herody The Imperfect Hero of Homer's Odyssey Essay

1434 Words 6 Pages
The Imperfect Hero of The Odyssey

In literature, a bold character or hero is often the principle character. In the epic poem The Odyssey there are many immortals, but only one hero, Odysseus. The differences between the immortals and the hero are few. The god-like Odysseus is plagued with the human weaknesses of pettiness, self-doubt, and dependence on the pity of others.

Odysseus reveals his pettiness when he amuses himself with humorous guile. Odysseus not only uses his cunning at the expense of his enemies, but he also uses his cunning and guile as a way of entertaining himself. After Odysseus tells the Cyclops his name is "Noman," Odysseus stabs Polyphemus in the eye and Polyphemus cries for help saying, "Friends, Noman
…show more content…
Because Odysseus doesn’t want any guilt, he puts the blame on others and not himself. One example of this is after Odysseus kills all of the suitors. He explains to Eurycleia that "the gods’ doom and [the suitor’s] reckless deeds destroyed them…So through their own perversity they met a dismal doom" (220), so he should not be blamed. Odysseus’ avoidance of the responsibility is brought on by his arrogance. He thinks of himself to be above death. One of Homer’s epic similes illustrates Odysseus’ arrogance when "he found them all laid low in blood and dust, and in such numbers as the fish which fishermen draw to the shelving shore out of the foaming sea in meshy nets; these all, sick for the salt wave, lie heaped upon the sands, while the resplendent sun takes life away: so lay the suitors, heaped on one another" (219). Odysseus thinks of the suitors as no more than fish. Taking responsibility comes form respect of others, so Odysseus can’t accept responsibility for something he doesn’t have respect for.

When Odysseus is not being petty, he is troubled with doubt of his physical challenges. When guided by the immortal gods, Odysseus is quite confident, but when he is faced with a challenge by himself, or what appears to be by himself, he is filled with self-doubt. After Circe tells Odysseus of his next journey to Hades, Odysseus’ forehead rankles and he says, "But, Circe, who will be my pilot on this
Open Document