Odysseus: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Odysseus the great Greek hero. In homers epic The Odysseus he was the one who blinded the great Polythemus. The one who escaped the wrath of Poseidon through thinking on his feet and a little help from some other Gods such as Zeus Athena and many others. He did all this just to get home to his love. But then the question as old as Odysseus himself comes up. Do the ends justify the means? If I kill ten people just to see your wife does it make it ok? If sleeping with other people just to see your wife again make it ok? Does risking and getting tons of your friends and crew killed just to see your wife again make it ok? It may sound like an exaggeration but think about it he does all these things so he can get back to Ithaca to see his wife and son. So he can be king again. This all leads one to think that he may not be a hero. He is putting himself above his crew cheating on his wife and showing killing people unnecessarily.

I am here to answer the question was Odysseus really a hero. So what makes a hero? In my opinion a hero is someone who puts others infront of him self for a greater good. Better put a hero is not always someone whom does something cool like blind a Cyclops but someone who puts others in front of himself to achieve something good. So someone like mother Teresa would be considered a hero. The highest award is the Medal of Honor given to someone who goes above and beyond what is required. You don’t get a medal of honor for killing a ton of people you get a medal of honor for saving a ton of people or leading people through a minefield after having many opportunities to turn back. So you could say that a hero is a great leader. Was Odysseus a great leader? Think of how many people died because of his mistakes for example Odysseus gets curious and decides to bring some of his crew to explore an island. Then his crewmembers end up getting eaten because of it.

The way they escape from Polythemus is by stabbing him in the eye and blinding him. To get out they all hide under sheep a go out as the sheep leave but Odysseus saves the biggest sheep for himself. We see this when Polythemus says (Old friend why are you last of all? You always take the lead”. (Hinds 107) Then as they sailed away Odysseus decides to scream “Cyclops! Your victims have escaped, and the gods have paid you back for your crimes.”(Hinds 108) Then the Cyclops hurdles a giant rock at them and almost crushes them. Despite his crews pleas he taunts Cyclops again saying “Cyclops if anyone asks who put out your eye, tell them it was Odysseus of Ithaca”(Hinds 109). It is Manifestly clear that Odysseus risked and cost the lives of his crew because his curiosity to go explore the cave then it gets them killed later he takes the biggest safest sheep for himself and as if this is not bad enough he brags to the Cyclopes as they are sailing a way despite what his crew says.

What is the purpose of Odysseus’s whole trip home? So he can get back to his wife. So one would think that that’s where his mind is when he is heading home right? Wrong. On his way home not only does he cheat on his wife with another woman one time but twice! When he is on the Island with Calypso, Zeus has decided to let him go and sends Hermes to tell her. But before Odysseus leaves he decides to cheat on his wife with Calypso. Before this happens he even says “Neverless, It is my one wish, the never fading ache in my heart, to return to her and to my own house”. (Hinds 52) Yet a page later it shows him making love to Calypso. This is not a one time thing but a trend starts to show when he does it again with Circe. On this occasion Circe turns his men into pigs then when Odysseus goes to save them he recives a magical plant that will allow him to not be effected by spell she puts into he soup. After he frees his men he goes and stays on Circes Island for another year. He says “So we stayed savoring all these pleasures, while elsewhere the seasons turned and a full year passed.”