The Odyssey is an epic poem originally told by a blind poet named Homer about 800 B.C. The protagonist, Odysseus, goes on multiple perilous adventures. This epic hero leaves Ithaca to begin the 10 seemingly endless year war, known as the Trojan War. After the Master Strategist uses his quick wits to win the war, he ends up on the land of the Cyclopes. Once the crew and Odysseus escaped the one-eyed cannibal, they floated ashore to find themselves on Circe, an enchanting Goddess’ aisle. A year and many affairs later, Odysseus and his crew leave Circe’s island. However, Circe sends Odysseus on a mission to the Underworld to see his fortune of many dangerous perils, which ends when Zeus shocks the crew and Odysseus by taking the lives of the entire crew. Before Odysseus knows it, he washes up on the shores of Ithaca to find many suitors taking residence in his palace. Having disgust with the suitors, he locks the women in a single room to prevent and harm coming to them, and slays all the suitors in a very bloody tirade. The epic poem The Odyssey chronicles the life of a man names Odysseus who is criticized for being a flawed mortal, yet he is considered to be an epic hero.
Although Odysseus is an epic hero, he is a flawed mortal man because he lies, displays hubris, and is an adulterer. First of all, the cowardly Odysseus is talking to Polyphemus, a Cyclops, about what everyone calls Odysseus. For example, “Cyclops, you ask my honorable name? Remember the gift you promised me, and I shall tell you. My name is Nohbdy: mother, father and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy,” (10:272-275). Odysseus tells the Cyclops that everyone calls him ‘Nohbdy’ to confuse other Cyclopes who may ask about Odysseus. However, if Odysseus was truly brave, he wouldn’t have lied. Once a person lies once, no one can purely trust that person again. This makes Odysseus a liar. Next, the boastful and cocky Odysseus is pestering the Cyclops about how he was beat up. For example, “O Cyclops! Would you feast on my companions? Puny, am I, in a caveman’s hands? How do you like the beating that we gave you, you damned cannibal? Eater of guests under your roof! Zeus and the gods have paid you!” (10:390-394). Thinking he’s top notch, Odysseus is boasting about blinding the Cyclops. Being the flawed mortal man he is, he goes overboard and above boasting and says that the gods gave Polyphemus what he deserved. But in fact, it was Odysseus who was in error when he blinded the Cyclops. Finally, the betraying Odysseus has an affair with the Goddess, Circe. For example, “She swore at once, outright, as I demanded, and after she had sworn, and bound herself, I entered Circe’s flawless bed of love,” (10:78-80). If he wasn’t a flawed mortal, he would never have become an adulterer and broke his marital vows. He betrayed his wife and didn’t even have a second thought. As the weak male Odysseus is, he had no regret with his decision. Odysseus is a lying, hubristic, infidelity performing, flawed mortal man, even though he’s an epic hero. Odysseus is a courageous epic hero who goes on dangerous adventures and performs great deeds. To begin, the very courageous Odysseus is telling his men how they must be fearless to survive. For example, “Friends, have we never been in danger before this? More fearsome, is it now, than when the Cyclops penned us in his cave? What power he had!” (12:144-146). Odysseus is demonstrating courage by keeping his men inspired regardless of the situation they’re put in and how fearful it is. Without Odysseus modeling the behavior of an epic hero, the crew would want to flee and want nothing to do with the adventure. It’s easier to be less afraid when someone else is leading the way. Odysseus needs to be courageous and motivate the men so they don’t throw in their