Jacob and Odysseus: Their Roles as Heroes

Jacob and Odysseus: Their Roles as Heroes

Length: 519 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Every culture has a hero. Every hero has a legend. Every legend meets that culture's particular needs. The events, settings, and other characters might be different, but the hero is basically the same for all. The universal hero is initially an immoral character, but after overcoming difficult obstacles, he/she eventually becomes a better person. Jacob and Odysseus are such heroes. Both share an obvious characteristic of deceitfulness, but both still have differences, although discreet. They become a hero because they've changed into a better human being.

Jacob's name means "deceiver" and he lives up to his name. His deceitfulness began with stealing his brother's birthright. One day, Esau came in from the fields famished and found Jacob cooking a meal. Jacob offered his half-starved brother, "Give me the birthright and I'll give you some soup." Esau being starved, sold his birthright to Jacob. (Genesis 25: 29-34). Sometime later when Isaac thought he was going to die, he called Esau into his tent and told him to kill an animal and make him some soup. Isaac's wife overheard this and connived a plan with Jacob to deceive Isaac. Jacob disguised himself as Esau and obtained his blind and dying father's blessing (Genesis 27).

Like Jacob, Odysseus connived, manipulated, and deceived. On his journey home from the Trojan War, Odysseus uses his trickster ways to get himself out of trouble. One famous tail was his encounter with the one-eyed Cyclopes Polyphemous. Odysseus and his crew landed on the land of they Cyclopes. They made themselves at home, eating the cheese and goats of the Cyclopes, fully expecting him to be hospitable. Instead, Cyclops began eating then men as though they were animals themselves. Odysseus and his men were trapped in the cave and Polyphemous rolled a stone over the entrance so no one could exit. Odysseus connived a plan and gave the Cyclopes some wine. When he got drunk and passed out, Odysseus poked out the eye of Polyphemous and completely blinds him. Odysseus and his men escape the cave by clinging to the bellies of sheep (Odyssey, Ch. 9). He also disguised himself as a veteran of a Trojan war to Eumaios, a loyal servant, and as a beggar to his wife and son.

Another aspect they share is that both have the attention of their respected God.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Jacob and Odysseus: Their Roles as Heroes." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Sep 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=111073>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Heroes Usually Die Young in the Iliad, but Odysseus has Wit Essay

- In the Iliad the Heroes are the ones who died young on the battle field in the high of their prime. A perfect example of this is Achilles, who choose to go to Troy knowing he will have a story, but glories life. Odysseus, does care about the glory of war. He does everything he can to stay at home with his family. Including faking insanity and sowing his field with salts. Yet he still consider a hero. In fact Odyssey is a story about Odysseus journey home, not about war and battle which is the case with the Iliad....   [tags: Iliad, heroes,]

Research Papers
503 words (1.4 pages)

Essay about Odysseus' Journey Home

- During Odysseus’ journey back home to Ithaca, him and his crew encountered many evils and troubles. Almost every one of these took at least one of his men. Scylla is an example of this. This monster took six of Odysseus’ men while on the journey home. Nearly ever was it Odysseus’ fault. His men caused most of the problems that haunted them back to Ithaca. His hardships started when he was sent off to fight in the Trojan War. He had to fight because he had made an oath to Helen’s husband that he would always defend her honor....   [tags: Odysseus, ]

Research Papers
1025 words (2.9 pages)

Odysseus and Churchill: Epic Heroes Essay

- Courageous, noble qualities, leadership, bravery, physical and mental strength, outstanding wisdom, and risking his life are just a few characteristics that would describe a Homeric hero. Looking at the nature and work of Odysseus and Churchill, both have essential characteristics that qualify them as heroes. Odysseus’ and Churchill’s many triumphs and courage, intelligence, and leadership skills repeatedly reveal their heroic nature and bravery. For twenty years Odysseus, The king of Ithaca, overcame each obstacle the gods handed to him....   [tags: Literature, British History]

Research Papers
1362 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Heroes of the Ages

- Throughout the ages, there have been many epic heroes in which we hear about through stories. However, there is a rather common question of what makes them an epic hero. Not only do humans look for the bravery and good deeds in a hero, but they go deeper than that. They wish to know what lies beneath the skin. Literally, what makes them act the way they do. Psychologically speaking, there is no sure way to tell why each person acts the way they do. However, what people can analyze is the actions within a story....   [tags: epic hero, Arthur, Achilles, Beowulf, Odysseus]

Research Papers
1140 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Tragic Heroes in Famous Literature

