In Homer’s Epic, The Odyssey Odysseus the leader of Ithaca goes through very long troublesome and painful journey after fighting in the Trojan War. Throughout the whole epic, learning and experiencing his long expedition, the reader can decide who is to blame. Many Greek people would believe that Gods are almost always the source of human misfortune, however the distress maybe caused by their selves rather than the all-powerful gods. Odysseus has been away from his kingdom a total of twenty years, consisting of ten years fighting in Troy and ten years on his journey home, even though his passage to Ithaca shouldn’t be anywhere that long.
Surely certain circumstances keep Odysseus from his family and kingdom due to the engagements of some characters, but who is to Blame. Those characters that are responsible for Odysseus’ misfortune are the nymphs that Odysseus encounters, the crew of Odysseus, and the great Odysseus himself. The Nymphs Circe and Calypso play a big role in Odysseus’ troublesome journey being some of the easily identifiable characters that cause him trouble. A Nymph is a beautiful young woman that acts as temptation and is seen as wicked.
In relation to Odysseus, they are anything but helpful to his voyage home, with the exception of a sea nymph he meets briefly. The first bewitching nymph is Circe; a nymph that trying to turn Odysseus and his crew into swine, which Odysseus ultimately foils and eventually has relations with for a year. The second Nymph being Calypso, a nymph that kept Odysseus away for seven years. Odysseus’ time with calypso is revealed that, “he’d sleep with her in her arching cave-he had no choice, unwilling lover alongside lover too willing…” (Homer. . 157). This shows how Odysseus is being detained in a cave with Calypso, his “willing” lover and also how Odysseus is disinclined and hesitant to her temptation but his opposition was not enough to resist her lust. Odysseus is furthermore sadden because he is very Homesick shown as he is described, “wrenching his heart with sobs and groans and anguish gazing out over the barren sea through barren sea through, blinding tears” (5. 157). Odysseus is longing for his home wanting to return were he belongs.
He has been with nymphs for eight out of his ten year journey, so they are definitely factors to his long journey home. The second group of characters that lead to Odysseus’s anguish filled journey is his own crew. A crew is as vital to a ship as a captain is, if not more important. A crew is also expected to be loyal to their captain through thick and thin, something that is tested throughout the epic. Odysseus’ crew goes through a lot while on their journey home even after serving in the Trojan War.
These events include multiple deaths of the crew such as being killed by menacing monsters such as the Cyclopes, Scylla and Charybdis along with being turned into pigs, losing their desire from the lotus flower and much more. The crew eventually becomes mutinous when Erylolchus persuades the men to kill and eat the cattle that belong to Helios and that are so essential to their passage home. The Sun God goes to Zeus and explains his anger when he asks Zeus to “punish them all, that crew of Laertes’ son Odysseus-what an outrage! They killed my cattle” (12. 282).
Zeus is encouraged to smite them, along with their ship. This is also the moment when the crew’s fate becomes sealed and Odysseus’s voyage becomes even more complicated force to go on alone. The last character to blame for Odysseus’ anguish is Odysseus himself. Like many epic heroes of Greek literature Odysseus suffers from Hubris. Hubris is excessive pride, something we see in Odysseus throughout the story. For instance when he knows they will pass the sirens and Odysseus feels he must hear and resist their song, rather than just fill his ears with wax, like his crew.
It is not until this peccadillo of Odysseus becomes a threat when he exclaims to the Cyclops, “if any man on the face of earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so-say Odysseus” while narrowly escaping his island (9. 227). When Odysseus exclaims his name and taunts the Cyclopes, it proves to be a pejorative decision. Even Though the crew tries to stop Odysseus from provoking the monster, continues, eventually leading to the exposition of Poseidon as the father of the Cyclopes, and the introduction of Poseidon as an antagonist to Odysseus.
Poseidon made sure his journey would be wearisome and difficult, in which it very much was. Odysseus became a menace to himself as soon as he opened his mouth to sneer the beast. After Reading the epic, readers are able to reflect on Odysseus as a hero by looking back on his journey. Odysseus has been through a lot with his crew, and even more without them. Even if his trouble was done by himself or his comrades, in the end he emerged somewhat victorious, being home with his family.
But being successful does not make him the hero he is considered, his actions and personality make him a hero. The definition of an Epic Hero is an epic, larger than life character that encounters a journey, representing values of society they originate from and having their own hamartia. Odysseus definitely has an extraordinary personality, goes on a life changing excursion, staying true to his roots of Ithaca and displaying his affection for his family. Even his flaw of hubris makes him an active representation of a Hero.