What marks a true hero? Is it their strength, prowess, and courage? Is it that they are raised on a pedestal of pride and glory? Is it the idea that they will always prevail in the end? Beowulf is a well recognized hero for his courage and resilience in his various fights with monsters. He is also a hero because, in the end, he acknowledges his mortality, gives up his need for glory and pride, and dies protecting his people. That is what makes him a hero, that is why readers hundreds of years later can be fulfilled by this poem. The same can be said for the story of Joseph in the Hebrew Bible. Believers of the Old Testament do not only consider him to be a biblical hero because he saved Egypt through his gift of interpreting dreams; he is a hero because he grew from a spoiled child to a man with integrity. These two stories portray two heroes that fulfilled their destinies through character growth and maturity. Odysseus, on the other hand, is considered an epic hero of Homer’s The Odyssey but the lack of character maturity he develops makes his heroic journey unfulfilling.
Odysseus is known throughout Greek mythology for his prideful and arrogant demeanor. In Book 9, he displays these attributes when he identifies himself to the Phaeacians:
Calypso the lustrous goddess tried to hold me back
Deep in her arching caverns, craving me for a husband
So did Circe, holding me just as warmly in her halls,
The bewitching queen of Aeaea keen to have me too. (33-36)
In this passage, he