The Great Odysseus

Analyzing the works of Homer.

The Great Hero Odyssey (Final Draft)

      What defines a hero? Is it someone who has super powers? Maybe it’s someone that rides in from nowhere and saves the day! These definitions and views are very modern but a hero can be better defined by a mythical man from along ago. His name is Odysseus. Odysseus is the main character of an epic narrative poem by Homer, called The Odyssey. The Odyssey retells the story of Odysseus; the King of Ithaca. The story takes place after the Trojan War and is about Odysseus 10 year long journey to his native Ithaca. During the Odyssey, Odysseus is faced with many hardships in which he must overcome to save his life, and the men that accompany him throughout his long journey. These key points during the book truly bring out Odysseus true self. A hero. Some of these events include escaping and injuring a giant Cyclopes son of Poseidon, escaping the terrible wrath of the mythical creatures: Scylla and Charybdis, and killing the suitors tending to his wife. These great hardships he must face prove Odysseus to be a hero and I intend to prove this by further analyzing these key heroic moments in Odysseus’ adventures.

      The first obstacle Odysseus must overcome is escaping the Cyclopes wrath on the Cyclopes’ island. Odysseus is able to show his great heroism and bravery by injuring the Cyclopes and escaping with only one causality. For example he takes a very sharp pole and with the help of his crew, puncture the eye of the Cyclopes; brutally injuring it. This shows that Odysseus has enough boldness and heroism to save not only his life, but the lives of his crew. This is important because it brings out the real Odysseus. Another example is his great idea of escaping the Cyclopes Cave (Which is covered by a humongous rock which needs to be moved by the Cyclopes). At this point in time Odysseus creates a plan of hanging onto the bellies of surrounding sheep in the cave, and leave undetected by the Cyclopes. “I choose a full grown ram…seizing him by the back, I curled myself up under his shaggy belly… we waited for blessed dawn…the rams began to scramble out”(Chapter 9, 431-438). This plan to escape shows that Odysseus has the mind and body to be a hero and escape the dreaded Cyclopes unscathed. This is important because his physical attributes along with his mental attributes come into play later on in the story.

      In the next heroic scene, Odysseus announces to his men in a scrupulous manner that they must face the Scylla and Charybdis in order to continue their journey. For example Odysseus tells his men that they must be brave and fight through Scylla and avoid the wrath of Charybdis.“I did not mention the inescapable horror of Scylla…Scylla snatched out of my ship the six strongest and ablest man…there she devoured them at her own door.”(Chapter 12 223-256). Had they chosen the path of Charybdis, Odysseus would have lost all of his men. Instead he sacrifices 6 men instead of all of them. This shows that Odysseus is very mindful of his surroundings thus proving him further a hero. This is important because to be a hero you must have qualities such as these. Another great example of his heroism in this scene is the fact that he puts on his armor and weapon to fight the Scylla who doesn’t go near Odysseus. This shows that he has an extreme amount of bravery. This is important because bravery is a very key qualification of a hero.

      In the last heroic scene, Odysseus returns home safely (a heroic feat by itself!) and finds that his wife is being overrun and undermined by suitors. Men that are trying to marry his lovely wife and the queen Penelope. This angers Odysseus for obvious reasons so he gets revenge by killing them. For example “Antinous had just reached for his fine cup…Odysseus took aim and shot him in the neck… Odysseys kept shooting suitors one by one in the hall till the dead lay in piles.”(Chapter 22, 10-118). This scene shows that Odysseus knew he must prove to his wife that he was a hero by killing the suitors that committed extreme acts of perfidy. This is important because he feels it necessary in order to regain his wife’s compassion. Another example of his heroic acts are the sparing of some suitors that didn’t deserve to die. This shows that Odysseus isn’t a mindless savage beast and is very pragmatic when people’s lives are in his hands.. This is most important because it shows once and for all that Odysseus is a true hero.

            In the great work of the Odyssey, Homer wanted us to realize that in famous Greek mythology there was almost always a hero. Odysseus is the best possible example though his great acts of bravery, mindfulness, and awareness (all key elements of a great hero). To the Greeks a hero is a very important aspect of their daily lives and Odysseus really shows this. In the final analysis it is bluntly obvious that through an amazing amount of willpower, strength and integrity, Odysseus is a hero not only to the Greeks, but to the modern society.

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