The Odyssey Heroic Traits

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The Odyssey Heroic Traits

By | May 2013
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The Odyssey Essay
Heroism. What is it? How can it be portrayed? Are there bad or good sides to heroism? In “The Odyssey” by Holmer the character Odysseus portrays heroism in many ways. He portrays them in negative and positive ways which lead his trip to get back home to get delayed.

Odysseus, why is he portrayed as a hero? Why is he heroic? The reader would think Odysseus is a hero because in the epic no matter the tragedy he faces from the gods, specifically Poseidon, he overcomes the obstacles. The gods were in favor of Penelope and Odysseus and their son Talamichus however Penelope wasn’t allowed to sleep with another man. Odysseus was able to spend 5 years with Circe and 5 months with calypso in their bed. Women were tools of pleasure in the odyssey and were expected to remain 'faithful no matter what' which started the war that forced Odysseus away from Ithaca the day his son was born. He faced the tragedy of ripping his ties from his family, a war, adrift at sea, and the wrath of the gods. That is why he’s a tragic hero.

Can heroism have negative effects? Odysseus’ heroism hurt him at times. His heroism was the reason why his pride and sensualness prolonged his voyage back to Ithaca. This is clearly evident in the episode on the Cyclopes’ Island when Odysseus and his men are safely away from the island when Odysseus brags about his exploits making Polythemus hurl giant boulders almost sinking the ship .This incident hurt Odysseus more than just losing a few men, because Poseidon makes his travel home very long and arduous. This proud characteristic shows how Odysseus’ heroism made him lack respect for others and showed he was selfish. Furthermore, Odysseus stays with Circe for one year before his men remind him of home. The story portrays how an individual’s heroism can affect the outcomes of his voyage.

How can heroism help someone overcome something? Can being heroic help people in life? Many ask this when reading about Odysseus being heroic. The...
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