Why Do We Consider Odysseus to Be a Hero

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Why do we consider Odysseus to be a hero? Was he all bullets and bravado like the “heroes” of today? Was he a testosterone and power armor kind of hero we see in video games? No, but he was heroic nonetheless. His loyalty, valor, humanity and most importantly, his intelligence, sets him apart from many other heroes from his era and from ours. He exemplifies the most important ideals of Homeric Greeks and is portrayed not only as a proud adventurer, but also as a caring father and a husband.

Loyalty is one of the most important of Homeric Ideals. Odysseus has always been seen as loyal to his family in Ithica and the men who he travelled with. Some examples of his loyalty towards his family are his journey itself, traversing stormy seas
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This would make him easy to relate to by the reader/audience. This is one area where Odysseus surpasses Beowulf. While Beowulf may have had unparallel courage, much of his qualities were often inhuman. Beowulf did not show to have very strong family bonds, whereas family bonds are the reason why Odysseus never gave up on his twenty-year journey home. He may have been easier to relate to during the era where his story was being told in taverns where nearly every man at one aspired to be a noble warrior. However, to the modern reader, Beowulf may seem like a heaping mass of muscle that while having strong values, showed little emotion. This makes Beowulf seem less realistic then Odysseus.

The most renowned heroic quality of Odysseus was his intelligence. This is what sets him apart the most from many other heroes, such as Beowulf who would have tried to battle through every obstacle that came his way. Odysseus’s cunning is the main reason why he stayed alive, why Greece finally defeated Troy with the Trojan Horse, and ultimately the reason why he managed to get home against all odds. Even when confronted by the goddess Athene, he remains cautious and invents creative lies on the spot. His expertise in the art of deceit saved his life during his encounter with the Cyclops Polythemus. First, by convincing the Cyclops to drink the wine and putting him into a deep sleep where his single remained open. Secondly, by sharpening the
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