- Imagine some of the greatest tragic heroes of all time: Hamlet, Macbeth, Odysseus -- Ones we all know and love. We laughed at their mistakes, cried at their downfalls, and enjoyed their triumphs. And now a new generation wishes to be among them: King Creon (from Sophocles’ Antigone), Marcus Brutus, and Julius Caesar. But, it will not be easy; it will take a lot for them to win over our hearts and be crowned “most tragic hero” of them all. First, they will have to play the part. What exactly constitutes a tragic hero....   [tags: Hamlet, MacBeth, Odysseus]

Research Papers
775 words (2.2 pages)

Odysseus the Epic by Homer Essay

- Ever since the beginning of time men and women have told countless stories of adventure, discovery, and conquest. These stories often divulge the grand adventures of epic heroes. An epic hero is someone with abundant importance whose actions involve perilous journeys and marvelous warrior skills in war or battle (Abram). In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, the king of the great island of Ithaca, is called to fight alongside the Greeks in the Trojan War. The Greeks defeated the Trojans with the help of clever Odysseus’ Trojan horse....   [tags: ephic heroes, zeus, poliphemus]

Research Papers
1004 words (2.9 pages)

Odysseus and Penelope Essay

- Odysseus and Penelope Odysseus and Penelope are the best two example of what it really means to be human because of their great courage to overcome all obstacles for a greater cause. There is not one true definition on what it means to be human, but the most knowledgeable definition of “human” is to be created in the image of God. The attributes that really set humans apart from all the other animals on earth are imagination, reason, and will. These three human faculties make us who we are because we have the ability to counter plate our own mortality....   [tags: Odysseus, Analysis]

Research Papers
620 words (1.8 pages)

Odysseus: A Hero Essay

- Odysseus: A Hero Heroism was not an invention of the Greeks. Yet, through the first hundreds years of their civilization, the Greek literature has already given birth to highly polished and complex long epics that revolved around heroes. These literature works gave many possibilities of definition of heroism. The Greeks illustrated heroism to obey the rules laid down by the gods and goddesses, and those who obey the rules would gain honor and fame. The Greeks regarded intelligence as one of the highest gifts that all heroes must posses....   [tags: Greek Gods Odysseus Sophocles Essays]

Research Papers
1330 words (3.8 pages)

Arrogance of Greek Heroes Essay

- Arrogance of Greek Heroes Often readers will criticize the champions of classical and medieval epics for egotism. Critics cite examples from the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and Beowulf of conceit and egocentric behavior. Odysseus, Aeneas, and Beowulf display a well-known arrogance befitting their accomplishments. The motivation for this arrogance, to complete these tasks, to perform these feats, is often over-generalized to the point of inaccuracy and confusion. One must not let such misinterpretations interrupt the humanization of these characters....   [tags: Epic Conceit Aeneid Odysseus Essays]

Research Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus and Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar

- Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus and Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar Joseph Campbell’s definition of a hero states that “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” (Campbell 123). The concept of the hero has been present and in active use by storytellers since humans first began telling stories. Myths and legends of every culture and tradition have heroes whose purpose is to serve as role models and character lessons to those who hear or read their stories. The hero of a story can take many forms depending on the purpose of the story, reflecting the society of the writer....   [tags: Hero German Faustus Jacob Essays]

Research Papers
2648 words (7.6 pages)

In The Odyssey, Athena continued helps Odysseus out of trouble. Even when he made mistakes, such as angering Poseidon, Athena continued to intervene. God, in Genesis, did the same for Jacob. He made Jacob prosperous while he lived with Laban, even though he stole his brother's birthright. God even went so far as to promise, "I will be with you" (Genesis 31:3). Both found favor in their Gods despite their faults and as a result became new men. Both learned to become dependent on their God.

In spite of their similarities, two differences set them apart. Jacob is known as "a tent dweller." He was not adventurous, nor was he a warrior. He was found cooking, while Odysseus was found fighting. There is also a great difference in how they utilize their deceiving skills. For example, when Odysseus returned home to confront the suitors who took advantage oh his home and family, he disguised himself as a beggar. He got to know the suitors and later avenged their treatment of his property. Jacob, on the other hand when confronted with his brother, he splits his family in two so that he might still have one, if one is destroyed. He then gathers the best of his flock and offers them to his brother as though to appease his anger. Jacob's actions appear cowardly, where Odysseus' are brave.

Jacob and Odysseus were two imperfect heroes of their time. They were deemed as heroes because they realized that their cleverness alone could not overcome difficult situations. Their deceitful character made them believe that they could stand alone, but it was the interference of their gods that brought them safely home. Jacob the tent maker and Odysseus the warrior, learned the importance of listening and obeying the words of their gods.

Return to 123HelpMe.com