Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad, has many strengths and weaknesses. During his journey home, he shows himself as a courageous, smart, and confident leader. But, he has flaws. His arrogance, pride, quick temper, and stubbornness often lead him to dangerous situations.
Odysseus is a hero of Homer’s epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. He is the king of Ithaca, who tries to get home after the Trojan War. The journey takes him and his men ten years. During this time, they have to go through different adventures. These include battles with monsters, a visit to the afterlife, and the rage of God Poseidon. These challenges demonstrate Odysseus’s character in all its complexity.
Throughout the whole poem, Odysseus is portrayed as a man of wisdom, determination, and courage. He is a smart and intelligent leader. Besides, he is a brave warrior, skillful sailor, and loving husband and father. Many epic heroes are famous for their virtues. In comparison to them, Odysseus becomes a victim of his shortcomings. His arrogance and quick temper often get him in trouble.
The encounter with Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, shows the hero’s character. The episode highlights Odysseus’ main personal strengths and weaknesses. While visiting the island, the cyclops captures Odysseus and his men. Later, Odysseus manages to get into a conversation with Polyphemus. The hero tricks him into thinking that his name is Nobody. Then, he makes the cyclops drunk, and blinds him. While Polyphemus cries, “Nobody has blinded me”, Odysseus and the crew leave. Instead of escaping without making a noise, Odysseus shouts his name out. He is not able to let this heroic deed stay anonymous. The cyclops tale reveals Odysseus’ pride and vanity. However, the episode shows the courage and intelligence of the hero, as well. It makes the readers respect his intellect and be warned at the same time.
Throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus also demonstrated other weaknesses. The episode with Helios’ cattle depicted Odysseus’ stubbornness. Ignoring all the warnings, he made the decision that cost the lives of his men. However, Homer shows his other strong qualities. Odysseus is determined and confident. His leadership allowed him and his men to get past Scylla and Charybdis monsters. He is willing to get home to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus. His family motivates him to remain strong and tackle obstacles without giving up.
Like any hero of the epic, Odysseus goes through many trials. He overcomes them by using his main heroic trait – “cunning intelligence.” However, despite being extraordinarily smart and witty, he makes mistakes and rash decisions. This controversy makes him almost a modern character. He is a person with complicated nature and conflicts. His story is the most remarkable tale ever told.
Odysseus, as a character, has become one of the most frequently portrayed figures in Western literature. Many generations of artists wanted to reinterpret the archetypal figure of Odysseus. From the early Christian writers to James Joyce, Batman comics creators, Margaret Atwood, and the Coen brothers directors. The reason is the remarkably human character of Odysseus. It combined both strengths and weaknesses, as any person does.