Honors English 9
7 February 2023
Odysseus the Flawed Hero
The term hero is significantly misused in The Odyssey by Homer. Odysseus, king of Ithaca, is an example of a hero who does not deserve the title. Nonetheless, Odysseus shares many qualities of being a hero: he led his crew to victory in the grueling ten-year-long Trojan war due to his strategic thinking, and bravely made it home alive from the ten-year-long journey back. Odysseus is brave, cunning, and has great leadership skills: all of these traits are characteristics you would expect in a hero. Although one might possess these qualities, being a hero means nothing if you cannot portray one crucial aspect: being a good person. Odysseus lacks this pivotal attribute. …show more content…
Odysseus makes sure to emphasize how loyal and worthy he is to Penelope by turning down Calypso’s tempting wishes. However, this small act of loyalty covers up his betrayal. Odysseus fails to mention to Penelope that “he’d sleep with her in the arching cave” (5.171). Although sleeping with Calypso was against Odysseus’ will, he is unwilling to tell Penelope about a moment he could not control. He knows this incident could damage his image as a great leader and hero. Sleeping with Calypso was not Odysseus’ fault, but by being egotistical and focusing only on his reputation rather than loyalty to his wife by being honest, he once again demonstrates his poor moral character. In addition to sleeping with Calypso, he shows another time when he was not in control and was weak. This type of weakness happens to portray great loyalty. It is shown that upon Calypso’s island, he “sat on a headland, weeping there as always, / gazing out over the barren sea through blinding tears”(5.93-5). He was desperate to get home to Penelope: or so it seems. Because of the Trojan war, Odysseus thrives in high-stress and intense environments. Since he is no longer in a war setting, he needs to find a substitute for the amount of excitement and adrenaline he is used to. Getting off Calypso’s island, making unnecessary and dangerous detours, and sleeping with multiple women serve as a replacement. Even though Odysseus cries for Penelope, …show more content…
These derisive comments make Polyphemus retaliate by throwing huge boulders at their boat. Odysseus’ crew “begged” (9.556) Odysseus to stop antagonizing the cyclops but he does not care. Instead of thinking through his actions, he tells Polyphemus who he is and where he lives which causes future tribulations, such as the god of the sea, Poseidon, having a grudge against Odysseus. Poseidon makes Odysseus’ journey back home much more rugged due to his own reckless actions. Odysseus’ fast thinking does help the crew on some occasions. Odysseus quickly saves some of his crew by rescuing them from the lotus flowers and also led them to victory using a wooden horse for a surprise attack during the war. Although Odysseus led his crew to victory and saves some of his crew, his actions create problems for them that never needed to exist. Odysseus only saves three people from the lotus flowers: “I sent / a detail ahead, two picked men and a third, a runner[...]” (9.99-100). Later, he causes the majority of them to be killed by the Laestrygonians. Odysseus explains, “Our squadron sank” (10.145) due to his actions. Odysseus also led his crew to victory in the war, but many men die on the journey home. Odysseus’ impetuous interactions should have taught him to be more circumspect and go into everything with a plan, but they do not. After the Cyclops, Odysseus and his crew arrive at the Laestrygonian land where Odysseus once again
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In the Odyssey, there are typically two ways women are depicted - the pure, devoted housewife, or the enticing, irresistible seductress. For the most part, the housewives are seen as useless without men, only there to do household chores, domestic tasks and to take care of the children. Penelope is seemingly a great example of that; she’s seen as weak and very loyal towards Odysseus, in hopes that he will return. The seductresses mainly exist as trouble for men - drawing them off course and “forcing” them to be unfaithful to their wives. This is the case with Calypso as she traps Odysseus and refuses to let him go until a god interferes.
Odysseus makes the journey back to Ithaca because he wants to see Penelope. Even when he gets trapped on Calypso’s island for seven years, slowing him down. Eventually, Calypso lets a forlorn Odysseus go by a demand from Hermes. Despite Calypso being the most beautiful being in the world, Odysseus wants to leave, which causes Calypso to ask “‘Son of Laertes… after all these years with me, you still desire your old home? Even so, I wish you well.
