Odysseus, a Hero's Journey

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The Hero’s Journey:
The Odyssey by Homer is the story of Odysseus, a very brave, strong and smart Greek mythic hero who embarks on an epic journey.  His journey fulfills all the requisites of a Hero’s Journey.  Odysseus’ Journey takes him through various mental stages which will be outlined in bold.  

Odysseus’ ordinary world is that of the island of Ithaca where he lives with his beloved wife.  When he was looking for a bride, Odysseus visited Sparta where he met Menelaus who was to wed Helen, Zeus, the mighty king of gods’ daughter.  During this visit, he swore loyalty to Menelaus not knowing that he would one day be called to carry out his promise.  

The Call to Adventure or Action indeed comes when Menelaus calls all the Greek princes to go to war against Troy to free his beloved Helen who has fallen in love with Paris.  
Odysseus tries to deny or refuse this call by acting as though he has gone mad (by plowing a field with an ox and a donkey) so that he will not have to go to war.  However, when a soldier goes to throw his son Telemachus to test him, Odysseus jumps to the rescue - an act which is definitely not that of a man who has gone mad.  “It’s no use playing tricks!  Odysseus must do his duty.  He must leave home and fight in the war”p.11.  

Throughout his journey, Odysseus is 'mentored' or given 'supernatural’ guidance and help from goddess Athena.   To name but a few examples, Athena helps cure the wounded King Telephus, who shows the Greeks the quickest way to Troy (p.12).   She gives Odysseus the brilliant idea of making a huge hollow wooden horse.  It is also Athena who persuades Zeus, king of gods, to let Odysseus leave Calypso’s island (p.30). Upon his return to Ithaca, Athena tames Odysseus’ anger against the suitors who are trying to win over his wife Penelope by disguising him into a beggar until he comes up with a plan.  

The Crossing of the First Threshold occurs when Odysseus actually leaves Ithaca to join the Trojan War which...
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