The Role Of Heroism In The Odyssey

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What is a hero? Your answer is probably much different than an ancient Greek’s response would have been. To be considered a hero, one must have met many requirements. It included accounts on fitness, morals, values, character and treatment of the gods. Greek mythology repeatedly told stories of their ideal heroes. However, Homer, composer of The Odyssey, does not use his epic poem to model this image. As you follow Odysseus on his ten-year journey home succeeding the Trojan War, his disposition is truly revealed. On the outside, his accomplishments make him appear to be a perfect hero. However, after looking deeper into his underlying personality, readers are not so sure. His perpetual disloyalty, hubris, curiosity and mercilessness disqualify …show more content…
This causes him to focus only on his accomplishments, while disregarding the gods and being unable to think clearly. Homer uses Book Eight to reveal Odysseus’s arrogance, describing, “He felt ashamed to let Phaeacians look at him with tears streaming down his face…” (104-105). Odysseus has an excessive amount of self-esteem and views himself as superior to others. Moreover, he’s easily embarrassed and does not like to appear weak. Odysseus exhibits his hubris even more intensely when he and his men enter Polyphemus’s cave. Despite his shipmates pleading to leave before the Cyclops returns, he decides to stay so he can test Polyphemus. Odysseus can easily avoid any trouble with the monster, but his hubris takes control. This leads to the endangerment of his crew when Odysseus and his men escape. After blinding Polyphemus, Odysseus’s pride overtakes him. He calls to the monster, “If any man inquire / how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him / Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye / Laertes’ son, who’s home’s on Ithica” (9.548-52). This is perhaps his biggest mistake of the entire journey, for it causes Polyphemus to ask his father Poseidon, god of the sea, to seek vengeance. These irrational decisions ultimately cost Odysseus many years of hardship, along with the death of his entire