Epic Hero Analysis

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 The values and beliefs of Odysseus, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh make them very different and yet they share several similarities. People's beliefs are usually formed early in life, they dictate the feats of the person later on. Personages who have different beliefs can often still share much of the same qualities. In the books Beowulf, the translation by Seamus Heaney, The Odyssey, by Homer, and The Epic of Gilgamesh, the translated oral epic, the protagonists Beowulf, Odysseus, and Gilgamesh have polarized values, however they share certain attributes. Beowulf and Gilgamesh selfishly win glory for themselves, but Odysseus tries to return to his family. Odysseus and Gilgamesh believe in more than one god, Beowulf believes in one, yet all three of them are heroes who lead their people.

                The first paragraph of the discussion of heroes belongs to Odysseus. Odysseus leads his home of Ithaca in peace and harmony. He fathers a son named Telemachus and lives, at least for a while, in paradise. However, shortly after the birth of Telemachus he is called to war in Troy. He must leave his son and his beloved wife Penelope and sail off to fight a war in a foreign land. During the next nine years Odysseus would fight for his people and in the end he would win. However, for the next ten years he would struggle to get home for his family. "I might have made it safely home, that time but as I came round Malea the current took me out to sea" (ll. 29-31 book 9). He becomes cursed by the god Poseidon because he foolishly decided to boast to Poseidon's son Polyphemus. Polyphemus has Odysseus and his men trapped and Odysseus outsmarts him by fooling him into thinking his name was Nohbdy "My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends all call me Nohbdy" (ll. 274-275 book9). Odysseus then stabs the Cyclops in the eye thus fooling the posterity of gods into yelling "Nohbdy has hurt me." Polyphemus then prays to his father to make sure that Odysseus never reaches his home...
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