Odysseus, An Unconventional Hero Depicted In The Odyssey

1834 words - 7 pages

An Unconventional Hero

According to Greek mythology, a hero is one who values glory above life itself

and honorably dies in the battle during his prime period of his life. After the gods and

demi-god of Greece, heroes probably are the most admirable figures in society. However,

Odysseus seems to defy the conventional definition of a hero. He is overwhelmed with

tremendous obstacles and difficulty, often beyond that a normal man could endure but he

determines to stay alive rather than die young. Achilles states in Book 11 “I’d rather

be a hired hand back on earth…, | Than lord it over all these withered dead”(Odyssey

11.510-512). Achilles’ statement appears to solidify Odysseus’s determination to live and

enhance Odysseus’s right decision for not following the heroic conduct. Nevertheless,

Odysseus is the most reputable hero among the Achaeans in Ithaca. He is thus the

representative of an unconventional hero. In the Odyssey, a hero is perhaps one who

undergoes life with anguish and suffering but manages to stay alive using his quality of

intelligence and craftiness rather than relying on strength alone and die with great kleos

but in a young age.

Metis, a Greek term meaning cunning, intelligence, and proficiency with speech,

is demonstrated through Odysseus’s many exploits and presents him as a distinctive hero

differing from others who simply use their brute strength to overcome their tasks. Books

9 to 12 are probably the most famous part of the Odyssey. The stories in these books are

recounted as fantasy and flashbacks by Odysseus to the Phaeacians. The wanderings of

Odysseus not only seem to give the readers knowledge about Odysseus’s use of metis but

to Odysseus’s audience as well. For instance, one of his threats in these books is possibly

his encounter with Polyphemus who tears two of Odysseus’s men “limb to limb,| To

make his supper” (Odyssey 9. 283-284). The strength and brutality of Polyphemus is

certainly unquestionable. However, Odysseus plans to draw his “sharp sword and [drive]

it home,| Into his chest…” (Odyssey 9.293). For they would all have perished if Odysseus

had drawn his sword since none but Polyphemus could shift the boulder which closes the

entrance of the cave. Odysseus clearly understands that he cannot overwhelm

Polyphemus and thus devises around his drawback by taking advantage of the Cyclops’

foolishness. Odysseus appears to realize the importance of trickery and its inseparable

connection with survival, which is contrasted with the sheer brute strength that the

Cyclops employs. Despite Odysseus uses strength to drill a stake into the single eye of

Polyphemus, this illustration of force may seem to be his part of plan to deceive the


In addition, Books 9 to 12 appear to have no divine figures intervening

Odysseus’s recreation of stories except in...

Find Another Essay On Odysseus, An Unconventional Hero Depicted in The Odyssey

Odysseus: Hero or Villain? Compare odysseus to modern-day CEO's, with relevance to situational ethics in Homer's Odyssey.

1015 words - 4 pages Odysseus: Hero or Villain?Whether in times of war or in times of "peace," dispute has not ceased nor will ever cease as long as there are humans upon this Earth. Within these humans originates the essence of dispute: rationalization. Presupposing that there is no external source of absolute truth, it is necessary to decipher all we encounter, in an attempt to find self-explanation. Although humans are, in part, physically the same, mentally they

The Long-Suffering and Self-Pitying Odysseus. The Odyssey by Homer This essay anaylyzes Odysses' character and his worth as an epic hero.

1483 words - 6 pages despair at being so hated by the Gods. When we first encounter Odysseus, he is sitting alone on Calypso's island, "weeping, his eyes never dry, his sweet life flowing away / with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home" (5. 168-169). At this point, Odysseus has been a prisoner on Calypso's island for seven years, and has an understandably forlorn outlook regarding his journey home. However, Odysseus spends every night on the island acting

herody Odysseus as Epic Hero of Homer's Odyssey

1034 words - 4 pages Odysseus as Epic Hero of Homer's Odyssey        Homer's epic poem The Odyssey is about Odysseus' ten-year journey home from the Trojan War and what Odysseus has to do when he returns.  The journey itself is quite a story.  Odysseus and his men come in contact with many obstacles that they must overcome and there are more hurdles to jump when Odysseus reaches his destination.  Odysseus is an epic hero who, besides showing superhuman

Odysseus Character Analysis In The Odyssey

771 words - 3 pages Odysseus: Not Just Another Hero In Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, Odysseus possesses the qualities of compassion and patience, ability of human weakness and love for his family, which qualify him as an epic hero.Odysseus constantly expresses love for his family throughout The Odyssey. As Odysseus finally arrives home and sees his son for the first time in twenty years, Homer writes, "Held back too long, the tears ran down his cheeks as he

