Free research paper example on Odyssey:
In the novel The Odyssey the main character Odysseus is the ruler of a land called Ithaca, he is a very powerful man who embarks on a journey to fight the Trojans in the city of Troy. Along the way he shows some very interesting characteristics of being a hero. His strength, courage, and above all cleverness; give him the tools he needs to return to his home of Ithaca to his loving wife Penelope and son, Telemachos.
Odysseus is now making his way back to Ithaca, He is very emotional and shows his emotions for he misses his wife and son and is beginning to become extremely homesick. While traveling the sea Odysseus boat capsizes and most of his crew perishes to the treacherous waters of Poseidon. Odysseus however manages to stay alive and show unbelievable strength and unmasks his physical fitness when he treads water for nine days “After that he tossed for about two days and two nights and two days on the rolling waves always looking for death. Even though Odysseus was looking for death, his strength overcomes him and he’s able to survive through the 2 days and 2 nights “When you drag a squid out of its hole, you may see a lot of little stones in its suckers; that is what his strong hands looked like, with rags of skin and flesh and bits of rock along his fingers, when the wave swallowed him up(Homer71). Odysseus was even able to make his way onto an island after brutally being bashed about in the sea and on the coral. It takes a great mount of strength to be able to survive this furious beating. (Homer70).
Along with Odysseus’ incredible strength comes an amazing amount of stamina and a very high threshold for pain. After he tosses for nine days and finally sees land He swims quite a way to get to the land still fighting and still finding a way to survive. Odysseus has some doubts but with the help of the goddess Athena he pulls through and manages to get upon land “And then Odysseus would have perished, fate or no fate, if Athena had not put prudence into his mind. He got clear of the line of breakers foaming upon the shore, and swam along outside, keeping his eye on the land.(Homer71).
At this point in the novel The Odyssey, Odysseus shows his remarkable and heroic trait of courage. Odysseus and his men end up on the island of Circe. Circe is a witch who turns Odysseus’ men into animals. Two of his men manage to escape and tell their leader of the horrible things they saw. Odysseus plans to rescue them and leave the island in hopes of returning to Ithaca. By Odysseus not leaving his men they’re to perish and deciding to rescue them shows his unbelievable courage, and disregard for his own safety тАЬGo I must and go I will this shows Odysseus’ heroic ability, because he worries about is men, not himself, this is a remarkable trait of a true hero (Homer117). Odysseus counters the beautiful witches’ spell by sleeping with her and freeing his men. He realizes that she has put him under a spell anyway and what he thinks was a week was really a year and he decides to leave the Island at once.
After leaving the Island of Circe, she instructs Odysseus to go and visit the island of the dead. This is no ordinary island, for it is full of fire and torture and suffering all unbearable to any normal man. Odysseus goes by himself and speaks to his mother who killed herself while he was away, тАЬThen came the soul of my dead mother, AnticleiaтАжShe was alive when I left Ithaca on my voyage to the sacred Ilion. My tears fell when I saw her, and I was moved with pity(Homer125). This event shows that even though Odysseus is a strong and noble hero he can have his gentler and softer side, which he shows when he sees his mother. Odysseus also sees his friend Agamemnon who died at the battle of Troy.
Odysseus meets with Teiresias, a blind prophet on the island of the dead he tells Odysseus of the troubles he will face in the upcoming weeks and years in his life. The prophet predicts also how Odysseus will die, which comes later in his life. He says he will die an old man while at sea, but before that he must face a very troubling task upon his return to Ithaca. (Homer125)
Finally, the one heroic trait that Odysseus reveals about himself comes into play when he is on the island of the Cyclops. He shows his remarkable cleverness and resourcefulness, upon entering the Cyclop’s cave. Before Odysseus goes into the Cyclop’s cave he brings wine because he figured he might need it for some odd reason. тАЬThen I told the rest of my men to wait for me and look after the ship, but I picked out twelve of my best men I had and we set out. I took with me a goatskin of ruby wine, delicious wine which I had from Maron Euanthides, a priest of Apollo who was protecting god of Ismarosт(Homer104).
Odysseus and his men enter the cave of the Cyclops, and start helping themselves to his food and other provisions he has stored in his cave. The Cyclops walks in to find these mortals helping themselves to his food and drink, but does nothing since Odysseus cleverly talks the Cyclops into sitting with them and drinking some of Odysseus’ wine. He asks for Odysseus’ name and he replies he is named, Noman, Odysseus knew about the prophet telling the Cyclops of his actual name and to avoid the deathful hand of the Cyclops he makes up a fake name that the Cyclops absurdly believes three times the fool drank. At last when the wine had got into his head, I said to him in the greatest of tones: Cyclops do you ask me my name? Well I shall tell you, and you will give me a stranger’s due you promised. I am Noman, Noman is the name my mother and father call me and all my friendsт(Homer107).
The Cyclops bought Odysseus’ story, after all the wine he drank, and eventually fell asleep. Odysseus now has to use his clever powers to figure out a way to get out of the Cyclop’s cave. He first thinks about killing the Cyclops but realizes that there is a big boulder in the way of the opening to the cave, and they will need the Cyclops to move it. Odysseus then devises, he plans to take the Cyclops staff, sharpen it, make the tip red hot from the fire they built, and drive it straight into the Cyclop’s enormous eye. The Cyclops then is in such pain he is screaming and writhing in pain and he moves the boulder, at this point he is swinging for a prisoner and carefully Odysseus and his men maneuver by the Cyclops and escape to the sea.
This is one trait that Odysseus has that almost gets him into the worst-case scenario, his stubbornness. Odysseus starts to call back to the Cyclops, shouting his true identity and bragging how easy it was to defeat the gigantic Cyclops say Cyclops! If ever any one asks you who put out your ugly eye, tell him your plunderer was, Odysseus, the conqueror of Troy, son of Laertes, whose address is in Ithaca(Homer110).
The heroic feats of Odysseus give him the title of a mortal hero. Even though he has shown some weakness along the way, which only shows that he is mortal and does have feelings. Besides that the heroic duties he had accomplished are far more noticeable than any flaw he may have. He conquered the gigantic Cyclops, he rescued his men from Circe the beautiful witch, and he showed great courage when he went by himself into the island of the dead. These examples overshadowing many other small ones show that Odysseus is a hero and that he does possess God-like traits, which make him the man that he is.
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