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ANALYZING AN EPIC Elements of an Epic Hero. ODYSSEUS AS A CLASSIC GREEK HERO “Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and.

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Presentation on theme: "ANALYZING AN EPIC Elements of an Epic Hero. ODYSSEUS AS A CLASSIC GREEK HERO “Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and."— Presentation transcript:

1 ANALYZING AN EPIC Elements of an Epic Hero

2 ODYSSEUS AS A CLASSIC GREEK HERO “Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea, fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.” Translated by R. Fagles (1966) © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

3 What makes Odysseus a classic Greek hero? How can Homer’s The Odyssey be characterized as the story of an epic hero? ODYSSEUS IS INTELLIGENT -but his shrewd intelligence is of the cunning and sly sort….not the book-smart type. He is, after all, a man of “twists and turns…” Odysseus is a man of deceptions and disguises. © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

4 Odysseus mocks reliance on strength alone. Strength without cunning is what dooms the suitors to Odysseus’s deception. Odysseus cuts his losses to Scylla and Charybdis through careful navigation. Odysseus is also able to use Circe’s wisdom to enjoy the Sirens’ song without falling prey to their seductive dangers. Even Odysseus’ encounter with spirits from Troy in the Underworld is a reminder of how brutish glory brings a short, violent life. Odysseus’s glory is won by his wits and will yield him a long, peaceful life. © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

5 Physical Strength While Odysseus demonstrates cunning, farsightedness, adaptability and other aspects of intellectual prowess, he is by no means a physical weakling! He is not enormous, but he is powerful, and he is both an excellent athlete and a formidable soldier. © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

6 Odysseus is on a QUEST to return HOME The sharpness with which he won the Trojan War is the same devious aptitude he uses to find his way back home. This same intelligence is used to outwit monsters and other foes who block his path and threaten his men’s lives. © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

7 Odysseus must be willing to FACE DANGER WITH COURAGE. He does not shrink away from his leadership role in times of great peril. From

8 Fortunately……he has the ASSISTANCE of the GODS Throughout the epic, Athena represents Odysseus favorably to the other gods, assists and guides him. Circe gives advice and ultimately, Zeus helps Odysseus rule peacefully once he finally arrives home. Of course, the gods are not always pleased. Poseidon makes Odysseus’s journey a true test of his wit and valor. © Microsoft ClipArt 2000

9 What else? Odysseus is also an ARISTOCRAT. He is ROYAL, a member of the ruling class who seeks to recapture his “rightful” place after his long years away at war. He returns to one last battle of revenge on interlopers…rude, crass suitors of Penelope’s affections and possessions…and reasserts his claim to his palace, a beautiful wife and a loyal son to be his proper heir. From

10 A few notes on his SPECIAL STATUS…. Yes, like most classic heroes, Odysseus must prove himself again and again and again, and the perceptions others have of him are of vital importance to his heroic stature, but……….. From

11 ….unlike heroes such as Beowulf who search out the dragon and the danger…. Odysseus is always willing to find another way around the danger if possible. He doesn’t run, but he is willing to hide… behind disguises, behind well-timed silences, amongst sheep and the suitors.

12 Like tragic heroes, Odysseus has faults that lead to disaster. Unlike tragic heroes, Odysseus is uses his cunning and guile to escape the ultimate price his crew has to pay for his mistakes. A FLAW

13 Odysseus has voracious appetites and a mortal’s weakness for comfort. He wastes valuable time on Calypso’s island where he indulges in sex, food and a basically hedonistic lifestyle. Finally, he is long removed from the excitement of activity and glory, and he politely leaves for home. On Cyclops’ island, trapped and in severe danger of being eaten down to the last man, Odysseus thinks of a clever ruse to escape the monster. Upon their escape, his appetite for fame makes him careless and he reveals his name. By doing this, he earns Polyphemus’ curse and Poseidon’s wrath. When his men open the bag of winds and slaughter Helios’ flocks, AND when Helios’ cattle are eaten, sleeping Odysseus is responsible for their fall into temptation.

14 Let’s review…Odysseus Possesses a cunning wit, used more than his aging physical strength. Defeats his enemies with clever deception rather than meet them head-on. Endures many trials and challenges. Takes the hero’s quest to emerge as a new, wiser and more mature man. Overcomes his weaknesses to complete his journey and reclaim his home and family. Interacts with the gods and receives both their favors and their curses. Becomes a heroic figure, a literary icon and an adventurer’s idol. The End

15 WORKS CITED kship1.html y/themes.html Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Books,1996

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