In the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus, a king from Ithaca, is shown as an epic hero as he goes through many trials and temptations. In the poem he is a leader of men and exceptionally better than ordinary men. Odysseus is called to make a difficult journey in this novel where he faces many troubles, but is able to succeed with the help of a guide and the aid of many women. Odysseus proves time and time again that he is an epic hero.
In the poem, Odysseus is a leader to his men and exceeds other men in skill and strength. Odysseus is the king of Ithaca and he is the master to the other men. They are loyal to him and they listen to him most of the time. Odysseus also shows his superiority over ordinary men when he is facing the suitors. None of the suitors could string his bow. They couldn’t match up to his strength. “So they mocked, but Odysseus, mastermind in action, once he’d handled the great bow and scanned every inch...so with his virtuoso ease Odysseus strung his bow”(Fagles 437). Odysseus isn’t just able to string the bow, he is able to do it with ease. Odysseus also displays his great strength when he faces the cyclops Polyphemus. To save his men, he takes a giant stake and stabs it into Polyphemus’s eye. His men wouldn’t have had the strength to do that, but Odysseus is able to.
In the poem Odysseus is called to make a journey where he faces danger, loneliness, and temptations. Odysseus is forced into fighting in the Trojan War and after the war ends, he is punished by Poseidon. Because of his boasting, Poseidon says that Odysseus will never return home. Odysseus doesn’t give up hope and struggles to find his way home. On his journey Odysseus has to face many monsters like Scylla and Charybdis. Even though he is in extreme danger, he still continues on and he gets past them with the advice that Teiresias gave him. Even though he loses many men, he doesn’t give up. Odysseus has to face loneliness on his journey when all of his men have died, and he is floating in the sea by himself. This loneliness combined with the death of his men leaves him extremely sad. The epic poem also shows how Odysseus and his men had to face temptations while they were with the lotus eaters. After eating the lotuses, “crewmen who ate the lotus, the honey-sweet fruit, lost all desire to send a message back, much less return, their only wish to linger there with the Lotus-eaters, grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home dissolved forever”(Fagles 214). When he and his men are tempted to stay with the lotus eaters forever, he overcomes the temptations and gets his men to get back on the ship.
On Odysseus’s journey, he overcomes obstacles with a help of a guide and the help of many women. In the poem, Athena is always there to help Odysseus. She gives him advice and pushes him forward. While Odysseus is attacking the she encourages him and says, “Where’s it gone, Odysseus-your power, your fighting heart?”(Fagles 446). Athena goads him along to make him succeed. Odysseus also gets help from many women during the story. After staying with Circe for a year, she tells him how he can get back to Ithaca. She tells him about the prophet in the Underworld that could help him out. Odysseus also receives help from the goddess Calypso after he is held on her island for a long time. After Hermes tells her that she must let him go, she gives Odysseus a raft that he uses to get back to his home. Another woman that helps Odysseus on his journey is his old nurse. She helps him on his quest to get revenge on all those who had wronged him. After killing all of the suitors, she helps him to gather all of the servants who had been unfaithful to him. Even though he was gone for so long, she was still faithful to him and helped him out.
In this epic poem, Homer shows how Odysseus is a true epic hero. Odysseus throughout his long journey displays many of the qualities of an epic hero. He leads men and exceeds them, he is called to make a journey where he faces many trials, and he has the help of a guide and many women to get him through his journey. In this poem, Homer shows the message that knowledge and skill can overcome power and numbers. Even though Odysseus is faced with impossible odds many times and is always outnumbered, he is able to be successful with his skill and his strength.