Odysseus: The Flawed Hero Essay

Odysseus: The Flawed Hero Essay

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" Odysseus: The Flawed Hero

“Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given,” (1.32-34) is a simple quote reminding us the entities in charge of all characters in the poem The Odyssey – the gods. Hubris, or excessive human pride, is most detested by the gods and likewise is most punishable by them. The Odyssey is a story about Odysseus and Telemachus, two heroes who throughout their adventures meet new people and face death many times. Telemachus goes to find his father after he learns from Athena that he is still alive. The two meet, and Odysseus attempts to go back to Ithaca after he was lost at sea, and on his way there becomes one of the most heroic characters in literature as we know it. Like all heroic characters, Odysseus began to display hubris as he learned how true of a hero he was. James Wyatt Cook, a historian and an expert on The Odyssey, wrote about how hubris can affect the characters that display it. He says, “Because Homer’s Odyssey is essentially comic, that episode [opened wind bag destroys ship] is only one of a series of setbacks Odysseus experiences before reaching his home in Ithaca and recovering his former kingdom and his family. Such, however, is not the case for those who display hubris with tragic outcomes.” (Cook 1) Initially, Odysseus learns about Aias who died as a cause of the excessive pride he portrays. Proteus warns Odysseus when he says, “…and Aias would have escaped doom, though Athena hated him, had he not gone widely mad and tossed outa word of defiance; for he said that in despite of the gods he escaped the great gulf of the sea, and Poseidon heard him…...


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...s throne. Odysseus, even today, is considered a modern day hero; the adventures he experienced on his way to Ithaca were portrayed in unlike any other literature piece. However, like most heroes, Odysseus’ flaw was his hubristic attitude towards the gods, particularly in the beginning of Homer’s Odyssey. Some actions, especially against Poseidon, caused his trip to be delayed, but he eventually made it home, and will forever be with Penelope, like it was meant to be since the beginning, for the gods spared his life despite his acts of hubris.

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Works Cited

"“hubris.” Encyclopedia of Ancient Literature. James Wyatt Cook. New York: Facts on File, 2008. 331. Facts on File Library of World Literature: Literary Movements. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 05 March 2014.

Homer, and Richmond Lattimore. The Odyssey of Homer. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Print.
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