

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Odysseus and the Heroic Cycle in Homer's Odyssey

"The hero with a thousand faces" written by Joseph Campbell, describes the path a person takes as he journeys through the heroic cycle. Throughout the Odyssey, by Homer, Odysseus is portrayed as a hero. Odysseus fulfils the requirements of the Heroic Journey. "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder∦The hero comes back from his mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons upon his fellow man"(J.C.30) Odysseus accomplishes the heroic cycle through the steps of Departure, Fulfillment, and Return.

Odysseus departure from Troy is the beginning of his long heroic adventure. "What of those years of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus?"(895) This quote depicts the rough times Odysseus will have on his journey, but also reveals that Zeus will watch over him. "The call to Adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown∦"(58) Odysseus will cross the threshold and go places no one has returned from before. On the island of the Cyclops Odysseus exhibits his abilities, as he developed a plan to escape the Cyclops' cave. "∦I deemed it would be the best plan to do as follows. The Cyclops had a great club which was lying near one of the sheep pens;∦ I went up to this club and cut off about six feet of it;∦ lastly I brought it to a point myself, charring the end in the fire to make it harder. When I had done this I hid it under dung, which was lying about all over the cave∦"(book IX) Odysseus has this plan and utilizes it. He and most of his men escape the cave unharmed. This symbolized the escape from the "belly of the whale".

Throughout his journey, Odysseus receives some help from supernatural powers, which aid him to fulfill the heroic cycle. Aeolus, the god of winds Presents Odysseus with a bag, filled with all the bad winds. "∦When I said I must go, and asked him to further me on my way, he made no sort of difficulty, but set about doing so at once.
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