Odysseus as an Epic Hero

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Trojan War Pages: 2 (751 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Epic Hero Essay

What is an epic hero? Homers’ “Odyssey” is about an epic hero named Odysseus and his quest home. “The Odyssey” begins after the Trojan war had left Odysseus trapped, pointlessly seafaring for 10 years after angering Poseidon, the god of the sea. He tries desperately to return home to Ithaka and his wife, Penelope, and newborn son, Telemachus. Odysseus then has many hardships upon which he overcomes through his intelligence and wit. Odysseus is an epic hero because he is intelligent, he listens to the god’s advice, and he is witty; able to think on his feet. With the help of the gods he can survive things most men couldn’t.

First, nearing the end of the Epic, Odysseus continues to use his intelligence to overcome obstacles and hardships. Upon one attempt to return home, Odysseus must pass the island of the Sirens. He has his men plug their ears with beeswax but not before he tells them his place in the plan: “Take me and bind me to the crosspiece half way up the mast; bind me as I stand upright, with a bond so fast that I cannot possibly break away, and lash the rope's ends to the mast itself. If I beg and pray you to set me free, then bind me more tightly still.” Even though Odysseus gives into the weakness of the sirens’ song, he is unable to escape from the bonds of the rope and his previous intelligence saves him. Once he arrives in Ithaca, Odysseus once again uses his intelligence to overcome his suitors and reclaim his estate. When he first encounters the people of his land, he wisely chooses to remain anonymous, avoiding an unplanned struggle or fight. Odysseus then reveals himself to his son and few servants to plan an attack on the suitors. At a contest to see if anyone can string Odysseus’s bow, the hero plans his attack after stringing the bow and firing on the suitors. His son and servants have the other arms and they massacre the entire group of suitors. This was one of Odysseus’s final acts of brilliance to conclude the...
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