Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

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Compare Odysseus' pride to that of another character or real-life person.

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One of the things that is important to remember about Odysseus' pride is that in some part it is built on an incredible set of abilities and a long history of past successes in all kinds of endeavors be it war or travel or plundering, etc.  He is attractive to the point that even the gods chase after him, and so his pride is not without some basis in reality.

Because of this, I think you could connect him to the most recent depiction of Iron Man.  If you had access to this incredibly powerful machine-shell, you too might have your natural tendency towards pride magnified and you might get a little bit out of control and over-estimate your abilities or underestimate your enemies as both Odysseus and Iron Man have done/will do.

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Odysseus, for my money, is the greatest literary character of all time and has no equal.  Seriously, I can't think of anyone, real or fictitious, who is worthy of comparison.  He has all the qualities of all the genres and archetypes of literature: he's a mythical hero, a romantic hero, and an almost tragic hero.

Odysseus suffers from hubris, excessive pride.  This is what nearly every tragic hero in literature suffers (Hamlet, Oedipus, and Frankenstein), so take your pick.  But, they all die or blind themselves or go crazy at the end from hubris.  Not Odysseus.

What separates Odysseus from them is that he learns to control it.  Through suffering, he realizes that his hubris leads to his men's deaths and getting further from home and wife.  So, he balances his hubris with humility.  Through syphrosine (restraint) he learns to achieve balance, the epos megan ("golden mean").  As such, Odysseus turns from an alazon (person who thinks he is better than he really is) to an eiron (person who does not think he is worthy).  Only then can he appease Poseidon and see the shores of Ithaca.

So, characters who make this transformation and thus avoid tragedy are usually epic heroes.  Beowulf is very similar, though he doesn't suffer nearly as much as  Odysseus.  Maybe Job from the Bible?  But he's never as arrogant as Odysseus.  Many have suffered from pride, but few have learned from the suffering it incurs and lived to tell the tale.

Good question.  And good luck!

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