What defines a hero? The ability to fly through a city with laser eyes? Or the superheroes in movies, which fight off villains and save the day? Regardless of possessing super strength and supernatural powers; heros are defined by their personality, actions and mental strength. A hero is a loyal, confident and selfless human.
An epic hero is a noble character and hero in an epic poem. Even though in many cases, an epic hero is guided by many gods, they acquire many conflicts and admirable characteristics. For instance, in the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, the main character, Odysseus, is known as the epic hero of the plot because of his incredible accomplishments and courageous actions throughout the novel. In The Odyssey, “There is no mortal half so wise; no mortal gave so much to the lords,”(Homer, 3). Although Odysseus is not a god, many of his characteristics make him nearly similar to a god.
Odysseus faces many challenges while returning back home to Ithaca, these challenges he overcomes slowly shape him into a better hero and shows his state of compatibility of being heroic and strong. To begin with, Odysseus has shown hero like qualities while fighting to save his companions. A hero is someone who willingly puts themselves in danger while knowing the risks of the task. The reader can see this when Odysseus chooses “four strong men, and I himself made five as the captain” (Homer 155), to go venture out into the cave. Seen another way, the author describes Odysseus as a fearless leader who is not intimidated of anything. Conversely, Odysseus’s crew did not volunteer to help him defeat Polyphemus’s.
With this in mind, Odysseus is not the type of leader to sit on safe land while his men are sent out to kill. These small actions in the novel show Odysseus’s natural reaction when it comes to a life or death situation. As time passed, when Odysseus returns home to Ithaka, he still has the courage to take revenge on the Suitors for their disrespectful actions toward his family.
Even though Odysseus has been gone for more than ten years he is still trying to protect his wife and his son, as well as his kingdom. “How could a single man take on those odds Suitors? Not even a hero could, ” (Homer 292) Odysseus has proved the readers wrong. He single-handedly killed all the suitors who took disadvantage of his wife. Odysseus’s actions show confidence and no fear, these are all characteristics of a strong hero. Alongside, the author clearly stated, Odysseus is a hero if he kills all of the Suitors.
Odysseus’s bravery and courage has shown the readers it is not strength that takes to become a hero. Equally as important, Odysseus mental strength and intellect has also defined him to be an epic hero. His ability to propose a plan and execute it thoroughly makes him one of a kind as well.