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The Odyssey, Odysseus Character Analysis

The Good And Bad Characteristics Of Odysseus

An individual's characteristics are the key to their behavior. Homer's The Odyssey takes place about 700BC in the Mediterranean, near Greece. The epic tells of a man who left his home twenty years earlier to fight in the Trojan War. His mission now is to make his way home to Ithaca. Odysseus shows good and bad traits throughout the epic that influence his way home.

The courage and wisdom of Odysseus help him survive through the whole epic. For example, Odysseus kills the Cyclops while the giant is asleep, even though the monster ate two men minutes before (P.110). Odysseus has courage to stand up for his beliefs and never lets the opinion of others keep him from doing what is right. Some think Odysseus shows his courage throughout the epic because he is proud and does not want to leave any job unfinished. Furthermore, Odysseus by plugs the sailors' ears with wax when going through the Sirens, whose sweet singing lures sailors to there doom (p. 141). Odysseus often hesitates before acting, because he uses reason to evaluate the situation, which saves him and his men many times. Odysseus knows that there is no progress without the wisdom to back it up. Using courage and wisdom throughout life allows a person to see greatness in life.

As great as he was, Odysseus still had some weaknesses, most importantly that of his pride and sensualness, that prolongs his voyage back to Ithaca. This is clearly evident in the episode on the Cyclopes' Island when Odysseus and his men are safely away from the island when Odysseus brags about his exploits making Polythemus hurl giant boulders almost sinking the ship (P. 114). This incident hurt Odysseus more than just losing a few men, because Poseidon makes his travel home very long and arduous. This proud characteristic shows Odysseus has a lack of respect for others and that he is selfish. Furthermore, Odysseus stays with Circe for one year before his men remind him of home (p. 116). This characteristic of sensualness demonstrates that Odysseus is unable to resist temptation. This hinders his mission; setting him back in his journey. Odysseus's weaknesses in life downsize him, making himself less powerful.

The story portrays how an individual's characteristics can affect the outcomes of their life. Nonetheless, Odysseus survives all that happens to him. His courage, wisdom, intelligence and...

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