Character Traits of Odysseus in Homer´s Odyssey Essay
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Odysseus, king of Ithaca, was probably on of the greatest warriors in the history of Ancient Greece. It is said that the poet, Homer, wrote the story of the Odyssey. In this story, Odysseus and his crew are trying to make their voyage back home to Ithaca after they have fought with the Trojans. During the long journey, Odysseus will show some of his character traits which include his bravery, cleverness, and wisdom that will assist him with the situations he encounters on his journey home. Bravery was probably one of the traits Odysseus was known for best. Without his bravery, the story most-likely wouldn't have been as exciting and suspenseful as it was. One of the situations that displayed this trait was when they landed on the…show more content…
Odysseus, king of Ithaca, was probably on of the greatest warriors in the history of Ancient Greece. It is said that the poet, Homer, wrote the story of the Odyssey. In this story, Odysseus and his crew are trying to make their voyage back home to Ithaca after they have fought with the Trojans. During the long journey, Odysseus will show some of his character traits which include his bravery, cleverness, and wisdom that will assist him with the situations he encounters on his journey home. Bravery was probably one of the traits Odysseus was known for best. Without his bravery, the story most-likely wouldn't have been as exciting and suspenseful as it was. One of the situations that displayed this trait was when they landed on the land of the Cyclopes. As they wandered around the land, they found a cave. In the cave were livestock and a shelf with cheese laying on it. Odysseus's shipmates wanted to take all of the livestock and cheese back to their boat and sail off. Odysseus disagreed to this and wanted to see the person that lived in the cave. This showed his bravery knowing that there was a chance that him and his crew members were going to put themselves in danger. Another situation that displayed his bravery was when Circe told Odysseus that in order to reach his way back home he must speak with the blind prophet , Tiresias, in the land of the dead. What made him brave was that he knew he was going to show fear when he enters the land of the dead. Another
Odysseus is an Epic Hero
- Length: 850 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
People are heroes in different ways for different reasons. American soldiers are heroes because they fight boldly for their country. Corrie Ten Boom is also a hero because she took risks and saved hundreds of Jews. Abraham Lincoln is another example of a hero because he fought for what he thought was right and helped free all slaves. Similarly, Odysseus, the main character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, possesses all of these characteristics and many more, making him a true epic hero.
First of all, Odysseus is brave and courageous, giving him the initiative to fulfill his goals. One example is when Odysseus confronts Skylla. Odysseus purposely “made [his] way along to the foredeck—thinking to see her first from there” (Homer 217). If he was scared, he would have hidden underneath the deck. But instead, Odysseus goes out to face the beast. Odysseus knows that Skylla is immortal and cannot die, yet he is brave enough to confront her. Next, Odysseus fights the suitors, who are courting Penelope in his palace. The suitors greatly outnumber Odysseus, but Odysseus still chooses to fight even though the odds are against him and he is able to win. He stands up against those who do wrong. Having the courage to fight, Odysseus defeats the suitors and fulfills his goal of regaining his palace. If Odysseus was a coward and did not fight, then the suitors would have eventually won Penelope, resulting in Odysseus losing his palace and his wife. Many people have bravery and courage, but not many use it, as Odysseus does, to achieve their purpose.
Secondly, Odysseus has great self-control, which allows him to deeply contemplate his decisions. Moments before Odysseus falls asleep, he spots a “covey of women laughing as they [slip] out…to the suitors’ beds” (Homer 375). Seeing this, Odysseus is angered and wants to kill every one of the suitors right then and there. But Odysseus retains his self-control and does not strike yet. At that moment, if he did strike, he would have lost because he would not have been prepared. He retains all his anger for the final battle with the suitors. In that battle, Odysseus is fully prepared and ready to fight, resulting in all the suitors’ deaths. Next, when Antinoos throws a footstool at Odysseus, “Odysseus only [shakes] his head, containing thoughts of bloody work” (Homer 326).
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That was not the opportune time to attack Antinoos. After all, Odysseus has no protection, and the other suitors would attack him should he attempt to kill Antinoos then. But Odysseus contains himself. Instead, he waits for the right moment, the final battle, where he kills all the suitors, including Antinoos. An epic hero cannot let his emotions take control of him, but he has to carefully consider his decisions. Finally, Odysseus is a master strategist, which allows him to carefully plot and strategize each component of his plan to defeat the enemy. Before his big battle with the suitors, Odysseus thinks ahead and takes several precautions to seal his victory. The first thing Odysseus does is to move all the weapons from their current location and lock them up. That way, the suitors cannot retrieve their arms when Odysseus attacks them. It really does help in a battle when one side has all the weapons and the opposition has none. Right before the battle begins, Odysseus tells his goatherd Philoitios to lock and bar the outside gate. So when the battle begins, the suitors will have no place to run and have to fight. No one can get in and no one can get out. Odysseus also tells his loyal maid Eurykleia to lock up all the maids. In this manner, the disloyal maids cannot run and help the suitors when Odysseus kills them. After the battle is over, the master strategist conceals the suitors’ deaths by having the musicians play joyful music. When people walk past, they will think that Penelope has finally chosen a suitor and they would never suspect that the suitors had been killed. This distraction gives Odysseus and his men enough time to escape to the home of Odysseus’ father, Laertes. If Odysseus’ palace is too quiet, people walking past might suspect something is amiss and investigate. Odysseus’ strategizing and taking actions to achieve his goal shows why he is a true epic hero.
All in all, Odysseus possesses many character traits that make him a true epic hero. Odysseus is courageous, has self-control, and is a master strategist. These qualities make him a true epic hero because Odysseus uses them to achieve his goal, contemplates and makes wise decisions, and strategizes on what actions to take next. True epic heroes are simply ordinary people who use their talents to help others. People today can be true heroes by just using their gifts for the benefit of others and not themselves. This selflessness makes them heroes. They are willing to sacrifice personal gains so that others can benefit. This is a necessary ingredient to become a true epic hero. And Odysseus has these qualities, making him a true epic hero.