Odysseus Weaknesses

What is Odysseus's weakness in the Odyssey?

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malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus is one of the most impressive of the Greek heroes because there aren't any glaring, enormous character flaws that jump out at us upon reading his story.  Unlike Achilles, whose anger is the primary theme of the Iliad, Odysseus appears to be the "perfect guy" - brave, loyal, and really smart (probably handsome, too, since these minor goddesses all want him to stay with them forever!).

Odysseus' one weakness appears to be his pride.  In Book 9, Odysseus describes his adventures with Polyphemus, the Cyclops.  When escaping from the Cyclops, everything would have gone smoothly for Odysseus and his men if Odysseus had just kept his mouth shut, rather than bragging about who he was.  Telling the Cyclops that he was Odysseus caused a ton of problems as that gave the Cyclops a chance to complain to his father, Poseidon, about this awful person who blinded him.  Being the sea god, Poseidon worked himself into a rage and did his best to destroy Odysseus at sea, thus prolonging Odysseus' journey home to Penelope.

But again, Odysseus shows us to be a really great Greek Hero as he learns from his mistakes and tempers his pride and arrogance later in the story, thus ensuring that he can make it home, defeat the suitors, and be reunited with Penelope.

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gekkolies eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus's one flaw in "The Odyssey" is his incessant boasting.  The Greeks were already well aware of his heroism and feats.  There was no need for him to recount the stories of Troy. However, for example, after he blinded Polyphemus during his escape from the Cyclopes' island, he boasted loudly about his many deeds in the Trojan War.

Also, there is a contrast between Odysseus giving credit to the gods, and taking credit for himself.  When things are going badly in front of his men, Odysseus conveniently places responsibility on the gods.  On the other hand, when things are going favorably, he quickly boasts about the whole account and designates himself as the hero!

inyourclass | Student

he has to much pride


(he shouldnt of told the cyclops his name or where he lives. He shouldn't have given information.It would have been better if he would have just snuck-out with stealth.)

                                                     - william