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Odysseus An Epic Hero Essay For Free

Odysseus As The Epic Hero



Odysseus As The Epic Hero

Odysseus's Journey to Becoming
The Epic Hero
I. Introduction - In Homer's The Odyssey the tale of a man's journey back home after long years at war is also the tale of a man's spiritual journey through his own soul.
II. The beginning - Odysseus leaves Troy feeling almost immortal and this pride is what leads to his downfall and second rise.
III. The middle - Odysseus undergoes his symbolic death and rebirth.
IV. The end - Odysseus has regained power over his household and has restored order to his life.
V. Conclusion
In Homer's The Odyssey, the tale of a man's journey home after long years at war, is also the tale of a man's spiritual journey through his own soul. Odysseus' role as an epic hero is modified throughout the epic poem. As Odysseus leaves Troy for home, he is the typical bloodthirsty warrior. During the course of his trek, he undergoes a symbolic death and rebirth. Upon his arrival in Ithaka, the wiser man he has become is evident. The Odyssey is Odysseus' story of his journey not only from Troy to Ithaka, but also from bloodthirsty warrior to epic hero.
Odysseus begins the tale of his trip from Troy to Phaiakia in Book IX. The beginning of his tale displays the bloodthirsty warrior that left Troy.
What of those years
of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus?
The wind that carried west from Ilion
Brought me to Ismaros, on the far shore,
A strongpoint on the coast of Kikones.
I stormed that place and killed the men who fought.
The first lines of Odysseus' story display his warrior side. This passage shows how he and his crew landed and immediately went to battle and plundered. Although Odysseus recalls telling his men to stop afterwards and return to the ship, he never really forcibly tried to make the men return. The lack of effort on Odysseus' part implies that he did not truly care if the men ransacked Ilion. Due to this greed and bloodlust, nearly a third of each ship's crew was lost. This bloodthirsty warrior cared only for battle and blood, instead of his men and his return home.
After stopping on the island of Aiaia, the home of Kirke, Odysseus journeys to Hades. This represents a symbolic death for Odysseus. There he must speak with Teirasias to hear the prophet's visions for Odysseus's journey home. Teirasias predicts that the journey can take two paths; either a peaceful journey home, or if the crew and Odysseus can not restrain their desires, death and destruction will befall the crew. Odysseus and his crew do not heed Teirasias's warning, and the entire crew save Odysseus is lost at sea. After nine years on Kalypso's island Odysseus finally continues his journey home.
The strong god glittering left her as he spoke,
And now her ladyship, having given heed
To Zeus's mandate, went to find Odysseus
In his stone seat to seaward-tear on tear
Brimming his eyes. The sweet days of his life time
Were running out in anguish over his exile,
For long ago the nymph had ceased to please.
Though he fought shy of her and her desire,
He lay with her each night, for she compelled him.
But when day came he sat on the rocky shore
And broke his own heart groaning, with his eyes wet
Scanning the bare horizon of the sea.
Odysseus had begun to lose hope of ever getting home. Kalypso grudgingly gives in to Zeus' order and aids Odysseus in obtaining wood for a ship. After nineteen days at sea, he is battered in a vicious storm and washes up half-unconscious, bloody, and naked in Phaiakia. This episode represents a symbolic rebirth for Odysseus. His time of incubation on Kalypso's isle is over and he emerges naked and bloody - like the day he was born. Once he has landed on Phaiakia, Odysseus realizes that he can not continue on as a bloodthirsty warrior, but rather must heed the wisdom passed on to him by those he met in Hades and change his outlook. It is at this point that Odysseus begins to fully comprehend the effects his actions have on those around him, as well as on his future. Only now is he truly ready for his tumultuous return to Ithaka.
By the time

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Odysseus is an Epic Hero

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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.

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