Odysseus Essay Example: the Epic Hero


A hero is someone who is daring, compassionate, and adventurous. A hero’s journey ordinarily consists of five main parts, Call to adventure, Supernatural aid, Obstacles and battles, Descent into darkness, and their homecoming. Odysseus from the Odyssey is an example of a hero. Odysseus fulfills the epic hero’s journey through going to the Battle of Troy, Wind from Aeolus, Penelope's test, going to the underworld to talk to Tiresias, and Penelope’s realization and embrace.

The first step of an Epic Hero’s journey is their call to adventure or traumatic event. Odysseus’ call to adventure was that he had to go fight in the battle of Troy. “ I am Laertes son, Odysseus. Men hold me formidable for guile in peace and war: this fame has gone abroad in the sky's rim. My home is on the peaked sea-mark of Ithaca under mount Neion’s windblown robe of leaves…”(Homer 562). Odysseus lives in Ithaca but had to leave his family to go fight in the battle of Troy. Odysseus had to protect Helen because he swore that he would protect her. A hero’s call to adventure is something that sets them on their adventure.

Subsequently, the second step of an Epic Hero’s journey is Supernatural Aid. Odysseus receives help from Aeolus.“Odysseus and his men sail to Aeolia, where Aeolus, king of the winds, sends Odysseus on his way with a gift: A sack containing all the winds except the favorable west wind. When they are near home, Odysseus’ men open the sack, letting loose a storm that drives them back to Aeolia”(Homer 576). Even though Aeolus told Odysseus not to open the sack until they are almost to Ithaca, Odysseus’ crew disobeyed and opened the bag too early which resulted in them ending back up on the island of Aeolia. Another example of a supernatural Aid that Odysseus receives some type of plant that will make him immune to Circe's wine. An epic hero often has some form of supernatural influence.

Following the second step of an Epic Hero’s journey is obstacles and battles. Two battles or obstacles that Odysseus faces are, when his men are turned into cattle and when he has to pass Penelope's test. “Odysseus and his reduced crew escape and reach Aeaea, the island ruled by the sorceress-goddess Circe. She transforms half of his men into swine. Protected by the magic herb, Odysseus demands that Circe change his men back into human form”(Homer 576). At first, Odysseus was a little skeptical to eat the magic herb.

 

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