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Odysseus The Epic By Homer Essay

1253 words - 5 pages

Ever since the beginning of time men and women have told countless stories of adventure, discovery, and conquest. These stories often divulge the grand adventures of epic heroes. An epic hero is someone with abundant importance whose actions involve perilous journeys and marvelous warrior skills in war or battle (Abram). In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, the king of the great island of Ithaca, is called to fight alongside the Greeks in the Trojan War. The Greeks defeated the Trojans with the help of clever Odysseus’ Trojan horse. Odysseus qualifies as an epic hero because, like all epic heroes, Odysseus undertakes a long, dangerous journey, demonstrates his extraordinary speaking skills by speaking to countless friends and enemies with confidence, and by encountering divine or supernatural forces and foes.
All epic heroes take on a very long and dangerous journey, including a trip to the Underworld (Allingham). Odysseus also undertakes an extensive and treacherous journey from Troy back to his home on the island of Ithaca. After defeating the Trojans and plundering Troy during the Trojan War, Odysseus and his men begin their journey back to Ithaca. While telling his story, Odysseus explains to Alcinous about his “years / of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus” (Homer 38-39). Although the journey is fated by Zeus, Odysseus is able to make it home after ten years. Throughout this long journey, Odysseus faces dangerous challenges. During his travels, Odysseus is given a bag of storm winds captured by Aeolus, King of Winds. While Odysseus is not paying attention, his men open the bag of winds, releasing them, hurling their ship completely off course. As a result of this, the journey back to Ithaca is much lengthier and certainly more dangerous than if the skies are clear and there are no storms. In addition to that delay, Poseidon puts a curse on Odysseus when Odysseus taunts and teases Polyphemus the Cyclops. This curse makes the journey home much more extended due to the gods involving themselves. Odysseus has to travel to Hades during his journey home to receive his prophecy, which is an extremely dangerous place to have to travel to. While in Hades, Odysseus suffers pity and sadness while seeing the spirit of his mother, who he did not know had died during his journey home from the war. Heroes, although being mostly heavenly, are certainly human at heart (Stillman). Odysseus demonstrates human emotions while seeing his mother’s spirit in the underworld. This trip to the underworld is a characteristic of all epic heroes, but also adds to the danger and threat to his journey home. Odysseus’ trip to the underworld as well as his long and dangerous journey back to Ithaca helps prove that he is an epic hero.
All epic heroes demonstrate sophisticated and confident speaking skills (Allingham). Odysseus also demonstrates these skills while speaking to gods, goddesses, and even having to persuade a Cyclops to not consume him. Throughout his journey...

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