Odysseus As An Epic Hero In Homer's Harry Potter

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The Odyssey by Homer tells the story of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, and his journey back home from the Trojan War. He faces multiple hardships throughout his decade long journey where his heroism shines. Odysseus serves as the model for an epic hero. An epic hero is “a larger-than-life figure, usually male, who embodies the ideals of a nation or race” (language of literature page 896). Even though this idea comes from ancient story, it is still relevant in modern popular culture. One example of a modern-day epic hero is Harry Potter. A hero created by J.K. Rowling for The Harry Potter series, Harry Potter clearly shares many characteristics with Odysseus. Odysseus is the model for the modern-day epic hero, Harry Potter, who, like Odysseus,…show more content…
For instance, when Odysseus approaches Scylla, he observes, “Her legs- and there are twelve- are like tentacles, unjointed, and up on her serpent necks are borne six heads like nightmares of ferocity, with triple rows of serried fangs” ( Homer, 12.46-50). At this point in the story, Odysseus faces two choices, lose everyone and everything to a wild whirlpool or lose six men to a six-headed creature. Looking at the greater good for the greater amount of people, Odysseus chooses to battle Scylla. Scylla is a treacherous monster, “one man for every gullet,” ( Homer 12.58). Regardless, Odysseus survives without six men. Similarly, Harry faces dangerous creatures and monsters throughout his entire life. For example, when when the trio begin their journey of finding the sorcerer’s stone, they face Fluffy, the three-headed dog guarding the stone. As first year students, the three together don't obtain enough knowledge to take down a three-headed dog. Although they lack the capability, the three conquer the obstacle. In addition, when Harry is an infant, ‘He-who-must-not-be-named’, Voldemort, kills both his parents and attempts to kill him, but in the end, Harry Potter survives. As an infant, Harry survives the most dangerous possible being, a man who’s name is said to be cursed. Besides their experiences with monstrous creatures, Odysseus and Harry both have traits that make them better than the average…show more content…
For example, when Odysseus and his men are trapped in Polyphemus’ cave and he asks Odysseus his name, Odysseus states, “ My name is Nohbdy; mother, father, friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy” ( Homer, 9.273-274). When Odysseus stabs Polyphemus in the eye, Polyphemus calls out to his friends, “Nohbdy, Nohbdy’s tricked me, Nohbdy's ruined me” ( Homer, 9.318). Since Nohbdy sounds like ‘nobody’, Polyphemus’ friends leave, thinking he must have gone crazy. If he did know Odysseus's real name, he would have called out to his friends, killing Odysseus and all his men. Odysseus's simple white lie saves everyone, in a clever way. Furthermore, when Hermione is attacked by the troll, Harry uses his restricted span of knowledge about spells to defeat the troll. Although, Harry may be trapped in his narrow canal of mastery, when there is danger, or any kind of trouble, Harry always prevails. The ability to think fast and efficiently when needed is what makes a person an epic

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