Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

Start Free Trial

What are three reasons why Odysseus' arrogance is a character flaw for him? Provide three specific episodes from The Odyssey.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Arrogance is generally considered at least a minor character flaw in virtually anyone, and the hero of Homer's The Odyssey is no exception. Following the Greek victory at Troy, Odysseus boasts of his military prowess and refuses to present a sacrifice to the gods as thanks. Poseidon is particularly angered by his human pride. Odysseus could not contain himself after he had blinded Polyphemus the Cyclops, a son of Poseidon, bragging as his ship sailed away that his sight had been taken by the "great Odysseus." Polyphemus responded by tossing a boulder that nearly sunk the ship. Odysseus was later punished by Poseidon for mutilating his son. Another example of Odysseus' arrogance was his insistence on hearing the singing of the seductive Sirens. Warned that the Sirens' song was deadly, he demanded that his men fill their ears with wax to avoid the music; Odysseus then ordered them to strap him to the mast so that he could hear their song but could not follow them or subsequently drown himself.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team