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The Odyssey

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Odysseus embodies many characteristics the Greeks considered heroic, including bravery and a sense of strategy, both of which he displays on his tiresome journey home to Ithaca. Odysseus exhibits his courage in many circumstances by escaping even the most terrorizing situations. For example, stabbing the Cyclops's eye required valor that only Odysseus could muster. He didn't blind Polyphemus by himself, but it took Odysseus's encouraging and eloquent words to persuade his men to perform such a risky task." Now at last, I thrust our stake in a bed of embers/ to get it red-hot and rallied all my comrades/ 'Courage-no panic, no one hang back now!'"(223). Another example of Odysseus's incredible dauntlessness is when he braved Circe's magical potions inspired only to save his men. While Odysseus received aid from the gods without which he most likely would not have succeeded, he had the initial courage to challenge Circe even before he was granted immunity. This bravery is truly what defines an authentic hero. It was Hermes who warned Odysseus of Circe's powers and suggested he ingest a potion allowing him to intake Circe's bewitched food and drink without experiencing the evil effects. Before he knew all this, however, it was Eurylochus who warned and pleaded with Odysseus to stay, but he went on, driven by loyalty.

"'You will never return yourself, I swear.

You'll never bring back a single man alive.

Quick, cut and run with the rest of us here-

we can still escape the fatal day!'

But I shot back, 'Eurylochus, stay right here,

eating, drinking, safe by the black ship.

I must be off. Necessity drives me on.'" (239)

A third example of Odysseus's courage is shown when Odysseus and his men approach Scylla. Odysseus had been warned and was well aware that Scylla ate six men out of each ship that passed her dreaded cavern. Protective of his men, and loyal to his crew, Odysseus suited himself in armor and prepared to fight the goddess, Scylla. "But now I cleared my mind of Circe's orders-/ I donned my heroic armor, seized long spears/ in both my hands and marched out on the half-deck." (278). Odysseus proves himself to be courageous countless times throughout the novel by saving himself and his men from horrible conditions and unimaginable circumstances.

Although Odysseus's strength and courage are imperative to his homecoming, it is his wit and strategy that save his life time and time again. Perhaps the Trojan horse incident is Odysseus's most famous endeavor. In this tale, Odysseus comes up with the brilliant plan to hide with his men in a large wooden horse that they disguise as a gift. They eventually emerge, within Troy's gates, to destroy the city. "For Troy was fated to perish once the city lodged/ inside her walls the monstrous wooden

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