Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Danielle Mason

The Odyssey by Homer
          Lately, I’ve been reading The Odyssey and I noticed some great lessons and points in it. Some lessons everyone- just with an ordinary life- could learn from. Basically, Odysseus leaves his homeland to go fight the Trojans and he leads the Trojan horse into Troy. Their battle is won but it takes him and his men ten years to get back. (It takes twenty years total from the time they leave their hometown, though.) Along the journey to get back home after Troy, they encounter many obstacles; during these many lessons are learned -at least by the readers, if not by Odysseus himself. Odysseus performs many questionable acts and allows his curiosity, arrogance, and other qualities to misguide him at times, yet he is still the hero. Now, this book leaves you thinking…what are the characteristics of a hero?
          Every hero is different but each one has characteristics in common with each other. These include: courage, caring, bravery, confidence (sometimes over confident), curiosity, wisdom, devotion, leadership, good fighter, smart, loving, pride, etc. By winning the battle of Troy it shows that Odysseus is a good fighter. When Odysseus and his men landed on the Land of the Cyclops they entered the cave of Polyphemus. The plan to take all of his food and his sheep went wrong when Odysseus got curious and wanted to see what the Cyclops looked like. They got trapped but he was prepared –or so it seemed-. Odysseus had a feeling there were beasts on this new island they came upon so he brought gifts of hospitality so that just in case, the beast wouldn’t kill them. This shows the wisdom that heroes have. He said this hoping the Cyclops would spare their lives, "in turn we come to you and are suppliants at your knees, if you might give us a guest present or otherwise some gift of grace, for such is the right of strangers. Therefore respect the gods, o best of men." Polyphemus cared not for this. Odysseus also cared about his men’s’ lives; he was deeply troubled that the Cyclops ate two of his men. He was about to kill Polyphemus and then he realized he needed him to get out so he blinded him. These two parts of the story show courage, bravery, being smart, and caring.

Later, after Odysseus and his men escape they are sailing away and Odysseus screams this to the Polyphemus, "I am Odysseus son of Laertes, known before all men for the study of crafty designs, and my fame goes up to the heavens." He also goes on to say where he lives. This shows the confidence that characters have. In his case, he’s very overconfident. This almost caused him and his men to get killed. Lastly, the fact that he kept trying to get back home for twenty long years and kept going shows devotion. All of these references just show that Odysseus, son of Laertes, is a hero.