Is Odysseus a Hero? Essay

Is Odysseus a Hero? Essay

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Throughout the epic, Odysseus is portrayed by his friends and peers as a magnificent man, a godlike figure. But, throughout the journeys of The Odyssey, Odysseus’ true character shows. Heroes are no exception to human nature; all people tend to act differently in public than in private. A commonly accepted definition of a hero is, “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” Odysseus has not shown the noble characteristics of a hero by acting cowardly, barbaric, selfish and greedy in certain situations; such qualities do not deserve such a title. To be a hero, you must have a noble and courageous purpose. As The Odyssey moves along, Odysseus is revealed not to be a hero through his ignoble acts. Homer uses the character of Odysseus to depict false morality which undermines the concept of his heroism.
A main reason why Odysseus is not a hero is because he manipulated the truth and achieved his victories through lies. Achilles, the hero from the Iliad explains his thoughts on the matter, “I hate that man like the very Gates of Death / who says one thing but hides another in his heart” (Knox, 37). Bernard Knox who wrote the introduction to the Odyssey explains how Odysseus prides himself on his ability to cover and manipulate the truth. Bernard also says, “He will gladly employ deceit to win victory” (Knox, 38). A hero is a man of honor with a noble purpose and heart, but Odysseus has neither. The main characteristics of a hero are that they can do heroic things, but retain their nobility. If we sacrifice the truth for progress then we are no


better than the monsters that we fight. Lying and cheating to get things done is wrong and usually has bad consequences.
Another reaso...


... middle of paper ...


...did not fight with morals. As Odysseus is killing the suitors he explained how he hated the fact that they had drained his estate and courted his wife. “’You dogs! You never imagined I’d return from Troy - so cocksure that you bled my house to death, ravished my serving-woman - wooed my wife behind my back while I was still alive!”’ (Homer, 22.36-39). What is very interesting about this line is that the first thing that he accused the suitors of was using up his estate. This line is also very important because the last crime he charged against them was the wooing of his wife. This line proves that Odysseus cares more about his wealth than even his family. No hero should care that much about personal possessions. Based on the facts that Odysseus cares more about himself and that he has no moral code I strongly believe that he should not be given the title of hero.

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