Odysseus: the Anti-Hero

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Odysseus: The Anti-Hero
Throughout Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Odysseus is a hero. In all myths and legends, a hero combats the “monsters.” In the typical story a hero is unselfish and fights to protect his people while the monsters are greedy powerful things that antagonize the people. Yet despite this typical storyline, if we read closely, we may conclude that Odysseus is actually the oppressive hero in many of these situations – provoking the “monsters” into fighting. The “monsters” in the Odyssey are innocent creatures that fight to protect themselves. Another reason Odysseus is not a satisfying hero of this story is because the main reason he pursues conflict is to maintain his own personal image and sense of pride, so that when
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This arrogance is an example of how Odysseus is there to create and maintain an image for himself. Odysseus says, “Cyclops,/ if any man on the face of the earth should ask you/ who blinded you, shamed you so – say Odysseus,/ raider of cities, he gouged out your eye,” (9.558-561). This shows how Odysseus wants the whole world to know his name, even though this is a cocky move and puts himself and his army at an even greater risk. Odysseus is so concerned with how he looks to everyone else that he takes no precautions for the sake of himself or his army. Another example of Odysseus’ egotism is when he is talking to the suitors dressed up as a homeless man for the first time. Homer writes, “If only two of us could go/ Man-to-man in the labors of the field…/ We’d test our strength for work,/ Fasting right till dusk with lots of hay to mow,” (18.414-19). As the homeless man, Odysseus approaches the suitors with such an ego that they could have been moved to kill or beat him. This is an example of how his ego is a negative characteristic, showing how he overuses his esteem when his odds are against him. In both this instance and in the case of the Cyclops, he risks his life in the most arrogant of ways. If Odysseus were less cocky and had a less powerful ego, he would have a greater chance of being considered a good hero, because he would not have provoked unwanted
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