The Heroic Nature of Odysseus

Categories: Odyssey

The Odyssey tries to bring out the heroic nature of an individual in the middle of cultural ties and family obligation. This poem written by Homer brings out the suffering of a hero as he strives to get back home to his family in Ithaka. The Odyssey brings out the qualities of a hero and what makes a man stand out amongst the others in the society. The narrative about Odysseus and other characters bring out the culture and how it influences their behavior (Puchner).

It brings out various themes in a community setting involving the dynamics in interplay making the society complete. The essay tries to understand the circumstances under which individual culture reflect the personal values through the analysis of The Odyssey. This essay shows how the various dynamic in society brings out the characteristics of a hero.

The Reflection of Personal Values in a Cultural Setting

Personal values are depicted in the cultural practices of the Ithaka community.

The society seems to have a culture of welcoming visitors seen where Telemachus welcomes Athena, and she is treated well by the maids, The home is filled with suitors who are offered food and drinks served by the maids and servants. They engage in dances although no ceremony or major event is leading to the celebration. The values of greed are evident on the suitors where they want to enjoy the benefits of the hard-earned wealth. They show disrespect to the community hero Odysseus who lead a team to way at Troy’s, and they attained victory.

Top Writers
Dr. Karlyna PhD
Verified expert
4.7 (235)
Chris Al
Verified expert
4.9 (478)
Bella Hamilton
Verified expert
5 (234)
hire verified writer

They should have shown some respect to the family by at least honoring the son, but instead, they shamed him (Murnaghan). The community also show poor religious values, especially where the Circe’s magic entices the soldiers. Only Odysseus survived his traps as he was warned by Hermes, a god that passed messages from other gods. Odysseus was committed to offering sacrifices to gods, and they would finally come to his rescue in times of need.

The Qualities of a Hero

Odysseus heroic nature is echoed initially in the poem when he is depicted as the only individual willing to get home especially with the other survivors (Murnaghan). Odysseus is brought out as the hero who is lost in the wilderness on his way back home. The poem brings out the heroism in Odysseus who leads his time to fight at Troy after which they win and embark on their way home. He can survive by his heroic knowledge and wisdom while the other soldiers fail to recklessness. The journey back home is depicted to be full of challenges which he yearns to overcome day in day out despite having failed severely . The blame for the failure of the hero is blamed on Poseidon, a god who is filled with anger and no forgiveness, towards Odysseus. Poseidon keeps Odysseus from returning home to his family as revenge and punishment for his son.

Consequently, the heroic acts get rewarded even by the gods who come to help Odysseus get home after a long struggle on the way. The gods consider that the hero has always offered the best sacrifice and often made the best decision considered to others. Odysseus heroic nature is echoed by Athena who narrates of how other mortals failed and blamed it on gods. The case of an Aegisthus is brought up on how he murdered Agamemnon to marry his wife only to later die on the hands of Orestes. The case shows how individuals in the community often made the wrong choices even after warnings. The example shows that the community has a high level of ignorance and few pay respect to the gods. The heroic nature of Odysseus is reinstated in that he offered the best sacrifice and often made the right choices  . Athena went ahead and gave information to Odysseus, son on the steps he would take in preparation for the arrival of his father. The act of Athena’s visit shows appreciation for the efforts made by Odysseus.

In addition to the qualities of a hero, the heroic individuals are brought out to be those that can attract and earn trust commanding a huge follow-up. Odysseus for an instant is considered to have to lead a team to war at Troy’s, and they won the fight (Croley 56). The community left behind was waiting for him and the team to come back and celebrate the victory. The community might have given up on Odysseus, but the family believed in him and kept their faithfulness. His wife remained loyal and was not remarried despite the many suitors that stayed forever at their door. His son was also faithful and believed that the return of Odysseus, his father would reinstate his greatness.

Additionally, the case of Odysseus bring out the qualities of a hero as a person who is focused. For instance, Odysseus is focused on achieving victory at Troy’s after which he and his team would proceed home to celebrate (Croley 56). Despite the challenges faced, the poem shows how Odysseus fought to get back to his family. The challenges faced include the temptation to stay with other women, but he knew that there was a family already established at home. Odysseus would, therefore, remain focused on getting home to his family. The community had failed him in that they did not want to rightfully look for a wife but instead acted as suitors to Penelope. They were betraying him with the knowledge that he was the army leader, and he was still alive, preventing the possibility of remarriage for the wife. The community seems to have individuals overridden by greed for other property to the point of committing murder (Luke). The heroic qualities beat the society majority’s behavior, where Odysseus is only determined to have his rightfully owned family back.

Another characteristic of heroic individuals is that of having property, which they have rightfully earned. The quality is brought out where Athena is having a conversation with Telemachus, Odysseus’s son (Croley 56). Telemachus tells Athena of the how the suitors were ravishing with Odysseus hard-earned wealth. He explains of how the suitors would escape on Odysseus return, out of shame and guilt. Odysseus later returns and wages war against the suitors and winning overall to the point where Athena intervenes. The Victory and the property held by Odysseus is hard earns and the spending despite the cultural requirements to treat visitors well is unethical. The suitor was only taking advantage of Odysseus absence. The culture plays a huge role in bringing out the qualities of a hero. The hero, however, does not seem to reflect the poor values portrayed by the community values such as greed. Odysseus instead takes the positive cultural value, respecting the institution of marriage and family as well as maintaining religious practices of offering the proper sacrifices to the gods.

Cleverness is brought out as another characteristic of a hero. In all the areas where Odysseus is faced with challenges, he tries to use some brilliance which outdoes the opponents. One of the instances is where he ticks the Polyphemus, who happens to be a son to Poseidon, to drink wine and later to destroy his one eye (Luke). Polyphemus was a giant which had held Odysseus and his team hostage and had to trick him to get free. Another case of cunningness is evident where he hides his identity, especially after his return home to identify those that had betrayed him and acted as suitors. He challenges the suitor to war, slaughtering them all and he can regain his family. The act of cleverness makes Odysseus and the family stand out. Penelope also has some element of cunningness whereby he tricks the suitors that she is sewing, and ones done she would select a suitor (Colleen 27). She appears to be sewing during the day, but during the night she reverses the process, without the recognition of the suitors until a point where a maid betrays her.


The cultural context influences how individuals behave. There is a need for individuals in the present date to present themselves in a way that depicts wisdom, courage and focus even in situations where others do contrary to the requirements. The good deeds will always stand out and be rewarded in the long run, both directly and indirectly. There is a need to rely on a supernatural being who watches over us and our properties. The above appears to be the positive lessons from Odysseus’s experience which makes him stand out among others.

Cite this page

The Heroic Nature of Odysseus. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7