What Is The Hero's Journey In The Odyssey

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When creating a story, many great minds will use a pattern to enthrall readers and shape them into a hero. Established by Joseph Campbell, The Hero 's Journey is the iconic template many utilize to plan their imaginative tale. The Hero’s Journey is the cycle in which the protagonist ventures into an unknown world where he or she will go through a series of adventures and learn moral lessons. Heroes in ancient myths such as Homer 's epic poem, The Odyssey follows this formula since the protagonist, Odysseus, faces hardships throughout different regions that ultimately change his once arrogant character. Throughout Homer 's monomyth, Odysseus undergoes challenges that teach him the importance of humility.
Even though Odysseus’ wits save lives,
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Odysseus starts to learn the importance of being modest through moments of despair. One can perceive a change in character midway through the journey, during his trip to Helio 's Island. Prior to the trip, the crew was deliberately told not harm Helios’s, cattle, for they will suffer the consequences. However, hunger grew in all their bodies leading them to eat the sun god’s cattle. In despair, Odysseus cries to Zeus explaining how he needs a god to save him from starvation. He reaches out to Zeus, “For hope that one might show me some way of salvation” (Homer 625) and in replication, the god, “closed [Odysseus’] eyes under slow drops of sleep” (Homer 625). Although the quotes display amnesty, they have a deeper meaning than finding salvation. In response to the hero’s call, the god puts Odysseus to slumber, while the crew indulges in the cattle. Moreover, Helios messages the thunder god to kill those who ate his cattle. It was this decree that made Zeus throw a bolt at Odysseus’ men, killing them all. Odysseus’ prayer shields him from Zeus ' bolt. The cry to Zeus conveys that the hero needs help from the gods and is unable to do everything himself, thus showing Zeus he is learning. This shows progression because in the beginning of the journey Odysseus disregards the gods and gloats about the obstacles he excels, whereas on Helios Island, the hero calls for help knowing he can not surpass famine/every challenge. This change in philosophy is classified under crisis, where the…show more content…
Although King of Ithaca eventually reaches his home, one can argue the monomyth ends once he learns humility. The change in character is apparent when Odysseus arrives in Ithaca dressed as a beggar. Before his arrival to/in Ithaca, Athena, goddess of wisdom, dresses the king to resemble a beggar. She disguises him to protect him from the suitors, who will kill the hero on sight. To camouflage himself within the crowd, Odysseus must live a mendicant lifestyle, facing problems they commonly encounter. After weeks of struggle, Athena sends Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, to his father. Once Odysseus reveals his identity to his son, Telemachus questions how a low-life looking beggar could be his noble father. The unrecognizable father tells his son, “It is no hard thing for the gods of heaven to glorify a man or bring him low” (Homer 633). One can see Odysseus’ impersonation of a beggar and the proverb symbolizes a growth in character. To be brought low in the hierarchy, Odysseus experiences struggles in the commonwealth. Those in the noble classes like himself tend not to be humble since they do not work to sustain themselves or/and rarely experience tragedy and get more than needed. Indigent people, on the other hand, struggle to maintain basic needs. By bringing Odysseus low, he was able to learn to be fortunate with little supplies and to be humble. He uses this wisdom he gains to teach Telemachus, replicating what the gods taught him. Understanding the recurring theme

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