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Epic Hero - the Odyssey

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War, Homer, Greek mythology / Pages: 4 (965 words) / Published: Sep 17th, 2009
An epic hero is a figure of great, larger-than-life stature where his most remarkable traits are those valued by his culture. The Odyssey by Homer, tells a fascinating story of king Odysseus, who takes a twenty year journey in order to return to his home of Ithaca after his great victory in the Trojan War. After many years of life risking danger, is Odysseus really considered an epic hero? What makes a true epic hero? Odysseus’ pride, intelligence, and courage are the exact traits found in an epic hero. Odysseus is a person to be proud of because of his many accomplishments, but sometimes, his pride can put him in complications where he must test himself in order to return to his great home of Ithaca. But how did this all start? Why did it take Odysseus so long to get back home? Having angered the God of seas and earthquakes, Poseidon, because of his strong sense of pride after defeating the Trojans, he was forced on a terrifying journey to get back home. Unaware of what challenges await him, he is confident and determined to make it back to his great kingdom where his family awaits. On his way home, he and his fellow warriors and companions stop by the land of Cyclopes, where the soil is lush with grapes, grains, and livestock. After taking an unpaid visit to a Cyclops’ home and blinding one of the sons of Poseidon, Polyphemus, Odysseus’ pride quickly overcomes himself. “Puny, am I, in a cave man’s hands? How do you like the beating we gave you? How you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaca!” cried the great king. Because of his pride and having angered Poseidon even more, he is led into what has become one of the greatest adventures of an epic hero. Odysseus is a man of great intelligence and a man of a great mind, a trait that is surely needed in all heroes to test that not only he is strong and determined, but is also able to think quickly to overcome the greatest of obstacles. His first achievement that proved his cunningness was during the Trojan War, where his idea of hidden men inside a wooden horse given to the Trojans as a present was taken into action, which ultimately, leads to their defeat and the fall or Troy. His second achievement was during his visit with Polyphemus. Being trapped inside the house of a man-eating monster, Odysseus had to devise a plan to make it possible for him and his crew to escape alive. Odysseus, being the clever man he is, tells Polyphemus that he is Nohbdy, feeds him wine, and then blinds him with a wooden spike. Trying to call out for help, Polyphemus opens the door to his home. “Polyphemus? Why do you cry so sore in the starry night? Sure no man’s driving off your flock? No man has tricked you, ruined you?” asked his brothers. “Nohbody, Nohbdy’s tricked me, Nohbdy’s ruined me!” cried the blind Cyclops and therefore, none came to his aid. Able to escape the horrifying giants’ land, Odysseus runs into even more problems. Sirens rest on the rocks of the sea, awaiting any ship that seems to sail along. They sing their song, in order to lure in men into their destruction. To avoid them as best as possible, Odysseus applies beeswax to his men’s ears so they are unable to hear the terrifying song. Then, they tie Odysseus to the mast of the ship and continue rowing on. Having his shipmates basically deaf and himself, trying his best to resist the song, they are able to safely make it pass the Sirens. Finally, his last and greatest accomplishment involved the many men that lay inside his house and his son, Telemachus. Dressed as a beggar to fool the men into thinking that he was not indeed the king of Ithaca, he traps them inside a room where bows and arrows, axes, and spears are used to slaughter the men that have tormented his poor Penelope for years. Odysseus rids his home of the fools and returns to being once again, the king of Ithaca. Without intelligence, it would be difficult to overcome the most difficult matters, which Odysseus has faced many times.
Even though his intelligence is a very important quality needed in order to survive, without courage, Odysseus would have never been able to make it back home. Throughout his whole journey, Odysseus has showed that he was brave and courageous and was able to defeat his fears. Together, him and his men faced everything that the worlds and gods had to offer, including the horror of the world of the dead where Hades rules, the Underworld, the land of the Cyclopes, Scylla and Charybdis, monsters of the sea, the sirens whose songs could tear apart any man, the goddesses, Circe and Calypso who seduced Odysseus into staying with them, and the fear of losing of his men. He was able to protect his crew for as long as he could, but unfortunately, they were a great loss and sacrifice to Odysseus. For twenty years, he endured everything that was thrown at him and despite his fears, he reached his goal of returning home.
An epic hero is a man of extreme greatness, similar to a god, but still human. It is a person that made a rough journey to what has become a truly remarkable story, a person who has made history as a hero. What makes an epic hero? Pride, intelligence, courage; these are just the few traits portrayed by Odysseus, favored by epic heroes.

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