The Odyssey is a story about Odysseus return home, and the struggles he faces. Odysseus is a king who is deeply respected for his combat triumphs and heroism in the trojan war. He is missing for 10 years and his wife Penelope longs for his return. With the help of goddess Athena a mission is made to get him back, and The Odyssey follows his return.
On line 7, readers learn a little bit about the character of Odysseus. He is described as a man that was “fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home”. Here readers get to see the deep care that he has for his soldiers, and his unsuccessful attempt at bringing them home. Also on page 77 readers hear about the might he has by plundering Troy, which is a humongous feat. Later on, in line 78 Zeus describes him as “[He] excels all men in wisdom, excels in offerings too”. Here readers learn about the wisdom that Athena mentioned Odysseus had, being reaffirmed by Zeus. These are some of the strengths that readers see mentioned about Odysseus.
There is some small less obvious weaknesses of Odysseus mentioned. For one, in “Book 5” the issue that he finds himself in with Calypso. He is at a crossroads with wanting to stay with Calypso, but also being sad about it as well as telling her that his wife doesn’t compare to her. This seems to be a weakness in him, but he does eventually say that he wants to “see the dawn of [his] return”. Another weakness is his distrust of people. For example, he distrusts Calypso when she says she is going to let him leave her in peace. He accuses her of “plotting something else” and makes her swear she is not up to something bad. Another example is when Leucothea offers him her immortal scarf. He distrusts her and it almost costs him his life, as he was able to have used to prior to when the final wave was sent to destroy him and the raft he was on.
In conclusion, Odysseus seems to be an overall interesting character with both good and bad traits. Whether or not he is a good leader seems to be a question that is unanswered to readers. Although he has had a 10 year absence he is under this sort of spell from Calypso to stay there and weep for his family and his kingdom. It could be criticized that if he wished to be a better ruler he would have fought harder to return instead of staying with Calypso. In terms of military leadership he seems to be gifted and able to inspire men. This balance of good and bad traits will greatly affect his journey home.
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