Hero Or Not? Essay

760 words - 4 pages

The majority of those who read The Odyssey consider the protagonist of the story, Odysseus, a hero. On many occasions, however, Odysseus makes decisions beneficial to himself alone. For example, when Odysseus and his men find themselves on Polyphemus's island, Odysseus's actions are self-centered and at the expense of his men. This can be said for most of Odysseus's actions in the story, as his main objective is to reach his home. Having his men by his side when he returns seems a trivial thing to him. Odysseus could be considered a hero, but many of his actions say otherwise. Due to the many unfaithful and self-centered decisions he makes in the story, Odysseus is not a hero.
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156-7). On Polyphemus's island, Odysseus brags of his accomplishment to the cyclops, even though his men strongly advise against it. This proves Odysseus does not listen well to those he believes are his subordinates. His bragging almost results in the death of his entire crew. Odysseus doesn't think highly of his men, and this is apparent throughout the entire story.
One can be judged by their actions, but what truly shapes a person is their personality. Odysseus is an over-confident and ill-tempered man. On the cyclops's island, Odysseus's boasting nearly proves costly. A modest and heroic person would have had his men in mind, rather than himself, and left the island. Also, Odysseus revealing his true identity to the cyclops could very well have resulted in the death of his men. After Odysseus's boasting, Polyphemus prays to his father, "Let him lose all companions, and return / under strange sail to bitter days at home" (Homer 9. (537-8). This prophecy, of course, becomes a reality. Another sign of Odysseus's over-confidence shows while he is explaining himself to King Alcinous. In some of his first words to the king, Odysseus...

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