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Odysseus is not a Hero He Seems to Be

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In the 21st century, I would consider a hero a person who commits acts of courageousness and kindness. Many people would recognize this individual as a true hero if they did these acts for the sake of helping others. After fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus travels back to his home country Ithica. While on his adventure, he truly shows his arrogance, unforgivingness, and ignorance. After deeply examining his adventures and actions Odysseus is not the “hero” he may seem to be. Odysseus may give off the impression that he is a hero, but many of his actions of “courageous or kindness” while at places such as the Cyclops island, the Sirens, and Ithica are only ways to gain kleos or honor. As I have noted before, Odysseus is on the false pretense of helping others.

To begin, Odysseus’s actions on the Cyclops’s island were ignorant of him and dangerous for his crew. In Book X, they state it, “The men begged me first to let them help themselves to the cheeses and be off” … “But I would not listen” … “I say, Cyclops! If ever anyone asks you who put out your ugly, tell him your blinder was Odysseus, the conqueror of Troy, the son of Laertes, whose address is in Ithaca”. These quotes reassure Odysseus’s ignorance, as he had many smart men advising him, but he only listened to one person himself. This ignorance later led to the death of other men. Even after Odysseus finishes distracting the Cyclops, he had to make sure he would get his “honor” by telling Polyphemus it was him who punctured his eye. This was an inconsiderate act for him to do as wasted precious time to get away and led to him to furthermore cursed by Poseidon. This is best said by the author Lloyd Alexander, “Every man is a hero if he strives more for others than for himself alone.”

Following Odysseus’s statements and actions, he almost carried out at Scylla and Charybdis shows his hubris and his ego. In Book XII, they state it, “Suppose I slip away from Charybdis, and show fight when the other attacks my men” … “She answered at once, ‘You hot-head! Fighting and asking for trouble is all you care about”. These quotes reassure Odysseus’s arrogance, as Odysseus believes he is strong enough to fight an immortal being and would risk more men dying rather than listing to a wise nymph. He tries to boost his ego by trying to show his strength, but would not consider his actions would affect how his men. Odysseus wanted others to know of his “strength” by being recognized as the man who “defeated” Charybdis not considering all the factors.

Last but not least, Odysseus’s actions on Ithica made against his maids showed his unforgivingness. In Book XXII, they say it, “Drive out the women between the domed house and the courtyard wall, and run your swords through them; kill them all and teach them to forget their secret bussing and cuddling with these giant gallants”. This quote personifies Odysseus’s unforgivingness and cold-heartedness. Odysseus did not need to kill all those women just to show his “loyalty” to his people. He did not even consider that they treated the maids as slaves. With his reasoning, it shows his unjust reasoning and hypocrisy as he has slept with other women such as Calypso. Odysseus just wanted to seems like a hero to his home place, but he does not care about morals to gain the title.

To conclude, Odysseus may seem to be a hero, but retrospectively he is not. He is a very arrogant, unforgiving, and ignorant person. Odysseus is very egotistical, putting himself first before others. He commits acts and such to be in the spotlight as a “great” person. Again you see all his qualities exemplified while he is at the Cyclops island, the Sirens, and Ithica. As I had noted before, a true hero is a person who commits acts of kindness and courageousness for the sake of helping others.     

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Odysseus Is Not A Hero He Seems To Be. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from
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