Odysseus: A Hero Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

When we hear the word 'hero,' more than one idea comes to mind. Not only do we think of people that we look up to in our world, but we also think of heroes in the fictional world. To be a hero can mean a variety of different things. Leaders, singers, and even parents can be a hero that someone looks up too. But in the fictional world, a hero is someone who has learned from his or hers journey to come out a changed person. Some characters complete the journey, while others do not quite make it to the end. In The Odyssey, Odysseus takes more than one leap of faith on his journey to become a hero by learning from his mistakes, making personal sacrifices, and becoming a better man.
After making mistakes, Odysseus realizes his wrong doings and changes his actions for the better. Throughout the story, Odysseus and his men make mistakes over and over. But as the story progresses, the son of Laertes changes his actions after seeing his plans fail. Before thinking things out, Odysseus sends his men out to explore unknown lands: "But those who ate this honeyed plant, the Lotus, never cared to report or return" (IX, 101-102). Here, he sends out his men before really thinking of what mysterious people and places were out there. Negative outcomes never cross his mind when he acted. But after almost losing two of his men, he realizes that mind should come before matter. When they land on Aiaia, he is more cautious. "Should I go inland scouting out that reddish smoke? No: better not" (X, 167-171). From thinking things out before acting, it shows that he has learned from the mistakes that he made. Everyday people learn from their previous errors, but not everyone uses their knowledge. By being cautious and considering all aspects of the outcome, the King of Ithaka has changed his works for the better.
Odysseus is willing to make the sacrifices needed, no matter how personal they may be. Throughout his journey, Odysseus is put in positions that challenge him mentally and physically. Sometimes, these trials require sacrificing personal values and items before he can overcome them. Like on Kirke’s island, Odysseus makes a sacrifice very few would: “She will cower and yield her bed- a pleasure you must not decline” (X, 334-335). To free his men, Odysseus gives in to temptation not because he wants to, but because he is willing to put forward his self to get out them all out of this situation. Even though his men got themselves changed into swine, Odysseus’s courage and thoughts of home is what frees them from their curse. This shows that the son of Laertes will surrender what is his, to keep the people around him safe. In another part of the journey, his crew mates even ask him if he is “flesh and blood...to endure more of a man can” (XII, 358-359) because he tells them not to land on Thrinakia. But when Odysseus sees that his crew does need the rest, he submits and tells them to land. Here, Odysseus knows of the dangers and temptations that lay ahead of them...

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