In reading the Odyssey there were a couple of things that struck me about out hero Odysseus. Odysseus is the hero of a time period and as such there is nothing that he can do wrong. I understand this all to well. We in our everyday live have constructed hero that are on a pedestal that is so high that they can commit crimes that would be very serious and not be punished by us. It is easy for us to excuse them for these deeds that they have done which have wronged others in some way, because of who they are.
I can see this several places in the Odyssey. There is one time in particular that strikes me as odd and this time is when Odysseus is in the cave of the Cyclops and they are waiting there to meet their host and his men contemplate stealing all the cheese and taking off without meeting their host. Odysseus does not think that this is a bad idea but decides against in the end and for more than one-reason regrets it. Another time Odysseus raids a village, or plunders it as the book says and runs off with all the stuff. I wonder what hero would do this?
I am not sure but Odysseus for the most part is a pretty model hero. Look at all the brave things that he did. Can we even count all the great things that he did? They are numerous for sure. Just talk to anyone that fought with Odysseus as his son Telemahkas does and you will find out that there is no better man. Odysseus is slow to temper as most heroes are and one example is when he with the people of Phaeacia and everyone is outside participating in some contests and our hero is challenged to compete by a young man.
Odysseus who is obviously tires and in no mood for games declines. When he does so the young challenger mocks Odysseus and says that he is probably some pirate in loose terms and the angered Odysseus replies to this by a short retort in which he rebukes this foolish man and then he throws a discus which is much bigger than any being used by the other competitors and he also throws it much farther.
It is clear by this that he is indeed quite strong a characteristic of a hero and then he proceeds to challenge all other to whatever they wish, with no one accepting his challenge he is now regained some of his stature and the audience is reminded how great a man he is to for this tough he be exhausted from travel at sea. It is hard to define one heroic ideal that Odysseus possesses that is more important than another. I think that there are many things that he does that make him a great hero.
How great a man would he have to be for his wife to stay faithful when for all she know he is more than likely dead? How is that Odysseus is the only one to be able to pull back his bow. This is another example of how great Odysseus is. The examples are quite numerous but what is most interesting about them is which are chosen most frequently to be addressed. I think that this is interesting because it shows what the Greeks valued. The one thing that struck me was how well he talks. Odysseus can always talk most gracefully.
Although there are times that he does not do so, he and does not get what he wants. When our hero takes the time to sweet talk whomever it is that he needs to he always gets what he wants, with a little help from Athena. This is interesting to me because the Greeks valued questioning everything so much. Why is this? Why is it that this is so highly valued? I do not have the answer for this but I think that it may lie in the Greeks great desire for truth. This seems to be highly valued and it is for this reason that I brought up the misdeeds that I did in the beginning of the paper.
I wonder how a society which values truth so much could hold a man who is deceitful so hi. I think that the answer lie in the fact that there are no sins in their time only mistakes or actions made in haste. I t seems that the Greeks are more interested in a good life and are not really concerned with how to achieve this good life. There are philosophers that argue that they have some knowledge that will help lead to the good life but I have yet to see anyone of them achieve this life of good that they speak of.