Odysseus is a combination of the self-made, self-assured man and the embodiment of the standards and mores of his culture. He is favored by the gods and respected and admired by the mortals. Even the wrath of Poseidon does not keep him from his homecoming. But is Odysseus consider a hero?
Despite the seemingly contradictory nature of this statement, both can be true considering that the times when he needs a god’s help are when another god created the problem in the first place. On the other hand, Odysseus is capable of saving himself when higher powers are not involved in creating the problem. Odysseus is constantly praised by others in the story, yet rarely seems to live up to these expectations. Odysseus is praised by Zeus, the single most powerful god, calling him “Great Odysseus, who excels all men in wisdom” (1.78-9). Odysseus is also praised by mortals, such as Menelaus, a king.
Hercules is very similar to Beowulf, an epic hero. They both share certain qualities, including some that make them desirable to each one's culture. Beowulf is valuable to the Anglo-Saxon people, and Hercules to the Greek people. Although Hercules was originally a foolish boy who made mistakes, he grew into a fabulous hero who is there to save the day. Hercules is a Beowulf-style hero because he has qualities of an epic hero, and is treasured by a group of people.
History is full of heros but, what makes these people heros. Is it their bravery on the battlefield, the honor they give to their family, or their intelligence. Much of this is true in the time of ancient Greece. Although Grecian heroes give the gods some credit for their gifts they are often concerned about bringing the glory and honor upon themselves or their family; however, Biblical hero's want to bring honor and glory to God. Odysseus is a hero to the Greeks but not from a Biblical standpoint because of his arrogance toward his intelligence, perseverance, and courage.
Odysseus had lots of pride in himself and his crew. Although Odysseus got him and his crew out of the cyclops's cave, he could not hold his pride in as he told the cyclops his name. " Cyclops- if any man on the face of the Earth should ask you who blinded, shamed you so- say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes' son who makes his home in Ithaca!" (9.558-562).
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).
The definition of a hero has evolved over time. According to Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, the first definition of a hero is, “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.” In The Odyssey, written by Homer, Odysseus is a hero according to this definition. Odysseus is a hero because he used his strength to overcome tough circumstances. Odysseus battles many mortals, immortals, monsters, and even gods.
To start off, odd Odysseus is brave. According to the text, “There was loud hiss as the burning wood pierced the watery membrane. ”(Homer 27)While it is true that this shows that
Odysseus is also recognized as a great hero as well. This is because of his great victories during the Trojan war. One time during the story where a king realizes that it is Odysseus was on Phaeacia when King Alcinous recognizes him and offers him help. Odysseus is also a humble man. Although sometimes his ego occasionally gets in the way, he still does deeds for the sake of doing them, not for fame.
In the end, a hero is more than just physical traits like strength and supernatural powers. Being a hero means being selfless, brave and putting other people before yourself. Victor best fit this description because he sacrificed years of his life, and even his own life knowing it would benefit the rest of the world. The determination, braveness, courage and devotion Victor had for a single experiment that could go wrong is true heroism.
By studying Homer’s works, men and women learned that doing the right thing and being a good person was much better than immorality. The message was also given that a man of good quality was far greater than a wicked man with great achievements. Greek males poured over the texts of Homer and learned the importance of being excellent, such as the war heroes were. Achilles and Odysseus are both war heroes featured in Homer’s epics that displayed a great amount of excellence. A man should constantly strive to achieve excellence, also known as arete.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of a hero is a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities. Using that definition, yes, Odysseus is a hero. He was admired for his great bravery, and cunningness, but nowhere in the definition does it say that doing wrong things may have disqualified Odysseus from earning the title “hero”. Does plundering the island of Cicones, or staying back with Calypso and being untruthful to his wife make him a bad candidate for the title? If Odysseus were doing the things that he did today, he would certainly not be a hero in my eyes.