Essay on Odysseus's Heroic Attributes

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The epic poem The Odyssey, written by Homer, centers around the main protagonist Odysseus and his long journey back home. Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, returns home after defeating the Trojans in a ten year war. On his way back, he angers Poseidon, god of the sea, by blinding his son, Polyphemus the Cyclops. Due to Odysseus’ actions, Poseidon refuses to let Odysseus reach home, and Odysseus and his crew are forced to go through a series of obstacles throughout the epic. Through this adversity, Odysseus must show his heroic attributions in order to survive. Homer portrays Odysseus as a hero by giving him characteristics such as: craftiness, loyalty, and bravery. In situations where brute force has failed, Odysseus uses his craftiness to…show more content…
Odysseus’ craftiness sets him apart from the other characters as a hero because he succeeds when others fail. Another trait that Odysseus demonstrates repeatedly throughout the story is his loyalty. In various situations he never gives up on his crew, even when he has reason to. During an episode in the epic, Odysseus travels to the underworld to receive a prophecy. He meets his great friend Elpenor, who has died earlier in Circe’s hall. Because he is unburied and unmourned he asks Odysseus to build a cairn in his honor. Odysseus replies, “Unhappy spirit, / I promise you the barrow and the burial.” (Homer, lines 609-610). Although Odysseus is preoccupied with finding Tiresias, he shows loyalty to his crew mate by spending time with his spirit, and carrying out the spirit’s request. It could have been easy for Odysseus to ignore the spirit of Elpenor, but Odysseus shows a real emotional reply to this meeting. Not only does he show loyalty to his crew but his homeland as well. Although he could have given up during the ten year span Odysseus wandered from home, he persisted even though giving up would have been easier. At one point Odysseus is detained by the enchantress, Circe, but remains determined to reach home: my heart I never gave consent. Where shall a man find sweetness to surpass his own home and his parents? In far lands he shall not, though he find a house of gold. (Homer, lines 34-37) What Odysseus is
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