Odysseus is definitely an epic hero and may even be one of the greatest epic heroes of all time. The Odyssey by Homer is an epic poem about Odysseus’ journey back home from winning the Trojan War.
His story follows the hero’s journey and shows how Odysseus may be an epic hero. A few key traits an epic hero would typically have are strength, loyalty, courage, and intelligence. Odysseus most definitely meets the expectations of an epic hero. Odysseus and his crew have gotten into many tough situations on their journey home, but Odysseus’ strength, courage, and intelligence have help get him and his crew out of those certain situations. His loyalty drives him to keep moving forward on the very long journey he has home.
Homer portrays Odysseus as an epic hero during the course of the Odyssey because of his admirable traits, courageous actions, and his love for homeland. The first trait that makes Odysseus an epic hero is that he is very intelligent. His eloquence and very bright and quick way of thinking has gotten Odysseus and his crew out of many tough situations. One situation was when Odysseus and his men were trapped in the Cyclops Polyphemus’s cave. Odysseus used his intelligence and tricked the Cyclops. Odysseus says to the Cyclops, “Cyclops. you ask my honorable name?..
. My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy.” (Homer 295-299). He tricked the Cyclops by saying his name was “Nobody.” So, when Odysseus stabbed the cyclops in the eye, Polyphemus couldn’t tell anyone who did it because “Nobody” did it. Odysseus and his curiosity is what got them in the situation in the first place, but his intelligence is what got them out in no time. Another trait that made Odysseus an epic hero was his courage and strength. First of all, it was very courageous of Odysseus to leave his home to fight in the Trojan War because he could have risked many things.
He never knew when he would come home or if he even would. His wife may have married another man and his son might have to grow up without a father, but Odysseus still went to fight. A situation he specifically showed courage in was when he was in Polyphemus the Cyclops cave. Odysseus said, “We beached there, and I told the crew to stand by and keep watch over the ship; as for myself I took my twelve best fighters and went ahead.” (Homer 117-120). Odysseus was courageous enough to take himself and a few of his other men onto the island knowing he would risk a lot.
All his men panicked but Odysseus kept his cool. When Odysseus and his men were stuck in Polyphemus’ cave, Odysseus stabbing the cyclops showed lots of courage too. Odysseus needed to take many risks on his journey home and his courage is what helped him to actually take those risks. Odysseus was also fiercely loyal to his family, home, and even his “crew.” Odysseus’ main goal throughout the entire book was to get home to his family and his home.
The loyalty he had to his family, his people, and his homeland is what kept him going. Odysseus says, “Where shall a man find sweetness to surpass his own home and his parents?” (Homer 18-19). Odysseus definitely has a lot of love for his homeland. Calypso may have kept Odysseus with her for a few years because she loved him, but Odysseus never gave in. Honor and pride are two very important qualities an epic hero should probably have. Odysseus is also not willing to leave any of his men behind. Odysseus felt a lot of loyalty and compassion for his men and as a result of that, he describes losing his men as one of the worst moments he has ever had to suffer through.
Odysseus said, “Six benches were left empty in every ship that evening when we pulled away from death. And this new grief we bore with us to sea: our precious lives we had, but not our friends.” (Homer 46-49). This regards life as precious and shows how he feels extreme grief for the loss of friends. Odysseus had to watch many of his men die and he knew he couldn’t even do anything about it.
He just had to sit there and watch, but he couldn’t let that ruin him. He had to keep moving forward on his journey home, which was what he wanted most: to go home. Odysseus has all of the traits that an epic hero would typically have. His strength and intelligence has helped him escape many different situations. His loyalty to his family and homeland is what keeps him going on his journey. It’s what keeps him moving forward even when he wants to quit. These qualities in Odysseus are portrayed throughout the entire poem and Odysseus wouldn’t be a hero without him.
Because of these reasons, Odysseus is an epic hero and may be one of the greatest epic heroes to ever be created.