An Archetypal Hero Odysseus

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Homer’s The Odyssey Essay

A hero is defined as: a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal”. The definition of a hero is someone who is respected for doing something great, and is respected for doing so. An average hero, also has flaws to accompany his heroic acts.

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Archetypal heroes are people who do noble or heroic things, accomplish his or her goals, or are looked up to by others. Archetypal heroes also have a crucial flaw, which serves as an imperfection that can often affect the hero themselves or others around them. Odysseus, the protagonist in the epic, is a good example of an archetypal hero. Odysseus does so by accomplishing his goals and overcoming obstacles, but has flaws that can get him involved in new conflicts.

Odysseus shows the traits of a hero by accomplishing his goals, and overcoming any obstacles he happens to face. For example, in the section of the book where Odysseus and his crew are about to pass the island of the sirens, that also pose a great deal of danger to them all. Odysseus chooses to be honest to his crew, and explain how that they are in danger: “Friends” it’s wrong for only one or two to know the revelations that lovely Circe made to me alone. I’ll tell you all, so we can die with our eyes wide open now or escape out fate and certain death together.” (Book 12, lines 166-170) Odysseus was being honest to his crew, to tell them to prepare for danger, telling them that people will die, and that nobody will be safe along their journey. This is a heroic act, because Odysseus is doing something that can save the lives of his crew.

Odysseus also saves his crew from the sirens as they are about to encounter them: “Now with a sharp sword I sliced an ample wheel of beeswax down into pieces, kneaded them in my two strong hands and the wax soon grew soft, worked by my strength and Helios’ burning rays, the sun at high noon, and I stopped the ears of my comrades one by one.” (Book 12, lines 189-193). By deafening his crew, Odysseus is saving them from the Sirens. The Sirens kill people by drawing anyone passing their island with their songs. After the person is drawn in, the only way to reach the island is by boat. Their ship would hit the rocky perimeter of the island, destroying their ship, and leaving the crew to drown. By making sure that his crew cannot hear the Sirens and that they won’t be drawn in by the Sirens. This impacts Odysseus journey by making his crew survive one of the obstacles they all had to face.

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