Analysis of Odysseus as an Epic Hero
Odysseus exemplifies adventure, courage, and the values of the Greeks, but does that make him a hero? An epic hero is not only a personification of that culture but also the best version of that culture. The Odyssey is a narrative poem that was sung by Homer. The Odyssey takes place after the fall of Troy in the Iliad. In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, the character of Odysseus fits he part of an epic hero as demonstrated by his difficult trials, advanced cleverness, and superior strength.
Odysseus has completed several difficult trials. For example, Odysseus had to leave the land of the lotus-eaters despite his crew’s thoughts about it being a calm and peaceful place. “But I brought them back, back to the hollow ships, and streaming tears – I forced them…”(214). Not only does this show his physical strength but also shows his hardships as the leader. This passage demonstrates that Odysseus acted for the betterment of his crew even though it brought him pain. Not only has Odysseus gone through pain but he has also dealt his fair share. Odysseus is very strong and powerful; this is especially prevalent in battle with his enemies. “So we seized our stake with its fiery tip and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye.”(223).
It must have taken a deal of strength to bore a stake into the eye of such a great creature as the cyclops. Odysseus again faced a trial and used his great strength to protect himself and his crew. Physical strength is wasted if not matched with mental strength. That is why it is fortunate that Odysseus possesses a great deal of both. It has already been shown that Odysseus used great physical strength to defeat the cyclops, but he also required mental strength. “ I poured him another fiery bowl-three bowls I brimmed…the fool…”(222). Odysseus is using alcohol to reduce the reasoning of the cyclops a great deal and take advantage of him, therefore, increasing his own mental and physical capacities in comparison.
In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, the character Odysseus fits the archetype of an epic hero as demonstrate by his difficult trials, advanced cleverness, and superior strength. All of which are vital factors frequently seen in the story. Odysseus needed his cleverness, power, and endurance to push through as the epic hero he is. Odysseus fully represents the ideal characteristics of his civilization. His strength, ingenuity, and perseverance through trials make Odysseus an epic hero.
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