Odyssey Paragraphing. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. The Good. Exceptionally strong three-prong thesis statements! You tackled the new prompt format very well! Rules of formal writing—greatly improved….KNOW THIS!!! Strong work with intro paragraph structure. The Bad.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Odysseus: The Anti-Hero
A hero is generally defined as a person who is idealized for his noble qualities and achievements. Homer’s timeless epic poem about a Greek war hero struggling to return home includes many examples of heroism, though very few of these examples concern the main character. Although Joseph Campbell describes a hero as being selfless and determined, Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey is not a hero according to Campbell’s definition because he is selfish, irresponsible, and arrogant.
Odysseus’ irresponsibility is displayed through his experiences on the island of Aeaea. While he is there, he needlessly prolongs his stay on the island. “So we sat there day after day for a year…my trusty crew called out and said: ‘Good god man, at long last remember your home’” (Homer X.488-493). Odysseus’ apathetic actions demonstrate that he does not fit Joseph Campbell’s definition of a hero because by acting so irresponsibly, he is not truly fighting for his cause, which would be returning home to Ithaca. By voluntarily staying and feasting with Circe instead of immediately trying to return home—and not realizing the err in his ways until his crew speaks up—he is communicating that he feels no sense of urgency to return home, even though he says that he does. For this reason, Odysseus is very careless and irresponsible, and does not embody Joseph Campbell’s definition of a hero.
What Makes a Hero (and Breaks a Hero)
A prominent attribute of a hero is one’s undying willingness to sacrifice oneself for the greater good. Homer’s epic story of a man who goes on a perilous journey to finally get home contains many examples of heroic and unheroic characters. Despite the fact that Joseph Campbell describes a hero as a selfless martyr, Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey is not a hero according to Campbell’s quote because he is arrogant, selfish, and untrusting.
Odysseus proves himself to lack the qualities of a hero because of his arrogant ways. Odysseus believes himself superior to all of his men and only sees them as his followers. This trait is highlighted when Odysseus mocks the Cyclops, Polyphemus, even though his crew warns him of the danger it might bring. “Don’t do it man…The rock that hit the water pushed us in and we thought we were done for…They tried but they couldn’t persuade my hero’s heart…and I called back to [Polyphemus]” (Homer. IX.493-499). As blatantly demonstrated in the text, Odysseus pays no mind to his men’s advice because he doesn’t fully respect them. This lack of respect causes him to put his crew in jeopardy in his pursuit for recognition and glory. Campbell’s quote states that a hero should be selfless and be willing to commit self-sacrifice for a greater cause, which is the exact opposite of what Odysseus does. Instead, Odysseus endangers his men not for a greater cause, but because of petty mockery. Because of his childish antics and needlessly putting his crew at risk, Odysseus displays himself as the opposite of what Campbell states is a hero.