The Duality of Odysseus an Fearless Protagonist

Categories: Odysseus

Some may say that humans are humane because of their logic and superior intelligence. Others have the philosophy that humans are humans because of their emotions. And some people think that humans are the way they are because of a balance of the two. In The Odyssey composed by Homer portrays the main character Odysseus as a perfect mix of emotion and intelligence. And although he is very intelligent and wise Odysseus gets him and his men into compromising situations because of his emotions and rashness on a number of occasions.

Book Nine of The Odyssey shows off and develops two sides of Odysseus’ character. One side is intelligence and wisdom the other side is tempermental and rashness. The former is shown when the fearless protagonist, Odysseus, is faced with an issue. The lotus-eaters lure in the men that he sends to scout out Cythera, then they give them lotus to eat. This lotus is so piquant that it makes Odysseus’ men forget about returning home.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer
Doctor Jennifer
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Personal philosophy

star star star star 5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Odysseus uses his intelligence to address, fix, and remove his men from the situation, “I forced [the men who ate the lotus] back to the ship and made them fast under the benches.

Then I told the rest to go board [the ship] at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus,” (Butler 95). In this situation, Odysseus is calm, clear-headed and in control of himself. Odysseus thinks through his actions and instead of making any decisions that would only benefit him Odysseus is very conscious of his men and how his actions could affect their (and his own) survival.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Later on in Book Nine Odysseus shows his more temperamental and rash side. While Odysseus and his men run away from Cyclops the usually calm and collected leader lets his pride and temper control him.

These emotions cause Odysseus to yell at Cyclops and mock him, “But [Odysseus] would not listen to [my men] and shouted out to [Cyclops] in my rage…”(Butler,103). Odysseus let his emotions get the better of him, he is in a blind rage (when yelling at Cyclops) which is the cause for his lack of self control and wisdom. He isn’t aware of or focusing on the ramifications of his actions on his men and when his men bring this up they are promptly and effortlessly ignored. This is not how Odysseus usually acts, in fact Odysseus is known for his wisdom and rational mind but, when the warrior does get angry it completely and swiftly overtakes all rational thought and is stronger than anything else Odysseus is thinking about in the moment.

The two sides of Odysseus, rashness and intelligence, are also shown in Book 10 of The Odyssey. Odysseus‘ intelligence is shown when he and his men temporarily reside on the island of Circe. The men that Odysseus sends to scout out the island have been bewitched and turned into pigs by the goddess Circe. Odysseus has managed to charm Circe and cleverly uses her desire to take care of him as a bargaining tool to get his men back to their human forms, ̈ Circe,.. If you want me to eat and drink, you must free my men and bring them to me that I may see them with my own eyes ̈ (Butler 112). Odysseus’ quick thinking does lead to the “release” of his men.

Odysseus’ uses his wit as a way to benefit and help his men. The warrior is able to save his men because of his ability to identify an opportunity to save them and be proactive about using it. This situation really shows how considerate Odysseus is of his men’s predicament and how the warrior doesn’t use his mind just for his own benefit but for the safety of his men also. Book 10 also offers a show of Odysseus’ temperamental side. After Odysseus’ men have been emancipated from their pig prisons they return to the other group of men still waiting at the ship. Eurylochus, a leader over the men who have been turned into pigs previously, challenges and attempts to undermine Odysseus’ authority when Odysseus comes to collect the waiting men.

Eurylochus is brave enough to point out a previous incident in which Odysseus’ decisions have caused the death of some of Eurylochus’ fellow men. Odysseus makes a decision on how to deal with Eurylochus’ disrespect, “When I heard [Eurylochus] I was in two minds whether or [not to]...cut his head off… but the men interceded for him” (Butler 113). Odysseus allows his emotions to interfere with his rational thought. His anger almost causes him to behead one of his men and relative (this was revealed a little while after).

As proven earlier in Book 10 Odysseus is willing to do just about anything for his men yet he is so ready and willing to kill one of them because of his pride. His emotions cause him to make a rash split second decision that could have affected him and his men for the rest of their lives. The only thing stopping Odysseus in the moment is his other men who work quickly to appease him and stop him from making a rash decision. In Book 10 Odysseus’ wisdom is stronger because even though he made a rash decision he is still willing to listen to reason and drop the issue.

Updated: Feb 22, 2024
Cite this page

The Duality of Odysseus an Fearless Protagonist. (2024, Feb 15). Retrieved from

Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment