Odysseus: What His Decisions Say Essay

765 words - 3 pages

Odysseus, the ever-famous Greek hero of legend and protagonist of The Odyssey, is a complex and intriguing character. Obstacles and temptations face Odysseus throughout the story, but especially so in the very eventful Books IX through XII. He is most well known for his great strength, valor, and leadership, but I don't find any of these attributes to be his more memorable or noteworthy. Through his decisions in Books IX through XII, Odysseus displays his two most important traits: his great cunning and his excessive pride.First off, Odysseus is an extremely clever, cunning man. The first example of this is his defeating the terrifying Cyclops, Polyphemus. He makes several shrewd maneuvers in this triumph. First of all, he elects to not fight Polyphemus immediately, as he realizes that he is the only one strong enough to open the rock door of the cave. Later, Odysseus tells a drunken Polyphemus that his name is "Nobody." The genius of this is shown when Polyphemus yells that "Nobody" is killing him, confusing his neighbors so that they don't come to his assistance. Finally, he is the one to devise a plan of escape after blinding the Cyclops; he and his companions ride out on the bellies of the Cyclops' sheep.In Book XII, Odysseus provides yet another great example of his cunning. With a little advice from Circe, he devises a plan from to pass the island of the seductive Sirens. He has his men plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mass of the ship. He is therefore the only one who hears the songs, and they are so tempting he begs to be released, but he had warned his men of that, and so they refuse. Going to the island of the Sirens is a famous example of a temptation, and like many times throughout the story, Odysseus outsmarts his adversity in order to avoid this.However, Odysseus is often held back by his worst flaw- his Achilles' heel- his hubris. At first, I didn't think this was too serious of a weakness, but Books IX through XII offer a plethora of examples of Odysseus' hubristic ways. Firstly, Odysseus is greedy and prideful after sacking Ismarus, and this leads to dozens of his men dying at the hands of the reinforced...

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