Odysseus' Position as a Role Model

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Kristan Buckner
March 23, 2014
ENGL 2310
C. Wyatt
Midterm Essay
By now we realize that "heroes" in epic poems are meant to be role models for the population. Discuss the ways that Odysseus was a role model for men in the ancient world? Who could be seen as a role model for women in The Odyssey?

Society creates heroes in order to have someone that has all the traits that is respected by the society. Also, when things don't go as planned, the society has someone to count on to help them. Heroes fought battles for their societies. For example, Odyssey went out to fight the Trojan War for twenty years. Greek heroes usually have strength and protect themselves, their family, and kingdom which is the Greek ideal. They believed and respected prowess in war, xenia, bravery, strength, and loyalty. The society expected the hero to respect these values and exemplify them. Odyssey fills the role of being a role model very well. Not only does he lead the population on Aeaea and the island of the Laistrygonians but he also takes many risks in order to keep his people safe. For example, he attempts to enter Kirke's hall after hearing from Eurylokhas that his crew had vanished. (551) Kirke's hall is very dangerous and life-threatening, this shows the heroic characteristics that Odysseus has since he is willing to risk his life in order to save his crew. Hermes tried to warn him about the danger, "....if you go to set them free you go to stay, and never more make sail for your old home upon Thaki." (552) In order to persuade Odysseus from going to Kirke's hall, Hermes gives a solution. She shares with him the secret to overcome Kirke's potion which is the molu flower. "But I can tell you what to do to come unchanged from Kirke's power and disenthrall your fighting crew: take with you to her bower as amulet, this plant I know- it will defeat her horrid show, so pure and potent is the flower; no mortal herb was ever so." (552) However, to earn Kirke's trust he has to sleep with her. Once he entered Kirke's hall with the molu flower, Kirke states, "We two shall mingle and make love upon our bed. So mutual trust may come of play and love." (553) Being unfaithful to your spouse is something most people are unable to do. This proves that Odysseus is beyond a typical person and...

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