How could you compare Odysseus to a modern hero, and how does this affect/reflect society? 

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are certain aspects of Odysseus that compare to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. As a young man, Muhammad Ali was unafraid to brag about himself, calling himself "the greatest" and telling reporters that he could "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Similarly, Odysseus was a bit of a braggart, and this attitude got him in trouble more than once with Poseidon and Polyphemus.  

Another quality that Muhammad Ali and Odysseus share was that neither was faithful to his wife. On his voyage home to Ithaca, Odysseus was involved with Calypso and Circe, and Muhammad Ali had an affair with the woman who would become his third wife while still married to his second wife. 

Both Odysseus and Muhammad Ali were courageous and accomplished great feats: Odysseus defied the gods and made his way home after a decade of arduous travel, and Muhammad Ali became a world famous, highly successful professional athlete in a violent sport.

Both had a defiant streak; Muhammad Ali refused the Vietnam War draft and pursued his conscientious objector case all the way to the Supreme Court, ultimately winning it. Odysseus defied several gods who had other plans for him than safe passage to Ithaca.

And finally, both men dedicated themselves to causes greater than themselves; Muhammad Ali to civil rights and anti-war causes as well as philanthropy, and Odysseus to fighting in the Trojan war alongside other Greeks.