Was Odysseus a Hero?


Quick Answer

Odysseus is a hero. As one of the main characters in Homer's epic poems "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," Odysseus is one of the prototypical heroes of Western Literature.

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Full Answer

In the classic Greek tradition, Odysseus is characterized primarily by his positive traits: exceptional strength, courage, sharpness of wit and intelligence. However, he also has a fatal flaw or "hamartia." As with many Greek heroes, his greatest weakness was his hubris, or pride. For example, although his trademark cunning allowed him to rescue many of his men and escape Polyphemus the Cyclops, Odysseus was unable to resist taunting his foe as they escaped. This act of hubris later came back to cost him dearly. So, although he is unquestionably a hero, Odysseus is not portrayed as perfect.

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