The Odyssey: Is Odysseus a Hero?
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To most people, heroes are strong, brave people. They sometimes have supernatural powers. Or they are likely on missions rescuing civilians. It takes a few more traits than these to be an epic hero and a leader. Some of the characteristics of an epic hero include super natural help or leaving on a long journey to prove themselves or some fatal flaw. In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus shows these traits. Odysseus faces many obstacles and life-threatening situations in his story. He is an epic hero because he has a lot of help from the gods, he overcomes obstacles by proving himself in order to get back home, and no hero comes without a fatal flaw.

The first way that Odysseus is an epic hero is because he gets super natural assistance from a few gods, namely Athena. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, helped Odysseus during the whole trip from Troy all the way to Ithaca. In example, when Odysseus finally gets to Ithaca and is told of the suitors trying to take his home. Athena agrees to help him with his plan of killing the suitors. “Grey eyes ablaze, the goddess urged him on, “Surely Ill stand beside you, not when the day arrives for us to do our work.”(Lines 448–450). These few lines prove that Odysseus is an epic hero because he has help from Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Athena was always on Odysseus side , and with her wisdom he was able to get back home. An example of supernatural help is when Athena leads Odysseus to Telemachus so they can come up with their plan to kill of the suitors. ” Athenas 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” (Lines 264–266). Odysseus is an epic hero because he again receives help from Athena, again. She helps Odysseus in his journey in that Athena makes it possible for him to get home by convincing both Zeus and Telemachus to help him out. Athena convinces Telemachus to look for Odysseus and that tells him that his father is alive even when he looses faith in ever seeing him again. She also convinces Zeus, the leader of the gods, into helping, supporting, and rooting for him on his long journey back to Ithaca.

A second way Odysseus is an epic hero is because of his fatal flaw. A fatal flaw is anything that has a negative effect on a hero and their journey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus fatal flaw is that he has a misguided sense of pride and arrogance. An instance when Odysseus shows his pride is when he and his men are escaping from Polyphemus. They drug the monster until he falls asleep, and then they stab him in his eye with a stake. Polyphemus then removes the large boulder that is blocking Odysseus and his mens escape, and waits for the men to move, so that he can kill them. The men escape from the cave to their boat by hanging under rams, so they can just slip by. Odysseus, who is proud after defeating Polyphemus, starts yelling after Polyphemus, instead of making a quick run for it. Odysseus’ men ask him to stop before Polyphemus would “get the range and lob a boulder” (Line 436). But Odysseus shows his pride and arrogance by stating that if they were to meet again, Odysseus would “take your life” (Line 462) and “hurl you down to hell!” (Line 463). Polyphemus, now enraged with Odysseus, prays to his father, Poseidon, to make Odysseus “never see his home” (Line 470) again. Because of Odysseus’ arrogance after blinding Polyphemus, Poseidon grants the prayer.

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Natural Help And Epic Hero. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from