An Analysis of Odysseus as a Hero in Homer's The Odyssey

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A hero is defined as a man or a woman who have distinguished characteristics such as courage, they are admired and respected by others because of his or her brave deeds. They also have noble and loyal qualities, In the great tale “The Odyssey” by Homer, the protagonist of the story Odysseus, is considered by many to be a hero. “The Odyssey” has been a significant story in literature, and its main particular reason is because of Odysseus. Though many individuals might argue otherwise, Odysseus is a great hero that has renowned for his shrewdness, cunning, and bravery.

Odysseus goes through many challenges on his journey to go back home, and because of them he becomes a hero. The gods and goddesses favor Odysseus, the humans admire him and also gain respect for him.

In “The Odyssey”, Odysseus, is portrayed as a complicated and stubborn man, He is also very smart man who uses logic to solve a problem even if he has to lie, cheat, steal or even kill to get what he wants.

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That is not your usual typical hero in anyone’s mind. However, Odysseus does have the characteristics that a person needs in order to be a hero. He is brave, loyal, noble and has courage. He has to be, because the things he goes through are tough, and that shapes him into a hero. Throughout the tale, Odysseus, proves to the reader how loyal he is, he is loyal to his crew of men, and he is also loyal to his wife, Penelope.

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When he and his men are held captive for several years by Calypso the nymph, he sleeps with her but he never forgets about Penelope. He is completely honest with her, Odysseus tells her: “Look at my wife Penelope. She falls short from your beauty, stature. She is mortal after all and you, you never age or die… nevertheless I long- I pine all my days to travel home and see the dawn of my return.” (Book 5 pg 239) Though he knows, nothing can compare Calypso to Penelope, he is still loyal to his wife, his heart belongs to her completely. Another example of loyalty we see is when his men are turned into pigs by the nymph Circe. She tells Odysseus that she will only turn his men back into humans i he sleeps with them. He responds by telling her “How dare you tell me to treat you with warmth? You who turned my men into swine in your own house, and now you hold me here as well”(Book 9)

Though he does not want to sleep with the nymph, he knows that the only way to save his men is to do so, and because he is loyal to them he does. Odysseus is a hero. Another characteristic of a hero is courage, and Odysseus is a very courageous man. When he and his men arrive to the cave of Polyphemus the cyclops, and they run into him he quickly forms a plan to escape the creature. Though the cyclops is a lot bigger and powerful that Odysseus, that does not stop him. Odysseus and his men make this really powerful wine and get the cyclops drunk, then when he is passed out they stab him in the eye and run to their ship.

Odysseus had no idea if his plan would work but he was smart, and he also had courage. When Polyphemus the cyclops demands Odysseus to give him his identity he tells him “My name is nobody” (Book 9) When the men stabbed the cyclops in his eye and he was screaming in pain he yells out:”Nobody hurt me!” No one went to aid him because they thought he was crazy. The characteristics Odysseus has make him a hero. Odysseus is respected by many, he is even respected by the gods themselves otherwise, they would not have wanted to help and they would have left him to die. Poseidon, god of sea is the only one who hated Odysseus, simply because of what he did to his son Polyphemus the cyclops, Poseidon wanted to kill him. However, Zeus and Athena did not permit Poseidon to do so.

They always gave Odysseus the help and push he needed, especially Athena who was constantly looking out for him. She even transforms herself into a little girl to help him when he goes to the palace of the Phaeacian. That was how much she respected him, she left behind all her comfortness to transform herself into a little girl just so Odysseus would not get killed or perish. Odysseus was a man, a mortal but he had respect from the gods and that made him a hero. To conclude, Homer brought us through the series of “The Odyssey” a great man, a tale of a mere mortal who becomes a hero. He goes through many challenges that help him shape into the person who is admired by many, even today. He gains qualities like bravery, respect, loyalty, etc and that makes him an amazing hero. Though many individuals might argue that he is not a hero, the proof that he is is in the series themselves, It just a matter of the way of looking at it. His braveness helped him throughout his long, magnificent adventure. He suffered so much that at the end he was not scared of anything. Odysseus, a man helped by gods, respected by kings, queens, mortal and immortal individuals, is a unique hero.

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An Analysis of Odysseus as a Hero in Homer's The Odyssey. (2022, Nov 08). Retrieved from

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