The Odyssey: Is Odysseus Really a Hero?

Decent Essays
Odysseus can be portrayed as an antihero in The Odyssey. A hero is clever, respectful, brave, and shows mercy. Odysseus is the complete opposite of a hero. He is immature, barbaric, unfaithful, and a coward. Being faithful, or loyal, is one of the main aspects of being a hero. Book V shows us that Odysseus might not have been so faithful to Penelope:
“Now as he spoke the sun set, dusk drew on/ and they retired, this pair, to the inner cave/ to revel and rest softly, side by side” (5. 234-236)
This quote describes Odysseus with Kalypso, before he left her cave to return to Ithaka. “Resting softly, side by side” might mean more than what Homer is giving us. Odysseus is also very immature and childish. After tricking the Kyklops,
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The first time is with an unlucky suitor who tries to get out of being killed:
“’Mercy,/ mercy on a suppliant, Odysseus!/ Never by word or act of mine, I swear./ was any woman troubled here. I told them the rest/ to put an end to it. They would not listen,/ would not keep their hands from brutishness,/ and now they are all dying like dogs for it./ I had no part in what they did: my part/ was visionary--reading the smoke of sacrifice./ Scruples go unrewarded if I die.’/ The shrewd fighter frowned over him and said:/ ‘You were diviner to this crowd? How often/ you must have prayed my sweet day of return/ would never come, or not for years!—and prayed/ to have my dear wife, and beget children on her./ No plea like yours could save you/ from this hard bed of death. Death it shall be!’/ He picked up Agelaos’ broadsword/ from where it lay, flung by the slain man,/ and gave Leodes’ neck a lopping blow/ so that his head went down to mouth the dust.”(22. 350-370)
Another example of Odysseus showing no mercy is when he makes the maids, who slept with the suitors, clean up the dead bodies and wash the furniture. Then they were to be executed:
“As he spoke/ here came the women in a bunch, all wailing,/ soft tears on their cheeks. They fell to work/ to lug the corpses out into the courtyard/ under the gateway, propping one/ against another as Odysseus ordered,/ for he himself stood over them. In fear/ these woman bore the cold weight of the dead./ The next thing was to scrub off
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