Odysseus, an Epic Hero

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Odysseus is a character that embodies both strengths and weaknesses, which makes him an epic hero. The Odyssey, by Homer is the epic story of Odysseus’ adventures from The Trojan War to Ithaca. For ten years he endures human weakness, battling with the gods and a number of obstacles in order to reclaim his kingdom. It is Odysseus’ epic heroic traits that enable him to be successful. The three traits that Odysseus displays to make him an epic hero are leadership, balance of reason over emotion, and hubris.

Odysseus has the quality of leadership as one of his strengths. In “The Sirens”, Odysseus and his men encounter the Sirens, which are creatures that lure sailors to their death with their beautiful voices. Odysseus is prepared for this situation, as he devises a plan to resist his temptation and make sure his men are safe. Odysseus’ speech to his men is a prime example of his leadership; “Dear friends, more than one man, or two, should know those things. Circe foresaw for us and shared with me, so let me tell her forecast: then we die with our eyes open, if we are going to die or know what death we battle if we can.” This quotation exemplifies his leadership because he takes charge of the situation to ensure his success with this challenge. Also, referring to his men as “friends” is making them feel safer in what is to come. His speech shows how well he prepares for difficult situations and acts as a true leader. An additional strength Odysseus demonstrates is his balance of reason over emotion. When Odysseus returns home, he realizes that revealing his true identity will create complete chaos since everyone thinks he is dead. Instead, with the help of the Goddesses Athena, he disguises as a beggar and waits for the right time to reveal his identity. In “The Suitors”, the haughty suitor Antinous confronts Odysseus as the beggar in a rude manner. Antinous makes very vulgar remarks towards the beggar, saying “God! What evil wind blew in this pest?” With...
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