The essence of an epic hero is a man who seems able to conquer most problems he encounters although he does not possess any “superpowers”. In the famous epic, The Odyssey, a character named Odysseus demonstrates the qualities of an epic hero.
In The Odyssey, Odysseus is on his journey back from the Trojan War in search of the way back to his home to Ithaka to see his family. Odysseus deserves the title of an epic hero for various reasons. In the novel, Odysseus faces countless hurdles to return back to Ithaka which later shapes him into an epic hero. An epic hero demonstrates intelligence when undergoing stressful situations. Intelligence is an important trait for an epic hero to have. Similarly, Odysseus uses his intellect to outsmart the Cyclops when he is stuck inside Polyphemus’s cave. Odysseus gives the Cyclops wine to make them drunk enough for him to attack them. Kyklops asks for Odysseus’ “.
..honorable name… I shall tell you. My name is Nohbdy: mother father and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy” (Homer 156).
Odysseus is telling the Cyclops that his name is Nohbdy after he stabbed the eye of one of the Cyclops. While they question him of who had done it, Odysseus tricks them by spuriously telling them his name as Nohbdy. This act by Odysseus exhibits the characteristics of an epic hero because he uses his wit to escape the tough situation.
Odysseus’s sharpness and quick-thinking got him and his crew out of several dire scenarios. To clarify, one way Odysseus deserves the title of being an epic hero is through his intelligence. Next, Another trait that defines an epic hero is bravery. Bravery when someone who demonstrates courage and valor. In the same way, Odysseus shows bravery when he was explaining to polyphemus that his crew and him washing up on the shore was an accident.
Odysseus explains to Polyphemus “We are Achaians coming from Troy, beaten off our true course lost by winds from every direction across the great gulf of the open sea, making for home, by the wrong way, on the wrong courses. So we have come. So it has pleased Zeus to arrange it” (Homer 152).
This proves that Odysseus deserves the title of an epic hero because he was facing Polyphemus, who has supernatural powers whereas Odysseus is a hero with human like traits. As mentioned before, an epic hero is someone who can conquer most problems that he/she comes across. Odysseus is fearless when he is facing someone with superhuman powers. Being courageous means the ability to do something that most people are afraid of. Most people would not know what to do in that situation therefore, Odysseus is considered an epic hero because he is not afraid of things that most people are afraid of. Ultimately, Odysseus deserves the title of an epic hero because of his courage and valor.Lastly, loyalty is another trait that makes up an epic hero. Loyalty is something that every epic hero would require.
The definition of loyalty is when someone is faithful and when you have trust in each other. Odysseus demonstrates this quality when he stayed loyal to Penelope. The reader can see that when Nausika says “A while ago he seemed an unpromising man to me. Now he Odysseus even resembles one of the gods, who hold high heaven.
If only the man to be called my husband could be like this one, a man living here, if only this one were pleased to stay here” (Homer 106). This proves that Odysseus deserves the name of a epic hero because of his loyalty towards Penelope and others such as his Crew. For example, his crew was remarkably loyal to him to the point that they would die for him which they did. Another example is when Penelope stayed faithful to Odysseus when he was gone.
Odysseus faced many distractions but he had the devotion to love Penelope and be with her . Penelope had vast amounts of faith in Odysseus that she wove and un-wove the shroud every night so that she would not have to marry one of the suitors . Faithfulness is a characteristic that is required to deserve the title of an epic hero in which Odysseus does .
To reiterate, Odysseus deserves the title of an epic hero because he demonstrates the three main qualities a epic hero should have. His intelligence helped him get through stressful situations and also helps him survive and return back to Ithaka. Odysseus’s bravery which helped him face Polyphemus and other characters who were substantially powerful. Lastly, his Loyalty which helped him reunite with Penelope and Telemachus. If they did not have faith in eachother, they would have never met again.
To sum up, Odysseus deserves the title of an epic hero. Throughout the book, the roadblocks he had to face shaped him into the perfect example of an epic hero.