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Odysseus Characterization Paper Essay

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In The Odyssey, the protagonist is a leader named Odysseus who goes on a journey with his crew to get back home to Ithaka from Troy, after the trojan war. In the epic poem, The Odyssey, the poet Homer, suggests that Odysseus is a superior leader which is revealed by Odysseus’s, bravery, intelligence, and perseverance. Odysseus’s bravery sets himself apart from other leaders. Odysseus has to display an example to his crew by inspiring them with his fearlessness.

Odysseus illustrates his grit when he forces his crew to carry on with going to the underworld: “’We must go/ to the cold homes of death and pale Persephone/ to hear Teiresias tell of time to come’/ They felt so stricken, upon hearing this, / they sat down wailing loud, and tore their hair/But nothing came of giving way to grief/ Down to the shore the ship at last we went. ‘” Homer 10. 623-625 . Odysseus showcases his hardiness when his crew does not want to go to the Underworld, but Odysseus presses on, while knowing that lost and terrifying souls await him.

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Odysseus’s fortitude spreads throughout his crew, if he is scared, his followers also feel fear. Without courage the team can not get home to Ithaka. In order to achieve his goal, the Odysseus needs to speak with Teiresias. Also Odysseus displays his fearlessness when he is trapped in the Kyklops’s cave: “’Now, by the gods, I drove my big hand spike/ deep in the embers, charring it again,/ and cheered my men along with battle talk/ to keep their courage up: no quitting now/”(Homer 9. 06-409) . Odysseus exhibited superb pluck when executing his plan of blinding the Kyklops Had Odysseus not led his people by bravely heading the attack, his words would have meant nothing to the crew. For a leader to be “brave” he does not only have to be able do the impossible by himself, but he must also influence the people around him to continue on by his side. To be an epic leader intelligence is necessary. One can be brave, but without wit his courage may result in a poor decision.

Odysseus uses his intellect to strategically send only three members of his crew to explore the land of the lotus’s: “’then I sent two picked men and a runner to learn what race of men that land sustained’” (Homer 9. 96-97). Odysseus knows that is the inhabitants are hostile he can lose his entire team, but this way he potentially risks only a fraction of his men. Decisions made by a leader without acuity are futile and may prove harmful to his constituents.

Furthermore, Odysseus exemplifies his intelligence when instead of mindlessly slaughtering the suitors, he creates a plan to overcome the fact that he is outnumbered: “’Put aside two broadswords and two spears/ for our own to use, two oxhide shields nearby/ when we go into action. Pallas Athena, and Zeus All Provident will see you through, bemusing our young friends” (Homer 16. 352-358). Odysseus comes up with the plan to prepare weaponry for himself to ensure he had enough to destroy the suitors, while at the same time making sure the suitors do not acquire arms themselves.

Although Odysseus wants to annihilate the suitors he keeps his motives in sight and manages to formulate the plan. The analytical ability to act in a difficult situation is essential for a good leader because the environment is ever changing and sometimes rapid decisions must be made. In the end Odysseus’s scheme succeeds to provide arms for him and his accomplices, but the suitors are still able to gain weapons.

Without perspicacity strength and bravery are nothing. What sets Odysseus apart from other Greek heroes is that he prefers to fight with his brain rather than with his brawn. Odysseus’s reason also helps him make up for the fact that unlike the other Greek heroes, he does not have immortality. Lastly, Odysseus’s perseverance made it possible for him to finally make it home to Ithaka, his persistence effects his crew which looks up to him for guidance.

When Odysseus arrives home he describes what he had to endure to his wife Penelope: “’My lady, / what ordeals have we not endured! Here, waiting/ you had your grief, while my return dragged out-/ my hard adventures, pitting myself against/ the god’s will… But now our life resumes: we’ve come together to our longed-for-bed”’ (Homer 23. 394-400). Both Odysseus and his wife have to cope with many challenges throughout Odysseus’s 20 year absence. Even after his crew perished and he is left shipless, Odysseus does not give up.

Likewise, when Odysseus has to sacrifice his men in a fight against Skylla, he grieves for his loss but he understands that he must push on : “Now I let go with hands and feet, plunging/ straight into the foam beside the timbers, /pulled astride, /and rowed hard with my hands/ to pass by Skylla”’ (Homer 9. 564-568). Odysseus is forced overboard into the raging ocean, but he continues to hope. After losing his crew and his ship Odysseus never sets the sight of his goal to reach home. If Odysseus gives up when the gods throw everything they have at him, his quest is impossible.

Instead of cowering from his fears, Odysseus attacks them head on, thus proving he will not surrender to challenges until his final destination is reached. Due to his bravery, his intelligence, and his perseverance, Odysseus is depicted as a phenomenal leader in the epic poem The Odyssey. Odysseus’s courage in the Kyklops’s cave makes it possible for him and his crew to escape the beast. Without Odysseus’s acumen it would be impossible for him to surpass the many suitors that ravaged his home. Most importantly, Odysseus carries on when all odds are against him.

Without his dedication Odysseus would not be able to bypass the formidable monsters that block his path back home. Many modern leaders can take Odysseus’s example; for instance, modern day politicians need to endure when tackling challenges that at times may seem unbeatable. The only way to try to make the world a better place is to solve monumental problems that affect out everyday lives, such as unemployment and conservation of our environment. We, the human race as a whole, are Odysseus and we need to challenge the Polyphemus, which the modern problems of our world.

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