What is the major contribution of Odysseus to the Greeks' victory over the Trojans?  

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus' greatest contribution to the Greeks' victory at Troy was his imaginative gift of the Trojan Horse. Knowing the horse was sacred to the Trojans, Odysseus conceived the idea of presenting the enemy with a giant, hollow wooden horse as an offering of conciliation. Believing that the Greeks were returning home after 10 years of war--the inscription on the horse read "The Greeks dedicate this thank-offering to Athena for their return home"--the Trojans wheeled the huge object within their gates. Inside, Odysseus and his hand-picked soldiers waited until the celebrants were asleep; then they emerged, killed the guards, and opened the gates for the waiting Greek army. Virtually all of the Trojans were slaughtered, as the hand-to-hand fighting went from the city streets to the individual dwellings. The only Trojan survivors were women and children. The city was sacked and desecrated, and the captured women--including Helen--were awarded to the Greek heroes. Odysseus was presented Hecuba, the wife of Priam, the slain Trojan King.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus is not like the other Greeks. Usually the other Greeks are known for their bravery and prowess in war. This is true of people like Ajax and even Achilles. Odysseus, to be sure, is a great warrior also, but he is known for his cleverness and his ability to win over people. He is the one who is able to talk to both sides of people in conflict among the Greeks and he is also able to connect to both the nobles and common man alike. However, his greatest contribution was the plan to make a wooden horse and leave it for the Trojans. In fact, it was this action that ultimately lead to the Greek victory.