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In The Odyssey, what character traits of Odysseus made him a classic Greek hero?

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ktchiate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 3, 2012 at 11:14 PM via web

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In The Odyssey, what character traits of Odysseus made him a classic Greek hero?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:23 AM (Answer #1)

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The Greek Hero has the following characteristics. The Greek hero is of royal birth or half mortal and half god. Odysseus fits this characteristic. He is the King of Ithaca. He bravely fights in the Trojan War and is credited for the idea of giving the gift of the Trojan Horse which ultimately wins the war for the Greeks. 

The Greek hero must perform extraordinary feats. He is brave, clever and smart. Odysseus is definitely brave, clever and witty smart. His wit and wily characteristics cause him to succeed in life. He bravely fights in the Trojan War and is credited for the idea of giving the gift of the Trojan Horse which ultimately wins the war for the Greeks.   

The Greek hero is of noble character which is close to perfectly ideal but for a fatal flaw. Odysseus is noble and close to perfect. His fatal flaw is his pride. When he blinds the Cyclops, he cannot resist telling the Cyclops his name. His pride causes him to disclose his name. Then the cyclops was able to pray to his father Poseidon for help. The cyclops prayed that his father would destroy Odysseus for blinding him. This caused Odysseus to have a more difficult journey while trying to get home. 

The Greek hero suffers in a physical way. Death must occur in an unusual way. The hero fights for his own honor; his deeds belong to the community only after his death. 

Of course, Odysseus suffers in a physical manner. He does not see his homeland for ten longs years after the Trojan War. He loses his men and nearly loses his life. 

Homer sees Odysseus as the greatest of Greek Heroes:

For Homer, Odysseus is a loyal husband, loving father, and a true hero who wants nothing more than to return to his home and his loved ones. To achieve this goal he even turns down an easy chance at immortality: not a gift which is frequently given to begin with, and not usually without a great deal of hardship in the bargain.

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meme2728 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:10 AM (Answer #2)

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  1. He is of royal birth
  2. He performed extraordinary feats (his idea of the Trojan Horse, escaping the Cyclops and the Sirens, and not getting killed by Charybdis)
  3. He had a fatal flaw (arrogance) 
  4. He was courageous and clever
  5. He had honor and virtues

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