Odysseus As An Epic Hero

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Superman, Batman, and Ironman — they are the most admired heroes of today’s world. What makes these men the admirable heroes they are? Is it strength or is it stealth? Or is it wealth? In the epic, The Odyssey, written by Homer, a hero quite similar to the ones mentioned before can be seen. He is one of the most remarkable, classic heroes seen in western literature, and he indeed, is the great Odysseus. Several distinguishing traits of Odysseus make him an epic hero, and those traits can even be found in the heroes of today’s world. Throughout the poem, Odysseus establishes traits like determination, courage, and compassion, which prove that he is a true, Homeric hero.
Determination is a recognizable heroic trait that Odysseus demonstrates
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For instance, during Odysseus’ visit to the underworld, he encounters the spirits of Elpenor, a crewman, as Odysseus “wept for pity and called out to him” (11.28-29). This scene reveals that Odysseus is in fact, a compassionate and caring person, despite his unmerciful and heartless attacks towards his enemies. It shows that he deeply cares about Elpenor and his crewmen because he understands that they are suffering as much as he is throughout this tiresome and dangerous journey. Moreover, although Odysseus is the leader and the captain of his men, he does not hesitate to comfort Elpenor and show that he genuinely cares for him. Similarly, Odysseus also sees his dead mother, Anticlea and she tells him of how she died from a heartbreak after mourning for his return. Seeing the dead spirit of his mother he “grieves... through pang on pang of tears” (11.63-64). Odysseus shows sympathy towards his mother because he realizes that he has caused not only her, but also his father, wife, and son to grieve and suffer due to his absence. Although Odysseus is a warrior to his enemies, he after all, is a loving husband, father, and a son to the people he cares for. Odysseus proves that being a hero is not solely about strength, fearlessness, and victory. As a matter of fact, he fulfills the complete meaning of a true hero by showing compassion and sympathy towards the people he loves and cares for. Hence, through showing acts of compassion, he shows that he is a genuine
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