Odysseus: Selfish Hero

Jack Sparrow is a selfish hero. He thinks of himself most, but he truly cares for his men. He relates to Odysseus in that manner. Odysseus is also a selfish hero, but a hero all the same. This is proven by his courage, his cleverness, and his caring nature. Odysseus is a hero because of his courage. This is shown on many occasions including in the episode with the Cyclops. Homer, in his epic poem The Odyssey describes how Odysseus “rammed it [the spike] deep in his crater eye” (Homer 692).

This is courageous because the Cyclops could have killed him pretty easily and there are many ways it could have gone wrong, yet he did it anyway. Another example is when he enters the Land of the Dead. His courage is expressed through the following: “and I grew sick with fear. But presently I gave the command to my officers to flay those sheep the bronze cut down, and make burnt offerings of flesh to the gods below” (Homer 701). Odysseus had no clue what could have happened to him there, but he knew to make it home he had to, even though he was scared.

Listening to the Sirens song was a noble act as well, for the reason that he could have found a way to untie himself, but he knew he had to listen because of Circe’s warning of “the dangers he will face: the Sirens, who lure sailors to their destruction” (Homer 705). In the cases of the Cyclops, underworld, and Sirens Odysseus showed great bravery therefore he is a hero. Another of Odysseus’s heroic traits is his cleverness. Proof of his wit is seen when he tells the Polyphemus “My name is Nobody: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nobody. (Homer 692). This shows that he has the ability to think ahead in difficult situations and not let his head get clouded. Yet another example is when he “slung a man under the middle one [sheep] to ride there safely” (Homer 694). This demonstrates his knowledge of whom he is around. Odysseus knew that the Cyclops was a shepherd and he had to let his sheep out every day. One final example of Odysseus’s cleverness is shown when he “laid it [beeswax] thick on their [shipmates] ears” (Homer 706).

This is clever because his men can’t hear the melodious voices of the Sirens. This indicates that his wit makes him a hero. A final, but not only other, heroic trait Odysseus wields is his care. Proof of this is shown while on the island of the Lotus-Eaters when he fought to bring his men back to the ship. In this episode, Homer writes as Odysseus, “I drove them, all three wailings, to the ships, tied them down under their rowing benches” (Homer 685).

This is caring because some captains would just say, “forget it”, and leave them. More proof is shown when he has his men tie him to the mast of the ship and listen to the sirens. “yet she urged that I alone should listen to their [the Sirens] song” (Homer 705). The care in this is the fact that he sacrificed part of his sanity so that his men would be able to get past the Sirens. One more act of his care is shown when he grieves for the loss of his men, time and time again.

An example of this is when he sees Elpenor in the Hades realm, “Now when I saw him there I wept for pity” (Homer 701). This shows he is not completely selfish and that he actually feels bad every time a man dies on his watch. Henceforth, Odysseus’s care proves he is a hero. To end, the heroic traits Odysseus has are courage, wit, and care. And these traits prove what a true hero Odysseus truly is. Yes, he may be selfish like Jack Sparrow, but he is still a hero. So, with this how many of today’s so-called “heroes” actually are?

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