What are two examples of archetypes in The Odyssey?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus--the protagonist of Homer's The Odyssey--represents a number of different archetypes. Two of these include the "trickster" and the "explorer." The trickster relies on his cleverness to get out of sticky situations, as Odysseus does repeatedly in the Odyssey (and the Iliad). For example, he tells Polyphemus, the cyclops, that his name is "Nobody" so that the cyclops' neighbors do not pay any attention when Polyphemus screams "Nobody is killing me!" Odysseus was also responsible for devising the strategy of the Trojan Horse, which allowed the Greeks to infiltrate Troy.

Odysseus also represents the archetype of the explorer. Explorers incessantly pursue a particular quest or goal. For Odysseus, this quest is to return home to Ithaca, his wife Penelope, and his son Telemachus. The entire Odyssey chronicles his journey home, as well as the trials, tribulations, and diversions which lengthened that journey by a decade. 

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The Odyssey

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