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The classic greek hero portrayed in the odyssey by homer

It is widely recognized as one of the great stories of all time, and has been a strong influence on later European, especially Renaissance, literature.

The poem focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus or Ulyssesas he was known in Roman myths and his long journey home to Ithaca following the fall of Troy. His adventure-filled ten year journey took him through the Ionian Islands and the Peloponnese and as far away as Egypt and North Africa and the western Mediteranean, as the displeased sea-god Poseidon prevented him from reaching his home. They receive him sumptuously and recount the ending of the Trojan War, including the story of the wooden horse.

Menelaus tells Telemachus that he has heard that Odysseus is being held captive by the nymph Calypso.

The Many Faces of Odysseus in Classical Literature

The scene then changes to Calypso's island, where Odysseus has spent seven years in captivity. He is found by the young Nausicaa and her handmaidens and is made welcome by King Alcinous and Queen Arete of the Phaeacians, and begins to tell the amazing story of his return from Troy.

  • By the same token, Odysseus demonstrates his quick wit when he tricks the Cyclops in order to cover his tracks;
  • The fragmentation of Greece in this era was so pronounced that, looking back, it is hard to find genuine instances of cultural cohesion;
  • This kleos too, as proclaimed at the end of the Odyssey, will be sung for all time;
  • Is the man Odysseus, the hero of this poem, actually the ideal of the Greek hero in the ancient world?

Despite the help of Aeolus, King of the Winds, Odysseus and his crew were blown off course again just as home was almost in sight. They narrowly escaped from the cannibal Laestrygones, only to encounter the witch-goddess Circe soon after.

  1. Now my life is pain for my great son's dark destiny! This notion of love conquering fear and hatred is a common theme in Greek quest mythology.
  2. This kind of heroism is very different from Achilles in the Iliad, whose renown is built on his use of the spear and shield in single combat in the bright light of day.
  3. In The Odyssey, though stubborn and boastful, Odysseus otherwise exhibits courage, cunning, sharp intellect and concern for his men -— all traits that characterize the archetypal hero.
  4. There the singer calls upon the Muse, goddess of the special Memory that makes him a singer, to tell him the story of the Man, the many-sided man, the hero Odysseus, who wandered so many countless ways in his voyages at sea after his heroic exploit of masterminding the capture and destruction of Troy.

Odysseus made a sacrifice to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him, as well as the spirits of several other famous men and women and that of his own mother, who had died of grief at his long absence and who gave him disturbing news of the situation in his own household.

Advised once more by Circe on the remaining stages of their journey, they skirted the land of the Sirens, passed between the many-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, and, blithely ignoring the warnings of Tiresias and Circehunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. For this sacrilege, they were punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus himself drowned.

  • It is as if the Iliad, in mirroring for the Greeks of the present an archetypal image of themselves in the past, served as an autobiography of a people;
  • Let us take for example an inherited custom connected with the premier social event for all Greeks, the Olympic Games;
  • Underneath the surface, they are on the defensive, trying desperately to ward off the fiery onslaught of Hektor, the leading Trojan hero;
  • In the words of the fifth-century poet Pindar, the keening of the Muses, the "Maidens of Helicon," over the dead Achilles extends into the song of the present:

By this point, Homer has brought us up to date, and the remainder of the story is told straightforwardly in chronological order. Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians agree to help Odysseus get home, and they finally deliver him one night to a hidden harbour on his home island of Ithaca.

Disguised as a wandering beggar and telling a fictitious tale of himself, Odysseus learns from a local swineherd how things stand in his household. With more help from Athena, an archery competition is arranged by Penelope for the suitors, which the disguised Odysseus easily wins, and he then promptly slaughters all the other suitors. Only now does Odysseus reveal and prove his true identity to his wife and to his old father, Laertes.

Despite the fact that Odysseus has effectively killed two generations of the men of Ithaca the shipwrecked sailors and the executed suitorsAthena intervenes one last time and finally Ithaca is at peace once more.

  • There were many such stories about Homer in ancient Greece, and what matters most is not so much the stories themselves but what they reveal about society's need to account for the evolution of Homeric song;
  • Nor is it any easier to grasp the ancient Greek concept of hero the English word is descended from the Greek , going beyond the word's ordinary levels of meaning in casual contemporary usage;
  • Furthermore, Odysseus shows himself to be a cerebral, cognitive character when he overcomes any lustful or manly urges to leave Calypso; he lets rational thought prevail in eventually extricating himself from her lair;
  • At the same time, Odysseus is shown by Homer as belonging to the very highest respectable heroes;
  • The performer describes himself as he gazes down upon a sea of faces in the audience, all eyes reacting simultaneously to his Homeric song;
  • The basic historical fact remains, in any case, that the figure of Homer had become, by the Classical period of the fifth century BCE, a primary culture hero credited with the creation of the Iliad and Odyssey.

It is written in Homeric Greek an archaic version of Ionic Greek, with admixtures from certain other dialects such as Aeolic Greekand comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter verse, usually divided up into 24 books.

The epithets, as well as repeated background stories and longer epic similes, are common techniques in the oral tradition, designed to make the job of the singer-poet a little easier, as well as to remind the audience of important background information. It employs the seemingly modern idea later imitated by many other authors of literary epics of starting the plot at what is chronologically towards the end of the overall story, and describing prior events through flashbacks or storytelling.

This is appropriate, however, as Homer was elaborating on a story which would have been very familiar to his listeners, and there was little likelihood of his audience being confused, despite the numerous sub-plots. The character of Odysseus embodies many of the ideals the ancient Greeks aspired to: His intelligence is a mix of keen observation, instinct and street smarts, and he is a fast, inventive liar, but also extremely cautious.

  1. About the real Homer, there is next to nothing that we can recover from the ancient world. But it happens only on a symbolic level.
  2. The prestige accorded by ancient Greek civilization to the figure of Achilles, and the strong emotional attachment that goes with it, is worthy of our attention especially because modern readers, both men and women, young and old, often find themselves relatively unresponsive to this sullen and darkly brooding hero.
  3. I justify the focus on fifth-century Athens, the Classical setting of "the ancient Greeks," on the basis of two arguments. But there are other answers as well, owing to approaches that delve deeply into the role of religion and, more specifically, into the religious practices of hero-worship and animal-sacrifice in ancient Greece.