The Consequences Of Odysseus As An Epic Hero

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Heroes can range from the well-known Superman to Harriet Tubman during the American Civil War, to the very parents that get you up in the morning. Despite who the hero may be, heroes are said to display selflessness, humility, and integrity. Specifically, epic heroes are expected to also illustrate loyalty and devotion. In the Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is depicted as the bigger than life epic hero of the epic poem that has had such an overwhelming impact on Western culture. However, his character flaws and the byproduct that are their consequences negate his heroism. Though Odysseus was successful in his journey home and in hand obtaining justice, he allowed for hubris get the best of him, remained disloyal to his wife and was not considerate…show more content…
Some disagree, arguing that Odysseus is an admirable hero. They might rationalize this by stating he is a hero due to the fact that he was able to remain determined and courageous despite the hardships he and his crew faced. In fact, Odysseus is valiant enough to trick the giant Cyclops, Polyphemus, that had trapped them inside of his cave, stating ‘“Nobody is my name. My father and mother call me Nobody, as do all the others who are my companions.”’ (9.366-367). At first, it seems that in this predicament, Odysseus is able to undermine Polyphemus’ threats with his cleverness by changing his name so that when the Cyclops yells for help, no one would know of his true identity. Odysseus utilizes his valiance to lead his crew out of conflict like in other parts of the epic, essentially, portraying Odysseus’ sharp intellect and cunningness. However, upon closer examination, the reason Odysseus and his crew found themselves in the situation in the first place, was because of Odysseus’ curiosity and ignorant decisions. Odysseus had no purpose for exploring and invading the giant cyclops’ home, but he allowed his growing curiosity to lead his men to danger. Even after he was able to free himself and his crew from the cyclops’ captivity, Odysseus exposes himself to Polyphemus and further jeopardizing his men, “ '"Cyclops, if any mortal man ever asks you who it was that inflicted upon your eye this shameful blinding, tell him that you were blinded by Odysseus, sacker of cities. Laertes is his father, and he makes his home on Ithaka" (9.500-505). Odysseus’ inability to control his hubris and be considerate about the lives of his crew validate the idea that he isn’t an admirable hero. His lack of selflessness and humility drives him to make flawed judgments. This deprives him of the title of an epic hero because his tendency to take unhealthy risks causes him to delay his trip back to his homeland of
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