The "Trouble" With Odysseus: Original Hero of Western Literature

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4 Responses to “The "Trouble" With Odysseus: Original Hero of Western Literature”


  • Now I want to go back and read the whole story… Almost. I remember hating it in high school, perhaps I’ll just skip it. :)

    Question: Do you consider Odysseus to be a “modern” hero?

  • ^I imagine that the answer to your question depends on how you define a ‘modern’ hero. We can use our modern sensitivities to condemn the obvious sexism and gratuitous violence in The Odyssey. But that would be unfairly judging a literary work out of its historical context.

    Hopefully, humans will always enjoy the story for its celebration of many timeless virtues such as resilience, courage, and loyalty, to name but a few.

  • Trouble, indeed. I hope things settled down for him after he killed all those suitors. He deserved a break. Although I always felt that this should have been a trilogy; I guess Homer never got around to writing the Apochorisi. :D

    Seriously, Odysseus is indeed an icon of both history and literature. It’s interesting to think that his name was derived from the Greek word for “trouble,” for now our word Odyssey, a grand voyage, is derived from his name. He has transformed trouble to inspiration– now that’s heroic. 8)

  • I feel that Odysseus’s strongest virtue was actually his resilience. Throughout his entire journey home he is constantly palced in perilous situations, sometimes for years at a time. He could have given up at any point and just accepted defeat. However, he instead continued to press on because he couldn’t leave his wife alone. This is very inspiring and shows the true character of a hero.

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