Humility In Odysseus In Homer's The Odyssey

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John Ruskin once said, “The first test of truly great man is his humility”. In The Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer, the central character Odysseus learns humility through his failures and growth in obedience making him a hero. Odysseus reaches a heroic status through the lessons learned on his journey, which ultimately taught him the value of obedience and the dangers of arrogance. Initially, Odysseus appears to lack the heroic quality of humility, through his narcissistic nature. When Odysseus is leaving the cyclops cave, his egotistical behavior is shown when he tells Polyphemus who hurt him. Odysseus screams to Polyphemus, “if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so—say Odysseus, raider of cities, he …show more content…

During Odysseus’ journey home from Calypso’s island, he pleas for help from the immortals. “I throw myself on your mercy, on your current now- I have suffered greatly. Pity me, lord, your suppliant cries for help” (Homer 5.494-496). Odysseus has accepted his mortality, and is begging to higher beings for help. Through his suffering, Odysseus is recognizing the power the deathless gods possess and his need for their support, showcasing a newfound humility. Odysseus’ reverence to the gods is shown again after the suitors families and the town learns of Odysseus’ homicide, they come after the royal family. Athena and Zeus come to Ithaca, ordering a peace. Homer describes the event and Odysseus’ reaction, “So she commanded. He obeyed her, glad at heart." (Homer 24.598). Odysseus has grown from the man he was before, as now he finds comfort and safety in obeying the gods when in the past he did not consider their wishes. Odysseus has only returned due to Athena and he has recognized that and his compliance is founded in his appreciation and respect for her. Odysseus is now a hero due to the obedience he now has to the gods, founded in a sense of humility. Through Odysseus’ experiences on his journey, he learns the value of obedience and dangers of arrogance and ultimately, become a hero through the lessons learned. Robert E. Lee once said, “Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation

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