Odysseus as an Epic Hero Essay

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The Odyssey is an example of Greek history portrayed in literature. As in all Greek literature, the epic hero Odysseus answers a call to action, suffers through great confrontation, and returns with a better understanding of life. Greek stories such as, The Odyssey set the stage for today's modern action movies with epic heroes such as Indiana Jones, Frodo from the Lord of the Rings, and Western cowboys like Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger.

The first characteristic that makes Odysseus an epic hero is that he answers a call to action. Odysseus answers two calls to action in The Odyssey. His first call is to go to Troy with Agamemnon and rescue Helen even though his son Telemachus has just been born and his wife Penelope doesn't want him
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Odysseus realizes that Polyphemus is the only one that can move the boulder and devises a plan to blind Polyphemus while he is asleep. When Polphemus awakes, he moves the boulder to tell his brothers what has happened to him. Then Odysseus and his men sneak out of the cave by hiding under Polyphemus' sheep. When Odysseus' pride gets the best of him and he reveals his identity to Polyphemus, then Polyphemus lifts up a prayer to his father Poseidon and curses Odysseus.

Next Odysseus and his men go to the home of Aeolus, ruler of the winds. Aeolus gives Odysseus a bag containing all of the bad winds and stirs up a wind to send Odysseus and his men back to Ithaca. However, Odysseus' men thought that Aeolus had given Odysseus a bag of treasure and thought he wasn't going to share the treasure with them. When Odysseus falls asleep his men open the bag and the winds blow them away from Ithaca back to Aeolus. This time Aeolus will not help them because he believes the gods hate Odysseus. Now Odysseus and his men have to row to the land of the Laestrygonians, a race of powerful giants, who turn Odysseus' scouts into their dinner. Odysseus and his remaining men retreat to the ships, but the giants pelt the ships with boulders and sink them as they sit in the harbor. Only Odysseus' ship escapes.

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