Why is Odysseus considered a prototypical Greek hero in The Odyssey by Homer?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Odysseus in The Odyssey by Homer is actually a character existing on the border between a prototypical hero of oral tradition and a trickster figure. His patron goddess is Athena, the goddess of wisdom. He is know for being clever, and moderately unscrupulous, as likely to get his way through devising clever stratagems such as the Trojan Horse or disguising himself as a beggar to trick the suitors as winning battles by frontal assault. Although he frequently is seen acting as an adviser, his reputation for cunning means that he is not always trusted, especially in comparison with Nestor, who is more a traditional wise man figure, or such straightforward warriors as Achilles, Diomedes, and Ajax.

Odysseus does have, though, several features of the traditional hero. First, as demonstrated by the scene in which he is the only person capable of bending his bow, he is a strong and powerful warrior. Next, he is a good leader, capable of holding his men together on a long voyage. He is an excellent planner and strategist. Also he is favored by a goddess, and has divine ancestry, being the great-grandson of Hermes, the god of thieves and guile. He participates in the great events of his period and is the ruler of Ithaca.

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