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The Odyssey Essay

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Odyssey Essay

Jack Densmore

Honors English I--Mrs. Hecker

The Odyssey Essay

The Odyssey is a book called an epic written by the blind poet Homer about the homeward travels of Odysseus, an Ithacan warrior. The story is proclaimed the best epic of all time. Odysseus takes 20 years to return to his home of Ithaca after leaving for the Trojan War. In the book, he longs to reunite with his love Penelope and his son Telemachus. Odysseus possesses traits in The Odyssey that match an epic hero. However, he also posesses character flaws. Odysseus conveys great character flaws that cause his crew and him harm In The Odyssey.

Odysseus clearly posseses the traits of an epic hero, which is a person in an epic who demonsrates supernatural abilities, is charged with a quest, assisted by the gods or mythical beings, enters a forbidden realm, and brings restoration. Odysseus shows all of these characteristics. There are many illustrations of Odysseus' hero image, with the example of Odysseus being charged with a quest when the witch Circe sends him to the prophet Tieresias in the underworld. This also proves that his qualities are ones of an epic hero when he enters the forbidden realm of the underworld. He also receives help form the gods on many occasions, with the example of when Zeus sends Hermes to rescue Odysseus from the nymph Calypso's island.

...Hermes flew

Until the distant island lay ahead,

Then rising shoreward from the violet ocean

He stepped from the cave. (5.44-47)

The quote above shows Hermes going to rescue Odysseus from the nymph Calypso. It is quite clear that Odysseus is made out to be an epic hero in the story.

While it is evident that Odysseus conveys the image of an epic hero, he also possesses qualities that are far from perfect. Homer did not include many character flaws in the mighty Ithacan general, but evidence shows Odysseus does have a few flaws. The first example of Odysseus' shortcomings is when Odysseus and his crew stealthily escape the island of Polyphemus, the cyclops. Instead of staying quiet and sail away from the island undetected, Odysseus yells to the cyclops:

'Cyclops

If ever mortal mad inqure

How you were put to shame and blinded, tell him

Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye:

Laertes' son, whose home is on Ithaca!' (9. 502-505)

This is a foolish thing for Odysseus to say because Polyphemus is the son of

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