In the epic poem, The Odyssey by Homer, The hero Odysseus displays many heroic traits that make him an epic hero. The Odyssey is about Odysseus journey home after the Trojan War. On his way back home, he harms a Cyclops’s eye, so Poseidon becomes very angry and make Odysseus’s trip extremely difficult. Odysseus encounters many monsters and his entire crew perishes. When he finally returns home after 20 years, Athena helps him reunite with his son and kill all on the suitors that have made themselves at home in his house with his wife. Some of the many characteristics that Odysseus shows throughout his journey may include courage, leadership and curiosity.
One of the traits that Odysseus demonstrates is courage. This is displayed in many situations such as when Odysseus demands hospitality from the Cyclops: “It was our luck to come here; here we stand beholden for your help, or any gifts you give- as custom is to honor strangers. We would entreat you, great Sir, have a care for the gods’ courtesy; Zeus will avenge the unoffending guest.”(Page 1052) This is courageous because the Cyclops is a giant that towers over them and demanding anything from a beast of that size takes much courage and bravery. Another display of courageousness is when Odysseus comes up with the plan to make a weapon out of a stake with a sharp point and puncture the Cyclops’s eye out with it. This takes a great deal of courage and bravery for Odysseus and his remaining men to complete because it is a very difficult and risky task that could end in disaster at any moment. Odysseus also demonstrates courage when trying to avoid the Sirens, the Wandering Rocks, the Scylla, and the Charybdis while trying to sail home. He overcomes these obstacles with courage and intelligence that allows him and some of his men to escape alive. There are countless events in the Odyssey that display Odysseus’s heroic courageousness as he works hard on returning home to his wife and son.
Another trait that Odysseus displays on his long, dangerous journey back to his homeland is leadership. This characteristic is shown throughout the Odyssey as well, in numerous events. One of the many events that he shows leadership in is when he directs the crew towards Scylla knowing that she may eat the men. This is an example of leadership because he must accept the possibility of losses and he knew that it was better to lose a few men to Scylla than the entire ship to Charybdis. Odysseus also manages to calm the crew when they are afraid of the upcoming monsters which is also a good example of being a good leader. Odysseus shows the characteristics of being a great leader when he commands the crew to sail into the underworld. Odysseus knows that the crew and probably he himself are afraid of going to Hades but he knows there is the task of speaking to the blind prophet, Tiresias before continuing with the journey back home. When Odysseus meets the prophet he learns that there are more troubles to come, the only way to get home is to learn self-control, not to touch the cows when he goes to Thrinacia, if the cows are touched his crew and ship would be destroyed and that he would return home all alone. Another model of leadership that Odysseus displays is when he and Athena plot to destroy the suitors that have taken over his home and were trying to convince his wife, Penelope, to marry them. This is an example of leadership and planning. Odysseus successfully kills the suitors and reunites with his wife and son after twenty years away from them. This is also an example of persistence and the courage it took for him to keep going for all of those years just so he could reach his family.
The final trait that I believe that Odysseus greatly examples is curiosity. A great example of Odysseus’s curiosity is displayed when he wants to stay at the Cyclops’s island to take a closer look at what the Cyclops looks like. Odysseus and some of his men end up sneaking into the Cyclops’s cave to take a look around but end up getting trapped by the huge boulder that the Cyclops ends up placing in front of the entrance. Curiosity almost killed Odysseus, in many occasions this was the case. Another display of curiosity was discovered when Odysseus wanted to hear the Siren’s song. Odysseus ordered the men to put wax in their ears so they wouldn’t be able to hear the singing of the Sirens but Odysseus was to be tied to the ship without the wax so he could hear the singing of the Sirens. The plan ended up working in this instance because they ended up safely escaping the song of the Sirens.
In the Odyssey, Odysseus demonstrates the characteristics of courage, leadership and curiosity. These traits and others define Odysseus’s character and personality. To return home to his wife and son, Odysseus has to overcome many obstacles, loose his crew and spend a decade trying to get all the way back home. Every time Odysseus was close to his destination bad luck and the curse from Poseidon turned him the wrong way. Odysseus’s courage, curiosity and leadership helped him overcome many of the obstacles and helped him have the persistence to keep going throughout the journey.