Odysseus: A Tragic Hero

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“‘Now, how on Earth could I forget Odysseus? Great Odysseus who excels all men in wisdom, excels in offerings too he gives the immortal gods who rule the vaulting skies’” (Homer 79). Exalting his qualities, the Greek god Zeus explains his desire to aid the virtuous Odysseus, a Greek soldier returning to his home in Ithaca from the Trojan War. However, before the events of The Odyssey by Homer, the ruthless warrior Odysseus does not have the traits of a selfless and merciful leader. As a dynamic character, Odysseus conquers his personal pride and shows mercy for his enemies after facing multiple hardships. As his journey continues, Odysseus develops as a character because he learns to control his pride by becoming more thoughtful and pious…show more content…
Immediately after Odysseus and his fleet leave Troy, he sails to Ismarus, the land of the Cicones. “‘The wind drove me out of Ilium on to Ismarus, the Cicones’ stronghold. There I sacked the city, killed the men, but as for the wives and plunder, that rich haul we dragged away from the place’” (Homer 212). His slaughter of the men and treatment of the women as material gain reveals Odysseus’ inability to exercise mercy when dealing with his enemies. Generous, Odysseus slays all of his wife’s suitors who have taken residence in his home since his departure but he spares the lives of two innocent men: a bard and a herald. He comforts the men, “‘Courage! The prince has pulled you through, he’s saved you now so you can take it to heart and tell the next man too: clearly doing good puts bad to shame’” (Homer 450). Odysseus demonstrates clemency and self-restraint when he spares the lives of innocent men in his home in an attempt to prevent future bloodshed, an act he would not have performed before the events of the story. As shown through the butchering of the Cicones, Odysseus could have murdered the two men without

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