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What is a hero? Essay

To most people, a hero is a strong, brave person with an amazing costume. Heroes usually have super powers and are constantly saving people. But it takes many more traits than this to be classified as a hero. Some characteristics of a hero are super natural help, leaving on a journey in which the hero proves himself, a fatal flaw, and they are sometimes honored after death. In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus shows many traits of a hero. Odysseus faces many obstacles and life threatening situations but he overcomes them all. Odysseus is a hero because he has super natural help, a fatal flaw and he overcomes obstacles throughout his journey by proving himself in order to reach his goal, which is getting home to Ithaca and to take control over his kingdom.

Odysseus is a hero due to the fact he receives super natural help from the gods. Athena the goddess of war stood by Odysseus throughout his whole journey home from Troy. For example, when Odysseus finally arrived in Ithaca and was informed about the suitors invading his home, Athena agreed to support him through his plan of destroying them. “Grey eyes ablaze, the goddess urged him on ‘surely I’ll stand beside you, not when the day arrives for us to do our work.”(book 13). This proves that Odysseus is a hero because he has the help of Athena, the goddess of war. This makes Odysseus a hero because one of the traits of a hero is receiving super natural help. Athena was always by Odysseus’ side , and with her help he was able to reach Ithaca.

For instance, Athena lead Odysseus to Telemachus so they would be able to come up with a plan to get rid of the suitors. “… Athena’s inspiration spurred me here, now, so we could plan the slaughter of our foes. Come, give me the full tally of these suitors- I must know their numbers, gauge their strength-” (book 16) Athena helps Odysseus meet his son for the first time after twenty years so they could come up with a solution to the invasion of the suitors. Help from Athena helps Odysseus throughout his journey because she made it possible for him to reach his goal by convincing both Telemachus and Zeus into helping Odysseus. Athena convinced Telemachus to search for Odysseus and that his father was still alive when he lost faith in ever meeting him. She also convinced Zeus the king of all gods into helping him and supporting him on his journey home. Odysseus is a hero because as proven, he receives super natural help multiple times from many gods and goddesses.

Another characteristic of a hero is a fatal flaw. A fatal flaw is a flaw which has a negative impact on the hero and their journey. Odysseus’ flaw is his love towards women. On more than one occasion he was unfaithful to his wife Penelope by sleeping with other women. For example while Odysseus was in Circe’s island, he promised to sleep with her if she reversed the spell she had cast upon his men.”Mount your bed? Not for all the world. Not until you consent to swear, goddess a binding oath you’ll never plot some new intrigue to harm me” (book 10). This shows that Odysseus is a hero because he has a fatal flaw which is one of the characteristics. Odysseus’ fatal flaw is being with women and being unfaithful to his wife.

This harms Odysseus’ journey because it prevents him from moving on and achieving his goal on going home to Ithaca. Odysseus’ flaw shows more than once throughout his journey. For example, while he was in Calypso’s island and after Hermes tells Calypso Zeus’ orders Odysseus and Calypso made love. “Even as he spoke the sun set and the darkness swept the earth. And now, withdrawing into the cavern’s deep recesses, long in each other’s arms they lost themselves in love.” (Book 5) This shows that Odysseus is a hero because he portrays a fatal flaw every so often. This makes him a hero because every hero has a fatal flaw which holds them back on their journey.

Odysseus faces many obstacles throughout his journey and with his intelligence and bravery he overtakes them all in order to reach his goal. Odysseus comes up with solutions to many situations in order to survive and achieve his goal. For instance, during the Trojan war Odysseus came up with the idea of the Trojan horse and this led the Greeks to victory. “Finally, they decided to resort to a trick thought of by Odysseus…” This demonstrates how Odysseus proves himself by being able to come up with solutions to his obstacles in order to succeed in life-threatening situations. Odysseus had to prove himself and his intelligence in many occasions of his journey.

For example, when his men and himself were trapped in the Cyclops’ cave, Odysseus came up with a plan to get out of there safely. “Friends, we’re hardly strangers at meeting danger and this danger is no worse than what we faced when cyclops penned us up in his vaulted cave with crushing force! But even from there my courage, my presence of mind and tactics saved us all” (book 12) This proves that Odysseus is a hero because he overcomes obstacles in his journey to survive and succeed in his journey. As proven, Odysseus is a hero because he overcomes his obstacles in order to achieve his goal which is returning home to Ithaca and taking control over his kingdom.

Odysseus fought amazingly on behalf of the Greeks in Troy and was considered a war hero of sorts because of it. After realizing that it was because of him and his deviousness that the Greeks won the Trojan War, Odysseus preaches to himself how strong and how powerful he was, greatly angering Poseidon. But he became to full of himself and did not give the Gods credit for helping him. That caused Poseidon to curse Odysseus and his men, making his journey home a long and difficult one. He bravely encounters Poseidon’s punishment and in the end learned that man is nothing without the Gods. Taking that into consideration that makes Odysseus a hero, that he endured so much and learned a valuable lesson in the end.

Odysseus super natural help, ability to overcome difficult and life threatening situations and fatal flaw make him a hero. Throughout his whole journey home Odysseus shows many hero traits. He received super natural help from Athena the goddess of war in order to accomplish his goal of reaching Ithaca and taking control over his kingdom. He also shows to have a fatal flaw which is his love for women which he proved when he slept with Circe and Calypso while being married to Penelope. Through all the obstacles Odysseus faced on his journey he proved himself by coming up with solutions to reach his goal and reunites with his family and kingdom.


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