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Heroic distinctions of Odysseus

Uploaded by kash on Jun 07, 2002

The heroes of the Greeks were an intricate part of society. After the gods and demi-gods of Greece, the heroes were extremely revered by the people. One hero in particular has distinguished himself from the rest through his quest and adventures. That hero is Odysseus. Odysseus displays the necessary qualities to be honored as a hero, but also has distinguishing traits that set him apart from the rest. In order to describe the traits that contrast Odysseus from the customary Greek hero, it is first necessary to define what a hero was in those days and then to illustrate the similarities Odysseus shared with them. Upon such disclosure, the true character and distinction of Odysseus will be better known.

According to mythology and legend, a hero is defined as a man or a woman, often of divine ancestry, who is gifted with great courage and strength, celebrated for his or her bold exploits, and favored by the gods. On that same note, Fee states that “The hero’s stature and divine purpose is initially established by his miraculous conception, birth, and initiation. Often the hero is conceived by or watched over by a god or other superhuman creature, and the genesis of the hero almost always has supernatural qualities that mark it as special.” (Fee, p. 119) Some heroes that have been helped or favored by the gods are Agamemnon, Achilles, Heracles, Theseus, Jason, and of course, Odysseus.

Agamemnon was a great king who led the Greeks in the Trojan War. In this quest, he had the support of almost all of the Olympian gods and their eagerness to help. He also rallied other heroes, such as Achilles and Odysseus, to fight with him. Hera was the most significant of the gods to help the war efforts, as well Dionysos. Next was Achilles, who was also helped by Hera, and by Athena, who strongly suggested that Achilles not kill Agamemnon in rage. Most significantly, Achilles had the great support of his mother, Thetis. She would often solicit the help of other gods, namely Zeus, on behalf of her beloved son. She even tried to make Achilles immortal by dipping him into the river Styx, but could not cover his heel. This prompted her to seek the help of Hephaestos, who made impeccable, protective armor for her dear son. Heracles is a hero whose main aid came from Zeus, his father, and Athena,...

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Uploaded by:   kash

Date:   06/07/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   14 pages (3,120 words)

Views:   1561

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