Odysseus, an Epic Hero

838 words - 3 pages Picture this, a hero of great legends who travels to the underworld and back to get directions to his home from a blind prophet. It sounds like quite an impossible journey, but that’s exactly what makes Odysseus all the more interesting. The Odyssey, an epic poem orally transmitted by Homer, a Greek poet, had to contain some sort of attributes that Greeks valued in a person. That one embodiment of what the Greeks found intriguing in a character

Odysseus as an Epic Hero

1320 words - 5 pages overthrow the suitors by themselves and Odysseus was able to reclaim his palace and his wife. Odysseus shows with this that he has learned from his journey to replace his pride with patience and that without the gods help he would not have made it this far. Odysseus was an epic hero depicted in the Homer's The Odyssey. He responded to the call to travel to Troy to help Agamemnon get Helen. He encountered great confrontation along the way. He fought

Odysseus, the Epic Hero

1157 words - 5 pages an Ancient Greek epic hero. These four traits show that the Ancient Greeks valued people who are strong in mind and body, endure more than men can, give help to those in need, and are able to prove their worth . One of the four epic hero traits that Odysseus has, is that he has a plethora of exemplary attributes. For instance, Odysseus is able to “bored [bore] that [the] great eye socket” with an olive branch that he found in the cave, showing

Odysseus The Hero

1519 words - 6 pages A hero accepts who he is as an individual, but strives to change himself for the better. In the epic poem, The Odyssey, by Homer, the main character Odysseus is a valiant king who embarks on a life-changing voyage. While traveling from Troy back to his home in Ithaka, King Odysseus overcomes daunting obstacles, and in doing so discovers his place in the world. Odysseus is truly a heroic figure because he demonstrates courage, improves his

The Great Hero Odysseus

1294 words - 5 pages Fictional heroes in literature are characters that embark on grueling, mind-altering journeys even though they receive no personal gain from these missions. Heroes overcome difficult challenges and resist temptations while also learning important life lessons and acquiring an enlightened perspective. The epic poem The Odyssey by Homer chronicles the great hero Odysseus’s return trip to Ithaka. His long and demanding voyage to his homeland

Odysseus as an Epic Hero.

632 words - 3 pages Odysseus As An Epic HeroIn the story of the Odyssey, Odysseus was put through many ordeals through which we see his moral and physical characteristics. After evaluating such characteristics we can see that Odysseus is a great epic hero. We can see that not only is he superior to most mortal men, he also shares many of the same desires, therefore fulfilling all the technical requirements of a "hero". Odysseus has insight about his own fate and

Odysseus Defines an Epic Hero

1385 words - 6 pages know in ordinary life. The epic hero is often of mixed divine and human birth and so possesses human weaknesses. And finally, the divine world often interferes with the human world in the hero's quest. In the Odyssey, by Homer and translated by Robert Fitzgerald, Odysseus embodies everything that is an epic hero, aside from being a mix of the divine and human birth. The story of The Odyssey is not just of Odysseus' journey from Troy to Ithaka

Similar Essays

The Trials Of Odysseus Depicted In Homer's Odyssey

674 words - 3 pages Picture a water-logged, bearded man floundering about in the ocean, yet never failing nor drowning. This is Odysseus, King of Ithaka, trying to survive. In The Odyssey by Homer, characters in the story were impacted by significant events, and emerged either more joyful, or more depressed than before. Telemakhos journeyed on a long voyage to find his father, enduring much pain in the process that eventually lead to reunion with his father. His

Is Odysseus, The Greek Hero In Homer's Odyssey, A True Hero? : Odysseus As A Hero

862 words - 3 pages that normal people may never have and thus who we admire or look up to." As it is defined that a hero affects the society, obviously, a hero reflects values, ideas, and beliefs of a particular time period. This perhaps is the most important meaning of a hero. Homer, one of the greatest Greek writers has portrayed a hero, who satisfies the definition mentioned above in an epic poem Odyssey. In Odyssey, Odysseus, the king of Ithaca and the greatest

Traits Of The Hero Odysseus In The Odyssey By Homer

1151 words - 5 pages is an Epic poem written by Homer, a greek poet who lived in the eighteen hundred to the seventeen hundred BC. The Odyssey is the story of a hero named Odysseus, who is in a struggle to return home to his Kingdom Ithaca and his family (his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus). While on his way home, he feels it is necessary to see his future by Tiresias, a fortune telling prophet of Thebes. Sadly through the prophet’s telling, Odysseus is warned

How Did Odysseus Display The Characteristics Of A Hero In The The Odyssey?

771 words - 3 pages hero always stays alive because that person has to complete a task or duty in the end. There are many differences and similarities between heroes of the past and present. Heroes exist everywhere, in the past, present, and future.Heroes existed in the past, and one of the best heroes of all time was Odysseus from Homer's The Odyssey. "A man, one who was never at a loss," from Homer's The Odyssey. Odysseus was a man who was witty and sly and always