Determination in Odysseus Essay Example

Odysseus is arguably one of the greatest and most impactful heros of all time. Even though Odysseus himself may be fictional, the traits and characteristic he possesses- particularly perseverance and faith- represent the ideal image of a greek warrior. The journey of Odysseus reveals his intellectual and emotional aptitude, illustrated as he struggles to make it back to his homeland after a grueling battle. In fact, on numerous occasions, Odysseus faces intense troubles in which he overcomes with determination and hardwork. Without his perseverance, Odysseus would not have returned home to Ithaca and been able to reunite with his kingdom and family. The hero not only showed determination while fighting in the Trojan War, but also while enduring endless amounts of trials on his way back to freedom.

Although Odysseus lacked determination while he was stranded on Calypso’s island, once he was finally free from her island, all feelings of fear and uncertainness avoided him. The time Odysseus spent on Calypso’s island damaged his sense of hope and left him with no motivation to escape from her oppressive reign. It wasn’t until the gods intervened that Odysseus was able to escape. But after Calypso was instructed to help him build a boat in order to leave, he began to regain the confidence and mindset he had once before. “The wind lifting his spirits high, the royal Odysseus spread sail- gripping the tiller, seated astern- and now the master mariner steered his craft…” (Homer 5. 295-297). This boost of morality from the Gods enabled Odysseus to restore his faith and persevere during his important mission. Without perseverance from Odysseus early on in the story, it is likely he would have lost all faith in himself and would not have been able to achieve his ultimate goal of returning to his loyal wife and kingdom.

Furthermore, soon after Odysseus escaped from Calypso’s island, he began to encounter additional issues concerning his travels. “A heavy sea covered him over, then and there the unlucky Odysseus would have met his death-against the will of Fate…”(Homer 5. 478-480). Once the warrior finally breaks free from Calypso’s rath, he faces an ill-times storm that overcomes his ship. After begging the Gods for mercy and hoping they will bring him ashore, he is relieved when he sees land up ahead. Instead of losing all hope and giving up when the vicious storm pounds on him, Odysseus preserves through the madness, knowing he has the will of the Gods on his side and the power of his own pure determination and strength.

Nevertheless, Odysseus is rightfully rewarded for his tenacity after his boat finally makes it onto the coast of the Phaeacians island. The perseverance Odysseus presented before allows Athena to reward him by bestowing upon him a protective veil in which helps him survive the wrath of Poseidon. Soon after he docks, he spots a clear place with lots of leaves to sleep in for the night. This shows that Odysseus’ brave and determined acts bring him good fortune, and without his perseverance, he would had not been able to enjoy a safe spot to sleep for the night. Even though the trials had just begun for Odysseus on his long and painful journey, his persistence and willpower enable him to move closer and closer to his goal of returning to his family.


Once Odysseus was released from Calypso’s island, the trials he faced tested his perseverance and challenged his character as a whole. After Odysseus survives the long storm 

and recovers near the Phaeacians island, Athena begins to reward him again by appearing in a dream to Nausicaa, the princess of the island, in which directs her to go find the rugged Odysseus and help him. “She stepped up close to him, confiding, ‘Daddy dear, I wonder, won’t you have them harness a wagon for me, the tall one with the good smooth wheels… so I can take our clothes to the river for a washing?”(Homer 6. 70-73). Through the dream of Nausicaa, Athena is able to inspire her to go to Odysseus and aid him, which again boosts his morality as well as reinforce his determination. Although his perseverance may seem less evident at this point, Athena recognizes that the valuable and intelligent Odysseus has just begun his journey of long and ruthless trials, and decides it’s best to instill him with some hope and hospitality.

 Another example of Odysseus’ faith and perseverance occurs after he battles the cyclops, Polyphemus. While telling the Phaeacians his stories, reluctantly Odysseus decides to share the story of his fight against the one eyed monster, Polyphemus. After Odysseus’ men tell Odysseus  to take just a small portion of the goods that are left on the monster’s island, Odysseus becomes overly confident and decides overstay his welcome. “From the start my comrades pressed me, pleading hard… But I would not give way- and how much better would it have been- not till I saw him, saw what gifts he’d give.” (Homer 9. 252, 256-258).

Of course, once the monster returns he is shocked to find strangers feasting on his own food, which leads him to become enraged and start a battle between Odysseus’ men and himself. In this example Odysseus’ perseverance, confidence, and determination are actually a fault of his. Instead of being grateful for what he had already stole from the Cyclops’ food, he became greedy and was determined to get everything he could from the situation. While the majority of the time Odysseus’ perseverance helps him achieve impossible tasks and make progress on his journey home, this time it made him too selfish and almost caused the death of his entire crew. If Odysseus had listened to his men and not have been so insistent on staying on Polyphemus’ island for longer than intended, the battle would not have happened and therefore most of his crew would have remained safe and at peace. Although Odysseus’ perseverance and confidence is one is his most valuable personality traits, when taken to the extreme, it can cause lots of trouble and negatively affect him in the long run.

Throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus can be seen using drive, determination, and faith to his advantage when struggling through hard situations, ultimately being rewarded for his 

tenacity through the power of fate and the Gods. Without his perseverance, Odysseus would not have made it back to his family and Ithaca, which was the entire purpose of his grueling journey.  Although Odysseus’ determination helped him through many trials and enables him to be victorious, it is also seen where the hero takes it too far and hurts more people than he helps. Odysseus always rose above his struggles, and found the power to persist through pain in order to reunite with the people he knows and loves. With this, it is represented that Odysseus’ ruthless trials were always offset by the kind and generous acts of Athena, and of course, the ultimate reward of his return to the kingdom of Ithaca. Despite the ups and downs, without his persistence Odysseus would not be the strong, powerful, and great hero that we know him as today.



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