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The Traits Of Odysseus Essay

1103 words - 4 pages

In Homer’s The Odyssey, there are a lot of traits displayed that are considered important in ancient Greek culture. These are shown by many different characters, but mostly by Odysseus (he is, after all, the main character in the epic poem). Odysseus is the epitome of a Greek ruler: he has a lot of admirable traits. His only fault is his hubris, but that is overcome and taken care of. Throughout Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus displays wisdom combined with strong loyalty and inspiring leadership through the evident trust of his men and the ability to conquer any challenges that he may face along his journey back to Ithaka.
Odysseus is very wise; he is able to get out of any situation he finds himself in and can also deceive anyone he finds the need to. Odysseus has the sort of cunning that one may expect to find in an action hero. However, Odysseus is able to do almost anything he wants with these skills of his. He is able to make up stories on the spot, such as when he told Athena that he was in fact not Odysseus but instead a weary traveler from Krete. Said he, “Far away in Krete I learned of Ithaka- in that broad island over the great ocean” (XIII, 327-328), and Athena knew it was Odysseus only because she was a goddess. Odysseus is very resourceful: he uses the things that are available to him. One instance of this trait is when he devises a plan to escape Polyphemos’s cave alive. Using the sheep as escape mechanisms is very clever. If he was not with his men in the cave, there would have been no way for them to get out. Also calling himself Nohbdy to trick Polyphemos into saying that no one hurt him is an ingenious idea. No one else would be able to execute his plan the way he did- with swiftness and bravery. One of Odysseus’s master plans is when he devises a way to easily slaughter the suitors. He is wise to come in as a beggar; he is wise to hide the suitors’ weapons; he is wise to keep anyone from knowing he is home. All of these contribute greatly to the plan and it is executed much more smoothly because of these. Consequently, Odysseus has the wisdom of a thousand men and the cunning of a fox.
Odysseus’s loyalty to the gods earns him their respect throughout his journey back to Ithaka. The gods usually listen to his prayers and help him out because of his loyalty towards them. Many a time he makes a sacrifice or prays to them. For example, Odysseus asks for Poseidon’s mercy when he is torturing him at sea. After years and years of battling to get home, he wants mercy from Poseidon. He gains humility from this and realizes that he is not all powerful, whereas the gods are. Odysseus now knows that he does not control his fate; the gods do. Before fighting the suitors, Odysseus assures Telemakhos that the gods are on their side. “Suppose Athena’s arm is over us, and Zeus / her father’s”...

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