Odysseus the Hero


In The Odyssey, Homer’s main character, Odysseus, shows many great traits of a hero. What exactly is a hero? Is it someone who has reasonable beliefs? Or is it a person whose actions speak louder than their beliefs? Odysseus combines both beliefs and action into one astonishing package, which really makes him stand out to be an epic hero. Homer proves Odysseus to be an amazing hero by having him consider his consequences, think of all his men as one, and use courage to help him get through the tasks that were there for him to overcome.


Odysseus is able to reason and evaluate things, so he often hesitated before taking action. During The Odyssey this hesitation really paid off for Odysseus. One example of this rewarding hesitation is when Odysseus was in the cave and all his men wanted him to kill the Cyclops. But because Odysseus thought ahead about what the outcomes would be, they did not kill the Cyclops right away. If Odysseus would have acted immediately on his men’s word they would have been stuck in the cave and most likely would have died. Another example is at the very end of The Odyssey when Odysseus returned home, disguised as a beggar, he learned his men had betrayed him. Although Odysseus was quite angry at them he did not act on this situation, one reason he did not was because Odysseus knew that his revenge would be greater. Odysseus also knew if he would have acted on this situation then the suitors would have known it was him and his plan of revenge would not have worked. Odysseus really understood that the choices he made would lead to consequences, so he was very wise about what choices he made. He’s careful considerations of acting upon a situation were ways Odysseus showed that he was a hero.


Most of the time when people think of a hero, they think of someone who has helped them get to where they are today. Odysseus helps many men throughout The Odyssey, mostly his own men. Odysseus did not think of himself first, he thought of his men, and acted as though they were all one. This is shown throughout the whole epic poem. When the men arrive at Lotus Island, Odysseus was very careful, he only let a few of the men out of the ship. He did not let them all out because he did not know what was on the island. From this action, it is easy to see that Odysseus did not want to lose men and that all of his men where important to him. It is a good thing that Odysseus did not let them all out or else the lotus flower would have made them want to stay on the island. When Odysseus had to go between Scylla and Charybdis he was very cautious not to get to close to either of them. For if he would have come close to one of them, most of his men would have died. These examples explain Odysseus to be a hero, when thought that a hero is someone that helps others.


In order to be a hero, Odysseus had to have one major thing that set him apart from others, that one thing was courage. When reading The Odysseus it seemed that Odysseus was not afraid of anything. Traveling for twenty years is pretty remarkable when thought about. Twenty years is a long time, even his own wife thought he was dead, but Odysseus never gave up. Not giving up, no matter how hard the task is quite heroic. Included in those twenty years of traveling from and for home Odysseus faced many obstacles along the way. The one that took the most courage would have had to have been the fight against the suitors. Just think, a few men fighting against one hundred and fourteen foreign men. There was little chance that Odysseus’ side would win, but with the help of the gods and Odysseus’ wise plan they did. Odysseus illustrates a lot of courage within the entire epic poem.


Although Homer made Odysseus’ character contain somewhat larger than life qualities, the hero in him went back down