The Odyssey by Homer

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How does Odysseus change from excessive pride to humility?

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Stephen Holliday eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For a warrior-king like Odysseus, a man whose metis (cunning intelligence) is instrumental in winning the Trojan War, excessive pride is his natural state, and humility is not usually a part of a warrior-king's make up. As your question suggests, however, Odysseus learns the dangers inherent in pride and, more important, is humbled when he realizes that his pride affects his family. It may be too strong to suggest he becomes a humble person, but one can argue that he recognizes some disasters begin with prideful behavior and learns to feel empathy for another's suffering.

The most egregious example of Odysseus's pride is in Book 9 when, after Odysseus and his men put out one of the Cyclops's eyes and escape from his cave, Odysseus—like the typical warrior-king that he is—begins to taunt Polyphemus, and his men plead with him to stop:

Are you crazy, Captain? Why would you want to provoke/that savage again? (9:488-90)

A good leader would have refrained from unnecessarily endangering his...

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