Heroes In "The Odyssey." Essay

1302 words - 5 pages

Are there actually heroes in the world? If so, why do they exist? I believe that no one person in this world can be plainly labeled as such because humans are tremendously complex and irrational which is the root of nearly all evil. There has never been nor will there ever be one being (excluding Jesus) that has ever been entirely good with a complete void from evil. By this I mean no one is one hundred percent heroic and virtuous; the closest we can get is ninety-five percent for everyone has sinned numerous times in their lives, including those like the Pope. We all do evil, many times stemming from ignorance and not deliberately. The chief root of evil in our book, The Odyssey, stems from extreme pride or hubris from the characters and many times from selfishness as well. Honor, respect, and fear are valued higher than any material riches on Earth to many kings of this world in the Odyssey and many will do anything they must for it, including war. For this, they will do everything from give away their vast riches to every stranger from a distant land (as well as welcome them into their homes), to declaring war so as to establish their reputation throughout the world. This, more than any, is the core of evil in The Odyssey.What defines a hero in that world? It is something more of an opinion and cannot be easily pinned down by one universal description. In my opinion, there are three fundamental qualifications a hero must possess: a hero is self-sacrificing, faces his/her fears with courage and accomplishes renowned feats in the face of adversity. He takes the initiative when no one else will, and, while being a leader to those people whom he inspired, resists the temptations to go astray and sin. I examined the characters of Odysseus, Telemachus, Penelope, and Athena and I do not find any of them to be remarkably heroic or even moral in this story. To put this literally, out of a morality range from 0 to 10, the characters (in my eyes) range from as low as one to as high as seven. If there is one thing you learn about morality in reality through this story, it is that it is not just the action that counts for or against you because with every single action you make a day, there comes with it a motivation or intention. There is no action without thought.I see two characters near the same (low) level, in terms of morality throughout this book and they are Penelope and her son, Telemachus. Penelope's intentions and motives throughout the book are the most mysterious to me. I am leaning toward the impression that her motivation for stringing the suitors along for such a long time is that she kept holding out hope for Odysseus' return. Antinious rebukes Telemachus' accusations: "So high and mighty, Telemachus- such unbridled rage! Well now, fling your accusations at us? Think to pin the blame on us? You think again. Its not the suitors here who deserve the blame, its your own dear mother, the matchless queen of cunning. For 3 years now, getting...

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