Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My essay on why Odysseus would not be a hero in modern days

The character Odysseus from the epic poem The Odyssey is sometimes considered the greatest hero of the ancient times, but would he still be considered a hero in modern days? In the beginning of the Odyssey, Odysseus angers the gods and is sent on a seemingly endless journey in hopes of finding a way home. While Odysseus shows he has dedication, he also shows that he has too much pride and has a strong willingness to kill people without thinking of more humane ways to get rid of the problem. Odysseus is a better hero in the ancient times.

“Cyclops, if ever a mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaca” was said by Odysseus after he blinded the cyclops. Odysseus’ foolish act of pride leads to his fellow crew members deaths. His crew tries to tell him to stop, but he ignores them due to his need to boast what he has done. A modern hero knows better than to gloat what they have done. A true hero will keep their pride inside rather than say it aloud. Odysseus’ ego not only nearly causes the deaths of his crew, but also causes the god Poseidon to know who Odysseus’ is so he can curse him. This was a foolish act which was the root cause for much of both Odysseus and the crew’s suffering.


In modern days, a hero is defined as a person who does good deeds that benefit others, while Oddsseus’ heroism is mostly defined by the amount of people he had killed. He rarely looked for a logical way to handle a problem, but instead just thought of ways to kill the person he was up against. Towards the end of the poem, Odysseus decides to kill the suitors even though the option of having the suitors leave and repay him was not even considered. When he and Telemachus start killing the suitors, one of them tries to convince Odysseus to spare their lives and that they understand what they have done wrong. The suitors apologized and wanted to repay Odysseus, but Odysseus ignored their pleas and decided to kill them instead. This was unnecessary and caused a bloodshed which could have easily been avoided. A modern hero would accept the men’s apologies and let them leave. A real hero thinks more about what’s logical and human rather than the quickest way to get revenge. A “hero” whose main goal is to seek revenge against people when there is a humane way to solve the problem is not a true hero.


Odysseus would not be a hero in modern days. His willingness to kill without thinking of ways to avoid killing would label him a murderer and murderers are anything but heroes. The way he cares more about making himself look good would make him more of a man trying to seek attention and to satisfy his ego rather than a brave hero who will do anything to get home. For those reasons, Odysseus would not be a hero in modern days, but just a hero in ancient times, when heroism was based on the number of people you killed.


Hope you like it. Please comment. Oh and hi my one reader! :)

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