Odysseus Courage Essay

As the hero of Homer's famous poem, Odysseus is more or less constantly performing acts of heroism and bravery. However, there are a few exceptional examples of Odysseus' bravery that are worth dwelling on. The Cyclops episode, for instance, is perhaps one of the best examples of Odysseus' legendary courage. 

Odysseus meets Polyphemus the Cyclops when the monstrous beast traps him and his men in a cave and threatens to eat them alive (only after,...

As the hero of Homer's famous poem, Odysseus is more or less constantly performing acts of heroism and bravery. However, there are a few exceptional examples of Odysseus' bravery that are worth dwelling on. The Cyclops episode, for instance, is perhaps one of the best examples of Odysseus' legendary courage. 

Odysseus meets Polyphemus the Cyclops when the monstrous beast traps him and his men in a cave and threatens to eat them alive (only after, of course, he actually makes good on this promise and stuffs several of them into his mouth). However, while the Cyclops is sleeping, Odysseus summons the courage to sharpen a wooden stake and use it to gouge out the monster's eye. Odysseus' bravery rescues his men from certain death (although they ultimately meet their end in other equally grisly ways). 

While Odysseus shows his bravery in facing the Cyclops, however, he also displays his supremely troublesome arrogance. While he is rowing away from the island, Odysseus taunts Polyphemus, prompting the monster pray to his father, Poseidon, and doom Odysseus to many years of toiling and wandering. As such, even if Odysseus is undeniably brave, his is also undeniably foolish and arrogant.

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Odysseus Defines a Hero in The Odyssey 

 

How do you define a hero? Some may define a hero as someone with great courage and bravery; to others a hero might be a strong warrior and leader who wins battles; others may define a hero as one who uses his brain as much as his brawn to win. In Homer's epic poem, Odyssey, Odysseus is portrayed as a hero by every definition.

            Courage and bravery are two things that Odysseus has a lot of.  This is evident when he defies the god Poseidon, telling him that he is unstoppable. Odysseus then gets back on his ship on starts to sail on Poseidon's waters back to Ithaca. Pride is good to have, but in Odysseus’s case, it’s a little too much. On the other hand, he does things that make him a great hero. When Circeturned his crew into animals, he climbed straight up a mountain, risking his life just to save his crew. He will do anything to get back to Ithaca and see his wife and son, no matter how crazy it is. He even goes into the underworld to speak to a prophet about how to get back to Ithaca. Being  brave and courageous is all about being willing and able to go to the extremes to help or possibly save people or even a place in need.

As well as having courage and bravery, Odysseus is also a strong warrior and leader. Living as king of Ithaca, he leads his fleet of warriors across Poseidon’s sea into a great battle against the Trojans. It is here where Odysseus and his fleet of warriors defeated the Trojans because of his great leadership. Knowing that he cannot defeat the Trojans from outside the immense walls, he comes up with a different plan. A plan that will get him through the walls with a little help from Poseidon. He makes a giant wooden horse (Trojan Horse) and has a person present it as a gift to accept a peace with them. The Trojans accept the gift and open the walls for the horse, not knowing that inside the horse was Odysseus and a small fleet of soldiers. The Trojans had a great celebration for what they thought was a victory. As the Trojans finally went to sleep, Odysseus and his fleet crept out of the horse and completely slaughtered the Trojans in a very bloody battle. Ithaca was victorious and the soldiers could now return back home happy, all because of the great leadership of Odysseus. Odysseus and his soldiers were mighty warriors and did have the strength to defeat the Trojans, but Odysseus used something that was more powerful than his strength - intelligence.

Intelligence is the one thing that Odysseus has the most of and also the reason why he not only defeated the Trojans, but also survived the great journey he went through to get back to Ithaca. Throughout the story, Odysseus often hesitates before acting. This being because he uses his reason and his gift of intelligence to evaluate what the situation is. This patience is one of his most important attributes. It has saved him and his men many times, and can be easily seen in numerous instances throughout his journey, not only when he makes the wooden horse, but times such as when he disguises himself as a beggar when he finally reached Ithaca. Here he used his patience and waited for the right moment to reveal himself. Many people in his situation would’ve been too anxious to wait and would immediately show who he was, risking a chance of being killed. Odysseus hesitated and used his reason to think of a better way to show himself. He succeeds and things work out just the way he wants.  

            Like many heroes, Odysseus does have weaknesses such as his chronic cheating problem and his problem with pride. Nonetheless, Odysseus survived all that happened to him. His courage, bravery, wits, and endurance enable him to come through each and every challenge and eventually arrive home safely. Thus proving himself worthy of being a true hero.

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