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In Webster’s English Dictionary, a hero is described as a person of exceptional bravery or a person admired for superior qualities and achievements. A hero can be a person who saves lives, helps others, or a person who stands up to someone or something, who the person has no chance against. In Homers, “The Odyssey” Odysseus is recognized as a hero because he has done many things to earn this respect. Odysseus has used his intelligence to save his men from Cyclops and the sirens, his courageousness to save his men from Circe and the sirens, and he also shows responsibility towards his men when he saves them from Circe and Cyclops. Odysseus is recognized as a hero as he illustrates intelligence, bravery, and responsibility.
Odysseus is considered one of the great Greek heroes and one of those reasons is his cleverness. Odysseus wisely tricked Cyclops, when he is asked what his name is, he responds by saying “My name is Nobody” (285). Odysseus cleverly predicted that Cyclops would ask him this question. This is later on revealed that the name ‘Nobody’ he told Cyclops, was his scheme. When they attack Cyclops, Cyclops calls out to his neighbors, that nobody is attacking him. The neighbour Cyclops’ think that Polyphemus is talking in his sleep “If nobody is attacking you, you must be dreaming” (286). This allows Odysseus and his men to advance forward to the next step in their plan. When Odysseus and his men are trying to escape from Cyclops, he comes up with the idea to hold on to the sheep from their bellies, so the wounded Cyclops would not catch them. The sailors are holding on to the biggest sheep and Odysseus is hanging on to the largest ram. Cyclops did not notice them exiting, leaving Cyclops tricked. He used his quick thinking in escaping Cyclops which is quite similar to the situation where they were passing the sirens’. Odysseus thought, if they put wax in their ears, they will not here the sirens’. When they were passing the sirens’ he said “Put this wax in your ears so that you cannot hear them” (296). If he did not get the idea of putting wax in their ears, the sailors would have resulted in being hypnotized by the sirens’ and maybe crashing the ship into big rocks. This advances the plot by enabling Odysseus and the sailors to pass the sirens’. He makes use of his intelligence to get past the sirens and Cyclops, which reflects to the superior qualities in the definition for a hero and he also possesses attributes like bravery.
Odysseus shows courage in his journey in many different ways. He displays courage when he is leaving Circe’s island. Circe warns Odysseus “… before you reach your home you must take a strange and difficult journey” (294). Despite Circe’s caution, he accepts the challenge, knowing that the journey would be bizarre and complicated. Odysseus sets off for the journey and faces obstacles along the way like the sirens’. When they have to pass by the sirens, he says, “… I shall hear the sirens’ song and live” (296). Odysseus courageously stands up to sirens to show that he is the first and maybe the only man to survive the sirens. Passing the sirens requires bravery and so does saving someone else’s life while risking their own. When Odysseus is on Circe’s island, he goes and stands up for his men which have been caught by Circe. Euryolochus suggests that they go back to the ship and try to get home to Ithaca, but Odysseus refuses to “…I must go to them” (291). He wants to go and save Hylax and Peremides from Circe, so he risks his own life for theirs. Odysseus displays courage by accepting the journey from Circe, listening to the sirens, and going off to save his sailors from Circe, which all connects to a person of exceptional bravery in the definition for a hero as Odysseus also shows responsibility.
Odysseus displays responsibility in many ways for his men throughout his journey back home. He shows responsibility for his men, when Hylax and Perimides turn into pigs. Eurylochus tells Odysseus not to go back to Hylax and Perimides because he thought that they would not make it back to the ship, “… We must escape while we have the chance and with what men we have left” (291). Selfless Odysseus does not care about his life, “Eurylochus, I am their leader. I must go to them. You stay here and guard the ship” (291). Odysseus is going to save Hylax and Perimides whereas Eurylochus stayed behind, with the ship. Odysseus goes to Circe where he has to overcome the potion with the help of Hermes. He threatens Circe with his sword to save his fellow sailors. Circe then turns Hylax and Perimides back into humans. “Thank you, Odysseus! You have saved us!” (293). This shows that Odysseus cares for his men and is willing to fight anybody for them. When they are trapped with Cyclops, Odysseus makes sure that his men are leaving safely. “…Odysseus is the last to start crawling out” (286). Odysseus is leaving last because he wants his men out of harm’s way. He is responsible for his men, and showing it when he is going out to save them from Circe and when they all are escaping Cyclops, which refers to a person admired for superior qualities in the definition given above.
Odysseus is considered a hero in the Greek world because he is very intellectual, courageous, and responsible. Odysseus utilizes these attributes throughout his journey back home. He passes a lot difficult obstacles in his journey but still manages to bring himself and most of his men back home to Ithaca. He is known as a hero because he possesses these attributes which he uses right through the journey. Odysseus uses his talents to overcome hard and complicated barriers which results in saving himself and his men.
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