Homer's epic poem The Odyssey is about Odysseus' ten-year journey home from the Trojan War and what Odysseus has to do when he returns. The journey itself is quite a story. Odysseus and his men come in contact with many obstacles that they must overcome and there are more hurdles to jump when Odysseus reaches his destination. Odysseus is an epic hero who, besides showing superhuman characteristics in strength, bravery and cleverness, also proves himself through his emotions, leadership, and the corrections in his faults.
Odysseus' emotions are rare, yet profound enough to enhance the way Odysseus is viewed as an epic hero. The first sign of Odysseus' true emotions occur once Odysseus chooses to take the path past Scylla, a six-headed monster who devours sailors in passing ships, rather than the one through Charybdis, a whirlpool. While Odysseus watches below, Scylla snatches six of his best men, one for each of her heads. Seeing his men being devoured while calling his name is the worst sight Odysseus has ever had to suffer through on all his journeys on the sea (646-662). When Odysseus returns to his home on Ithaca, many more emotions take over him when he comes in contact with people he hasn't seen for twenty years. Odysseus tells Telemachus, his son, what his true identity is and the men weep and embrace to try to make up from the twenty years where this kind of bonding was unavailable (896-906). Also, Odysseus has feelings that he has to hide when he sees Argos, the dog he trained from a puppy, being mistreated and not cared for properly. However, since Odysseus is in disguise he cannot reveal his true emotion and hides his tears away...
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...-1027). This change in Odysseus' character accents his epic hero characteristics even further by Odysseus being able to recognize his problem, then correcting this obstacle in able to complete the needed task.
Odysseus was truly the epic hero in Homer's The Odyssey. Odysseus' emotion and the could control of that emotion, the ability to lead his crew through difficult situations and recognizing and changing his faults were only some of the epic hero characteristics that Odysseus met during this epic poem. The attributes displayed by Odysseus are everyday characteristics of the present. By reading The Odyssey many people may be able to deal with emotional conflicts of today.
Bloom, Harold , Homer's Odyssey: Edited and with an Introduction, NY, Chelsea House 1988
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: 1996
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