Odysseus Hero's Journey

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From fairytales to folklores, ancient civilizations to modern day culture, mythology remains substantially ingrained in world culture. The hero’s journey besets a significant component of mythology, and subsists of six critical stages: leaving home, embarking on an adventure, encountering dragons, facing death, having an all-out struggle, and gaining wisdom. Homer’s famous epic, The Odyssey centers on the exploits of Greek “hero” Odysseus as he journeys back home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Though the Greeks may have deemed Odysseus a hero, he fails to achieve a true hero’s journey because he is unsuccessful in gaining wisdom; his actions remain a reflection of his egocentricity. Although Odysseus starts out as the Greeks’ hero by winning…show more content…
After besting the Cyclops Polyphemus, he allows his pride to get the best of him and taunts ‘“If ever any one asks you [Polyphemus] who put out your ugly eye, tell him your blinder was Odysseus, the conqueror of Troy, the son of Laërtês, whose address is in Ithaca”’(Homer 110). Odysseus and his men were originally trapped by Polyphemus, but he [Odysseus] comes up with a brilliant escape plan: he gets the Cyclops drunk, himself as Noman, rams a spike into his Polyphemus’ eye, effectively blinding him, and slips away with his remaining men by riding out on slings suspended under Polyphemus’s rams. He and his men are no free to leave the island, but Odysseus wants Polyphemus to know the identity of the person who bested him, so he continues to taunt the Cyclops. Despite the bragging rights he may be entitled to, the discommodity this bears him later on strongly outweighs any admirance this may…show more content…
This contradicts the qualities of a hero, for the reason that a hero should be able to finish his journey on his own merit regardless of divine intervention. Hermês, god of the messengers, voices Zeus’ demand to Calypso: ‘“That’s the man, [Odysseus] and the orders are to send him away at once; for it is not his fate to perish in this place far from his friends”’ (Homer 64). Odysseus stays at Calypso’s island for seven years, losing sight of his objective yet again. Athena has to appeal to Zeus on his behalf to send Hermês to “free” him. Odysseus then builds his own raft to leave, with the help of Calypso. This leaves the readers one question: why did he stay with Calypso on her island these many years if building a raft is all he needs to leave? Calypso has no powers, meaning that Odyseuss is not under a curse, and she does not have any leverage over him nor is she physically stronger than he. This leads to the only logical inference: Odysseus stays with Calypso on her island for seven years out of his own free will. Moreover, he commits infidelity with Calypso every night for seven years: ‘“...and these two lay down in the corner of the lofty cave, and enjoyed their love together”’ (66). His relations with Calypso depict his love for his wife Penelope as something circumstantial. If he truly were in love with Penelope, he would be incapable of having relations with Calypso night after night, for guilt alone would consume

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