How does Odysseus show strength?


Quick Answer

In Homer's epic poem "Odyssey," Odysseus shows strength during the 10-year Trojan War, when blinding Poseidon's son and by stringing a bow that no other man can string. He also shows strength during his 10-year voyage home, during which he outwits the Sirens and escapes Scylla and Charybdis.

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Full Answer

During the Trojan War, Odysseus shows his mettle in more than one way. He refuses to cede, even after the Trojans overpower him and his troops. He leads a risky nocturnal raid, which is a success. Ten years after the War began, and with no victory in sight, Odysseus conceives of the Trojan Horse, which helps the Greeks take the city. But Odysseus is more intelligent than he is strong, and here lies his real strength.

During his 10-year voyage home, he blinds a Cyclops, resists Circe, braves the Underworld, endures the Sirens' hypnotic songs and escapes Scylla and Charybdis, often without using brute strength. For example, knowing that his ship must pass through Siren-infested waters and that their songs cause men to drown themselves, he blocks his men's ears with wax and has them tie him to the ship, which lets him continue steering despite wanting to jump overboard. Odysseus is the sole survivor after Apollo destroys his ship with a lightning bolt, and after escaping the nymph Calypso, he survives a second shipwreck before swimming to shore.

To reunite with his wife, Penelope, Odysseus slaughters the suitors who want her hand. He also strings a bow that no other man can string, proving his identity, and fights in and survives a battle against relatives of the men he killed.

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