Epic Hero Changes In The Odyssey

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Can an epic hero change and still be a hero? Or do they have to stay completely static? This question is disagreed upon by many, and has been a topic of discussion. For future reference, an epic hero is a larger than life figure who embodies the ideals of a nation or race. They usually go on adventures, accomplish great things, and are selfless, honorable, and kind. After reading the stories The Once and Future King and The Odyssey, it seems that the character of an epic hero does not always remain static; a hero can still be considered a hero even if he changes in a dynamic way. There are many characters that justify the idea of dynamic heroes, especially those in The Once and Future King, namely King Arthur and Sir Lancelot, but Odysseus…show more content…
An example they might use is the hero Odysseus from the story The Odyssey. Throughout his adventures, he never changes, grows, or even shows signs of wanting to change. Yet he remains a hero. Many people argue that heroes can be static, and those people would be right. Heroes can be static, but they can be dynamic too. Saying that all heroes must be stubborn and unchanging is preposterous; many heroes must change their opinions about many things in order to remain heroic. Odysseus does not have the best personality throughout the entire book, yet he remains a hero and after he kills over a hundred people in the battle of the suitors, he is even given rewards, "Athena lent him beauty, head to foot. She made him taller, and massive too, with crisping hair in curls like petals of wild hyacinth but all red-golden." (Applebee 691) Athena’s blessing would only be given to a hero of epic proportions, and Odysseus fits the description perfectly. Even though Odysseus’ character does not develop, he is still a hero, very well illustrated by these gifts from Athena. Despite what some may say, Odysseus doesn't just support that heroes must be static, but that heroes can be…show more content…
He feels hated and ugly for much of his childhood, but after meeting Arthur, he trains his hardest to overcome his appearance and become the greatest knight in the entire world. In most versions in the tale of king Arthur, Sir Lancelot is depicted as a handsome, charming man. But in the once and future king, he is ugly and deformed. This leaves room for much more character development, but he finds this difficult due to his inner contradictions, “For one thing, he liked to hurt people. It was for the strange reason that he was cruel, that the poor fellow never killed a man who asked for mercy, or committed a cruel action which he could have prevented.” (White 339) All of these strange feelings contradicting each other inside him cause him to have a lot of problems growing and changing. He is unable to grow as a person for most of the story after due to his own inner struggles, but he does change his mind about and regret many things, like when he killed Gareth and Gaheris, “’You couldn't help it.' 'I could have helped it.' He was in his customary religious misery. 'It was my fault.'" (White 589) His regret and sorrow show that he wants to change his contradictory ways, so at least he wants to be dynamic. But despite any of his grievous deeds, he is still considered a hero. Overall, his character shows that a hero can be static, but does not have to be, and can change while staying
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