Odysseus Character of Homer's Poem 'The Odyssey"

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Odysseus is the brave and cheerful character of Homer’s poem ‘The Odyssey”, the oldest written monument of Greek literature. The ancient Greeks listened to the stories about the adventures of a cunning traveler performed by singers. This story is still popular nowadays, and it has not lost its popularity over the centuries. This is due to the fact that Odysseus has many qualities that people always valued, regardless of our time and people’s nationality.

In the poem, Odesues appears as a real hero who accomplishes feats. Moreover, his main achievements are not visible on the battlefield, but among the temptations of monsters and other mythological creatures. He is often dodgy and cunning, and these qualities have the same importance as honesty or decency on his journey back home. Odysseus in the poem is often awarded the specification of cunning. His cunning has many sides and shades. The goddess Athena confirms that even the gods cannot compete with Odysseus in being clever and his ability to prevent dangerous situations with his cleverness. Odysseus is not like other great Greek heroes, he uses cunning over his physical strength. The former example is Odysseus’ conflict with the Cyclopes, where Odysseus shows cleverness the most. He deceives the Cyclope Polyphemus by sharing pure wine to get the one-eyed monster to fall asleep and in the end, prevail the creature by stabbing him in his only eye. Another thing that helped Odysseus to get away from being consumed by the son of Poseidon is introducing himself as “Nobody”. “Nobody–so my mother and father call me, all my friends” . This quote and situations overall represent Odysseus as a smart and cunning hero who was able to predict what potentially could happen in the monster’s trap and uses this knowledge to dispose of a dangerous situation. One more example of the main character showing his cunning is clear in book XIII when he returned back home. To accomplish the last stride of his journey, Athena had to bring him into a deep sleep, by using her powers. Odysseus wakes up without knowing where he is. The hero is so confused to a certain extent that he can’t even understand he is on his own land. The goddess of war and wisdom appears in front of him and starts questioning the hero. Odesyus being loyal to his characteristics does not answer her clearly, he hides his true identity and tells the goddess a lie about his origin and why he is on the island. Odysseus is Athena’s favorite hero, as she helps him during the whole story. The goddess appreciates Odysseus’ attributes and that’s how she tests a mortal hero.

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Odyseus is a leader, he is a great fighter and a man with a strong personality. Along with the book, Odyseus describes himself as a hero, believing that he is invincible, not even the gods can defeat him. The great Greek hero is a very selfish person by his own nature. His selfishness is visible from the beginning of the book, until the very end. As an example, Odyseus and his crew were caught on Circe’s island. The witch turned his people into pigs, but with Hermes’ help, the great hero overcomes Circe, and the witch turns his crew back into a human shape. They all get an invitation to get rest and have food to restore their strength. As the whole crew was trapped in the animal’s body by Circe, they all have doubts, and one man Eurylochus had the courage to face his master Odyseus. Since Odyseus couldn’t tolerate disagreement with his statement, he started being angry and started acing stubborn. Only because Odysseus’ people were imploring him to leave the island after spending one year there, and they will to see their homeland, afterward he agreed. “They made me feel a pang, and I agreed” that was Odyseus respond to their begging. If Odyseus truly cared about his loved ones, along with his crew, the journey would be briefer and wouldn’t last for 10 years after the conclusion of the Trojan War.

As mentioned previously, Odyseus is a very selfish character, and he always finds what will work out for him and his needs. One of the best characteristics of the Ancient Greek hero is being confident about himself, as a result of this Odyseus is going through his journey and overcomes mythological creatures. In today’s world being overconfident about yourself might affect your life and how other people judge you, otherwise in ancient Greece that assisted Odyseus the most. Following the example of how Odyseus and his crew escaped the mythological creatures called sirens. These nymphs with their wonderful songs enchant everyone who approaches their shores and hear their song, they will make everyone forget about the motherland, and about their wives and children.

 The charmed sailors will hurry to approach the island of sirens, where their certain death is awaiting. Onshore unfortunate sailors’ bones are laying, carried away by these marine creatures. The reason why Odyseus wants to hear the Siren’s song is that he was feeling overconfident about his powers. Before leaving Circe’s island, the witch announces to the greek hero what he needs to do to survive the death song ‘ Only myself she bade to hear their song; but bind me with galling cords, to hold me firm, upright against the mast-block,—round it let the rope be wound.’ And so, when the ship was approaching the island, Odysseus, remembering the advice of Circe, covered his crew’s ears with wax and ordered them to tie him to the mast, so that he would not try to rush into the sea and swim to the fateful shore since he wanted to hear their charming song. Fascinated by the marvelous sounds of the siren’s song, Odysseus did not want to sail further. He rushed to the sirens on the island and begged the crew with signs that they would release him. But the crew remembered the previously given command by their leader. They tied Odysseus even tighter to the mast and didn’t stop sailing until the island of sirens was far behind. This episode represents Odyseus overconfidence. He knew that no human alive could stand the temptation of following the sound of the nymph. The hero though he is way more than a regular man, he didn’t consider all the risks of performing this challenge. In the end, it didn’t matter as Odyseus overcome the challenge, and the reader might consider it was a stroke of simple luck.

As we read the material and acquaintances of one of the most popular poems of Homer, the readers can make their own personal opinion about the main character. A really important feature is that Homer is one of the first ancient Greek writers who creates images in which both mind and strength are combined in a character. Odysseus is really cunning, selfish and at the same time, he also has a sharp mind. For the first look, these characteristics are not helpful and might ruin the impression the character causes on the reader, but on the other hand, because of these characteristics (and many others), the main character becomes a hero in people’s eyes and he was able to achieve his goals. 

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