Odysseus: One of the Greatest Epic Heroes
An epic encompasses many unique qualities of which are both consistent and concurrent with the authors style and manner of writing. Homer's The Odyssey is a prime example of an epic with a well-developed epic hero. In this case, the hero is the epic's namesake, Odysseus.
Odysseus is undoubtedly the hero of this great epic; however, some have posed doubts as to whether he is deserving of such a noble and eminent title. Odysseus has the poorest fortune and throughout his journey he encounters many dangers and much evil; all of which he overcomes with bravery and wisdom.
At the beginning of his journey, Odysseus finds himself stranded on the island of Ogygia with the mystical and beautiful nymph Calypso. On the island, Calypso holds Odysseus captive for many years and presents him with much temptation. She loves him possessively and wills him to stay with her and gain immortality. Odysseus knows he has a family and an entire empire awaiting him in Ithaca and resists the temptations of Calypso, much to her dismay. Zeus then sends Hermes to order Calypso to set Odysseus free. "Tell to the fair0haired nymph our steadfast purpose, that hardy Odysseus shall go forth upon his homeward way, not with gods' guidance nor with that of mortal man; but by himself, beset with sorrows, on a strong-built raft..." (46). Odysseus' patience and moral strength gain him favor with Zeus and freedom from captivity.
Like many epic heroes, Odysseus is not perfect. However, he does strive toward perfection. He encounters many different cultures and people along his journey. Some, like the Phaeacians, show him great hospitality. Others however make attempts on his life and the lives of his family. Through interacting with these people and the experiences they offer, Odysseus gains much knowledge of the world and of other cultures. He is able to better himself and attain wisdom that will aid him on his journey and when he returns home. By...
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