Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Odysseus Hero Analysis

Odysseus is a classic hero, dedicated to fighting for his country, as well as getting his men home safely. Despite these wonderful, heroic qualities, Odysseus also has several flaws, including his arrogance and lack of control over his crew.  These flaws create a character that is lacking as an "ideal" hero.

Above all, Odysseus is loyal to his country, Ithaca and its people.  His initial journey was to fight for them in the Trojan War.  Throughout the story, Odysseus is continually trying to return home with riches for Ithaca to enjoy.  Odysseus is also extremely loyal to his crew.  When they were addicted to lotus fruit on the island of the lotus-eaters, he did not abandon them.  Instead, he dragged them off the island kicking and screaming, for he knew that that would be best for them.  Courage is another heroic characteristic that Odysseus possesses.  Courage lead Odysseus through many aspects of his journey.  For example, Odysseus was courageous enough to save his men from Circe and her witchcraft.  Odysseus is also quite intelligent.  He always seems to have a witty plan to get himself and his crew out of predicaments.  One great example of this intelligence is displayed in the cave of the cyclops, Polyphemus.  While he and his men were trapped in the lair of the malevolent cyclops, Odyseus devised a clever plan to escape.  The group would blind Polyphemus and hitch rides out of the cave on the underbellies of sheep.

Odysseus does, on the other hand, have several fatal flaws.  The most severe of these hamartias is his hubris.  With all that wit and courage, Odysseus can get a little too sure of himself at times.  A prime example of this hamartias manifests itself in Odysseus's biggest mistake during his journey.  Odysseus had the foresight to tell Polyphemus that his name was nobody so that he could attack him without worrying about the cyclops yelling for help.  However, he ruined the when he teased Polyphemus by telling him his name, which led to Poseidon'ts revenge on the behalf of his son.  Odysseus also has trouble keeping track of his crew.  On several occasion, Odysseus has lost control of his crew.  For example, Odysseus left his men unsupervised with the bag of winds that they were using to get home and they managed to let out all the wind.  Another example is when Odysseus's crew wandered off on the island of lotus-eaters and became addicted to the lotus fruit.

Al in all, Odysseus is a sloppy hero.  He does have several redeeming heoic qualities.  These include his loyalty to his country, courage, and intelligence.  However, Odysseus also has many flaws.  He is sloppy and arrogant, as well as the fact that he has a difficult time containing his crew.  I would definately classify Odysseus as a hero, but I would not call him the "ideal" hero.

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