Odysseus: The Antihero
Often through great literature, there is an epic hero. In the Odyssey, Homer tells the journey of one man’s journey home from the Trojan War. The protagonist of the epic poem Odysseus is often regarded as a great hero. However, Odysseus is not quite the glorious soldier that people often see him as. Odysseus disproves his title of a hero through his pride, his disloyalty, and his bloodthirstiness.
Odysseus’s hubris leads him into many troubles and contrasts with all of the heroic deeds he is known for. As he returns home, he lands on the island of the Kyklopes. He insists that they meet with the unknown host, with the prospect of receiving gifts. His desire for more loot to bring back to Ithaka leads him and his men into trouble. They are trapped in the cave of the Kyklops, but Odysseus uses his wit to escape. Unfortunately, he spoils the victorious moment when he taunts at Polyphemos: “Kyklops,/ if ever mortal man inquire/ how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him/ Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye:/ Laertes son, whose home’s on Ithaka!" (IX, 548-552). Not only does Odysseus provoke the Kyklops, he also gave away his identity, and Poseidon now holds an enormous grudge against him. Another case of his pride blinding Odysseus is when he could not control his men: “Temptation had its way with my companions,/ and they untied the bag.” (Book X, 52-53). Odysseus cannot control his men, and this causes the whole ship to be blown back to Aiolia. Another way in which Odysseus is not a legend is because he loses the entire Ithacan fleet throughout the whole journey, like in Ismaros and Lamos. His hubris blinds his sense of judgment, and as a result of his carelessness, he kills two generations of Ithacans. His ego and selfishness causes great losses, thus he is not a great legend.
Odysseus is also unheroic because he shows disloyalty during his journey home by indulging himself in treacherous acts. Odysseus commits adultery twice. When he...