Odysseus: Strengths and Weaknesses of Character

Odysseus defines an archetype by becoming the embodiment of a hero. Since he was an infant he was cursed to have troubled exploits in his life. Throughout the story; Odyssey, Odysseus acts heroically and faces trials without fear. ¨Odysseus! Come here! You are well-known from many stories! Glory of the Greeks!¨ Though he remains a hero, he receives a large amount of divine support from the goddess Athena and the god Hermes. Eventually he becomes reliant on this support in his adventures, expecting it and preparing to have it.

Odysseus was destined for trouble from the start of his life, granted a name ensuing fate by his grandfather Autolycas. ¨Just as I have come from afar, creating pain for many men and women across the good green earth, so let his name be Odysseus . . . the Son of Pain, a name he’ll earn in full.¨ A name meaning such must foreshadow issues in the future of his life. ¨a name he´ll earn in full¨, this is undoubtedly true in Odyssey. Odysseus faces trials galore and suffers the wrath of Poseidon, a god in whose domain Odysseus spends all of his travels. Poseidon grieves him with bad weather, and even punishes those who aid him in his quest to get home. The Phaeacians are a seafaring people blessed by the gods, at one point in this story, Odysseus washes up onto the shore of Phaecia and requests help, being a hospitable people with a lack of visitors the Phaeacians decide to give him a place to stay. To punish them for supporting Odysseus, Poseidon turns their ships to stone, thus preventing them from journeying any longer.

In the trials Odysseus partakes in, he shows leadership and courage. In many situations he looks out for his crew, despite certain cyclops encounters in the story. The most important gesture of loyalty is his compliance to grant Elpenor’s request in the underworld.¨ I ask that you remember me, and do not go and leave me behind unwept, unburied, when he leave, for fear I might become the gods’ curse upon you; but burn me there with all my armor that belongs to me, and heap up a grave mound beside the beach of that gray sea, for an unhappy man, so that those to come will know of me.’ Elpenor requests this of Odysseus when his spectre appears to drink. Odysseus grants this, going out of his way to give Elpenor a proper burial. This is far from the only time his loyalty to his crew shows. For example, when his crew have been bewitched by Circé Odysseus risks his life to save them and faces the witch.

Odysseus is a very cunning man as well, he outwits opponents and navigates through situations with strategy. ¨Nobody, thats my name. Nobody, so my mother and father call me, all my friends.¨ Odysseus uses this strategy while the cyclops Polyphemus is blinded as to prevent him from knowing his true name. Odysseus utilizes misdirection and disguises to their best potential, often using codes or pretending to be a pauper. Odysseus is so clever that Athena, the goddess of wisdom praises him for it. ¨Come, enough of this now. We’re both old hands at the arts of intrigue. Here among mortal men you’re far the best at tactics, spinning yarns, and I am famous among the gods for wisdom, cunning wiles, too.¨ Athena admiring a mortal for something in her domain is a sign of his intelligence if any.

Odyssey by Homer greatly exemplifies the possible complications of a character. No character in this book is given as much depth as that of Odysseus, telling of his adventures and struggles. Odysseus is shown as a flawed hero in this novel, being noble, brave, and clever but also pompous, expectant and desperate. This shows how one person can have conflicting traits and idealisms, going in depth to show the thought processes of characters. Showing how destiny and fate will play a role in everything, no matter your kindness or social status. It proves that one man, can face one thousand trials.