Odysseus Is A True Epic Hero Essay

Odysseus Is A True Epic Hero Essay

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In Homer’s The Odyssey, the character of Odysseus is renowned as a noble epic hero. However, is Odysseus’ reputation truly justified by his intellect and cunning? Is he truly one “who for all craft am noted among men, and my renown reaches to heaven” (80)? Or is he, as a mortal man, also susceptible to the temptation of pride and boastfulness? Nevertheless, while Odysseus shows instances of rashness and naivety during his journey, such as lingering in the cyclops’ cave and revealing his name to Polyphemus, he evidently matures as a character and epic hero throughout the journey, such as when he disguises himself when he returns to Ithaca and when he devises a plan to defeat the suitors. While the argument may be over whether Odysseus is a true epic hero and whether his reputation is justified by his cleverness and intelligence, it must be remembered that he is a mortal man, and, although Odysseus does make mistakes, he is aware of his downfalls and is able to learn from them. Therefore, although Odysseus’ reputation is sometimes harmed due to his mistakes, there are enough instances of his cleverness and intelligence to justify his reputation as an epic hero.
Odysseus’ greatest downfall is his excessive pride, also known as hubris in the Greek culture. Throughout his journey, there are multiple instances when Odysseus falls under this temptation and, as a result, has to deal with the consequences. The most significant of these instances is when Odysseus and his men discover Polyphemus’ cave that is well-supplied with cheese and milk. Instead of quickly taking some of the food and leaving, Odysseus decides to wait until the owner returns—much to the detriment of his men. Later on, after Odysseus and his men have escaped the capti...


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...g 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 king.
While Odysseus is susceptible to the temptation of hubris, he does mature as a character throughout his journey and his reputation is frequently justified. Odysseus’ pride is not too great that he does not allow himself to learn from his mistakes; rather, he recognizes his downfalls and is even more clever the next time he is called to action. Throughout his journey home to Ithaca, Odysseus learns not to boast and that wisdom is greater than rashness. Therefore, Odysseus is able to mature and to justify his reputation for cleverness and ingenuity throughout his journey, allowing him to be the great epic hero that he is known as.

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