The Heroic Journey of Odysseus

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In almost all of the stories that have been written, there is a journey that the character undertakes to become whole and balanced, also known as the heroic journey. In the first stage of the journey, the departure, the hero leaves their known world and begins their adventure. After the hero undergoes the departure, they then move on to the next stage, the initiation, where they are put through tests and venture into the world of hero or magic or the previously unknown. The third and final stage is that of the return, where the hero must return back to his home. A perfect example of someone that underwent the heroic journey is Odysseus from the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer because he had undergone a journey that included a departure, initiation, and return. Indications of Odysseus’ departure are his call to adventure and his crossing of the first threshold. Odysseus’ call to adventure is his desire to go back to his family in Ithaca after being sent to Troy to fight in the Trojan War (Hamilton 260). During the call to adventure, something is usually taken away from the hero’s family, society, or culture. Although Odysseus tries to trick his way out of going to Troy, his plan did not work and he is forced to go with the fleet, leaving his family in Ithaca. Odysseus crossed the first threshold when he devised a witty plan to get him and his men out of the Cyclops, Polyphemus’ cave (Hamilton 108). During the crossing of the first threshold, the hero has left their known world and moved into a place that is totally unknown to them and sometimes they have to trick their way through this rough spot. Odysseus told each man to choose out three thick-fleeced rams and bind them together with strong strips of bark and hind underneath them and wait until Polyphemus sends them out to pasture. Odysseus’ call to adventure and his crossing of the first threshold are evidence that he had gone through a departure.

As Odysseus went through his second stage, the...
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