During this period when Odysseus manages his crew, he channels his courage, perseverance, and intelligence to succeed. Calypso is a goddess who welcomes Odysseus on her island. This is a kind act, but Calypso doesn’t let him leave for eight years. Over this period of time, Odysseus becomes homesick and wants to return home to his wife, Penelope. Calypso is a powerful woman, which is something ancient Greeks feared.
This quote proves how Odysseus was unfaithful and unloyal to Penelope, and betrayed her. Odysseus had an affair with another woman and this caused him to return to Ithaca and Penelope later, which induced more stress on her. The suitors also betrayed Penelope and Odysseus in multiple ways. One of which was overstaying their welcome and eating and using all of their resources and by trying to marry Penelope, when she was faithfully waiting for her husband. “‘Each from his own house must try to win her, showering her with gifts.
Odysseus slept with two women that are not his wife because her could. Odysseus also always took the long route to everything and never took the shortest option. Odysseus killing the suitors really wasn’t because he was loyal to Penelope, it was because he did not want them using his stuff and eating his food anymore. Loyalty in a relationship is very important because they have to know that they can trust their partner, and in the Odyssey, Penelope does that but Odysseus does
The first offense Odysseus had on his loyalty to Penelope was when he slept and flirted with different women on three different occasions. The first being when Odysseus slept with the Cicones women, the second being when he slept with Circe for a year, and the third being when he slept with Calypso during his imprisonment on her
In the epic story the Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is returning from the Trojan war, and on his way home he finds many obstacles ahead of him. Odysseus is the ruler of Ithaca and he is trying to return home to his land. Many creatures try and stop him from achieving his goal of returning home, but he and his crew have to push through and get home. Odysseus portrays bravery and courage leading his crew through these tough challenges. Odysseus heroically leads his crew and himself through dangerous obstacles, but also foolishly endangers them during the journey home.
(Book 10, page 159, PDF). Odysseus had left almost always meant to die with only saving a few which may have caused a sense of controversy and confusion. Also Odysseus hadn’t thought of a way to save all of his men, which eventually impacted his journey and his entire crew. Though Odysseus did have several acts of heroic deeds, the amount of failure in a majority of those other acts overpowered them
As Odysseus arrives to the island-home of Calypso, the beautiful nymph, he is quickly held prisoner. Although it may seem that Odysseus felt that he was truly a prisoner, he, at one point in his stay, enjoyed Calypso’s presence and was willingly seduced by her. It is clear that over the seven-year stay, Calypso had fallen in love with Odysseus and he had let his vulnerability to women become his harshest weakness. Her female dominance was even shown at times of manipulation through her ability to hold a man prisoner and prevent him from carrying on with his travels home. Although, when it came upon Athena that Odysseus was eager to arrive home to Ithaca, Zeus sent Hermes to have Calypso free Odysseus.
When Odysseus was away from his wife, he slept with Calypso. That shows he is disloyal because he was cheating on his wife, and he was taking more time to get back to Penelope. In addition to him sleeping with Calypso, he also slept with Circe. Again that shows he is being disloyal to Penelope because he was cheating on her and taking longer to get home. When he slept with Circe, he stayed with her for a year.
Most readers notice that Odysseus is trying his best to get home to his wife Penelope, but a careful reader notices that he is trying so hard because of the high level of loyalty Odysseus has for her. With that, there are many different times where Odysseus shows his loyalty for Penelope. People may say that Odysseus is not loyal to Penelope because he has affairs with Calypso and Circe, and isn 't loyal to Penelope when he comes back. However, Odysseus is loyal because he has reasons for why he is with other women, and he
However Odysseus, despite being a good man, does not display honor and dignity when he refuses to forgive the suitors, then slaughters them all, and has an affair with Calypso. Since Penelope can react to tough situations with grace and poise, she is more admirable than
The story of Odysseus would not exist if not for the strong female characters that all become a part of his journey. One of the women is the nymph, Calypso, who is forever banished to the island of Ogygia for her father’s wrongdoings. Odysseus ends up stranded on the island with her for seven years after being shipwrecked and lost at sea by Poseidon. Calypso ultimately acts a temptress to Odysseus, and serves as a constant reminder of everything he longs for back at home. Calypso means “to cloak”, which is basically what she is doing by hiding Odysseus away from the rest of world.