Odysseus: The Traits And Values Of An Epic Hero

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When thinking of the term hero, many words may surface to one’s head, such as strength, perseverance, courage, and integrity. These core characteristics are what define a hero and make them not just a regular human, but a beacon and symbol of strength. While there are many different interpretations of what is truly meant by the word “hero”, there is one trait that is never often touched upon—wisdom. Afterall, without wisdom, a hero could not possibly be able to survive on the battlefield. One character that excellently portrays all of the traits and values of a hero is Odysseus, using not only his strength, but his wits and cunning strategies to defeat his foe. Throughout Homer’s epic, Odysseus embodies traits of an epic hero with his courage, …show more content…

Telemachus warns Odysseus that the suitors are “no affair of ten or even twice ten men, but scores, throngs of them. You shall see, here and now. The number from Dulichium alone is fifty-two picked men…If we go in against all these I fear we pay in salt blood for your vengeance” (Homer l 1094-1105). Despite this, Odysseus easily defeats all of the suitors, conveying his peak martial prowess. The suitors’ bodies are even compared to “a catch that fishermen haul in to a half-moon bay…how all are poured out on the sand, in throes for the salt sea, twitching their cold lives away in Helios’ fiery air: so lay the suitors heaped on one another” (Homer l 1535-1539). Although outnumbered, Odysseus is able to slay all of the suitors. He does this only using his physical strength, and wits. Nonetheless, even though all of the suitors were trained fighters, they all died gruesome deaths. This episode is a testament to Odysseus’s formidable strength, and reinforces his status as an epic …show more content…

According to James Ford, “Odysseus's return to Ithaca is a series of disguises, ploys, and careful tests of identity. He pretends to be a foreigner, but he meets Athena, who knows the truth. She counsels him not to reveal himself to anyone (advice that hardly seems necessary, given how cautious Odysseus is)” (Ford 4). In order to not let anyone know he has returned to his homeland, Odysseus disguises himself to give himself the advantage of surprise when attacking his enemy. For if Odysseus reveals himself, he would be hunted down, due to the suitors feeling threatened by him returning. This strategy by Odysseus proves him to be a master of disguise, due to none of the suitors suspecting that the foreigner was in reality Odysseus. When creating an elaborate scheme in order to easily defeat the suitors, he informs Telemachus that “I shall signal to you, nodding: at this point round up all arms…and stow the lot away back in the vaulted storeroom” (Homer l 1134-1138). By hiding the weapons, Odysseus ensures that he and Telemachus have an advantage—due to all the suitors being unarmed, and not on

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