January 6, 2009
Odyssey Analytical Paper
What is considered heroism? Is it only strength and courage? Is being hospitable to anyone and loyal to people who are close to you also a part of being a hero? What about being cunning and coming up with clever ideas to get you and the people around you out of trouble? All of these things make up the characteristics of a hero. Although Odysseus makes many mistakes in his life, he is still incredibly cunning and is a bold hero because of his courageous actions. His heroic actions do not always mean using physical strength, but could mean any one of these things.
One of the most obvious ways that Odysseus shows his heroism is through the incident of the Cyclopes. While trapped in Polyphemus’ cave, Odysseus concocts a master plan to get Polyphemus drunk and then to blind him. While having some wine, Odysseus and the Cyclops converse about many things. Then, Polyphemus asks Odysseus to reveal his identity. Odysseus then says, “Noman is my name. / They call me Noman- My mother, my father, / And all my friends too.” (Book 9, 364-365) This lie seems nonsense at first but adds a clever and humorous twist to the necessity of keeping the other Cyclopes from rescuing Polyphemus as Odysseus and his crew try to escape. When the giant Cyclops falls asleep from too much wine, Odysseus and his crew sharpen a large spear and prepare to attack him. They stab the spear into his one large eye. Polyphemus shrieks “Noman is killing me!” The other Cyclopes think that the gods are doing this to Polyphemus and therefore decide not to interfere. This illustrates his bold heroism because he not only used his physical strength to defeat the Cyclops, but he used his intelligence to devise a plan to escape and to not get caught while escaping. He managed to save himself along with his crew.
Odysseus also shows his heroism in another form. While staying in his own house, he is in guise as a beggar who sleeps on...