Odysseus is an Epic Hero

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Famed for his courage, intelligence, and leadership, Odysseus was one of the great heroes of Greek mythology. Odysseus was the son of Laertes and Anticlea, the King of Ithaca, and the leader of the Kephallenians. Odysseus was also famous for his long journey, trying to return home after the events of the Trojan War. Odysseus was married to Penelope and had a son, Telemachus. Odysseus overcame multiple adversities with almost impossible odds against him. Odysseus is an epic hero because he received help from gods/goddesses and his extraordinary leadership abilities exemplified as a result of his tenacious bravery, swift intellect against supernatural enemies.

To start, Odysseus is an epic hero because he faces supernatural enemies. An example is the Cyclops battle, which mere mortals in this poem cannot battle. What leads up to this interaction is Odysseus finds land after sailing from the island of Lotus-eaters. This land is run by Cyclops so Odysseus was keen. “…I told the crew to stand by and keep watch over the ship: as for myself I took my twelve best fighters and went ahead”(Homer 134-137).

When they arrived at the cave there were no Cyclops, so Odysseus decides rather than taking food and leaving; wait for the cyclops return to see what he has to offer. This results in their frightening interaction. “We felt a pressure in our hearts in dread of that deep rumble and that mighty man”(Homer 201-202). What happens is Odysseus tries to follow hospitality by offering wine in exchange for shelter and the Cyclop’s food. The Cyclops, however, didn’t care about what Odysseus has to offer.

“…but in one stride he clutched at my companions and caught two in his hands like squirming puppies to beat their brains out…”(Homer 233-234) Odysseus then uses his swift intellect to come up with the idea of giving the Cyclops wine to make it wiery go to sleep. This gives Odysseus the time to develop a plan to escape the Cyclops. Odysseus using his clever mind came up with a plan that ultimately worked. The plan was to create a sharp weapon that can penetrate the Cyclop’s eye while it’s asleep. This way, the Cyclops can move the boulder blocking their escape without being able to kill Odysseus and his men. Odysseus faced a supernatural force(Cyclops) and defeated it; demonstrating that he is an epic hero.

Second, Odysseus is an epic hero because he receives supernatural aid from the gods/goddesses. An instance where Odysseus receives supernatural help is from the goddess Athena when Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca. What causes Athena to decide to help Odysseus is because of his cunning skills and intelligence to overcome any of the obstacles thrown at him. To name a few adversities, his sailors are captivated by the lotus-eaters, he engages in battle with the cyclops, he is caught in a storm sent by Poseidon, and he is captivated by the Sirens.

No normal mortal can overcome the obstacles Odysseus has. The events that occur are Athena informs Odysseus about the problematic situation at Ithaca and a plan on how to deal with the suitors. Telemachus, (Odysseus’s son) will also help Odysseus in his and Athena’s plans. “…you together will bring doom on the suitors in the town”(Homer 1012-1013). Athena then disguises Odysseus as a beggar to see whom he can trust in the town. Athena’s help results in Odysseus finally reuniting with Penelope and reclaiming his kingdom. Odysseus was able to live the rest of his life with Penelope from the aid of gods/goddesses, demonstrating that he is an epic hero.

To summarize, Odysseus is an epic hero because he received help from gods/goddesses and his immeasurable leadership abilities exemplified as a result of his swift intellect, and bravery against supernatural enemies. Odysseus showed courage and intelligence when he was in Polyphemus, the Cyclops’s cave. All his men panicked but Odysseus kept his cool and prevailed. Odysseus received help from the goddess Athena, who noticed Odysseus’s cunning skills and intelligence and wanted Odysseus to succeed. Battling against a mighty Cyclops and having the goddess Athena help Odysseus demonstrates that he is no ordinary mortal, he is an epic hero.


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Odysseus is an Epic Hero. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/odysseus-is-an-epic-hero/

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