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Is Odysseus a Timeless Hero?

The world population is continuously looking for heroes who act as motivation in times of challenge. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is a legendary or mythological character who shows an endowment of divinely great ability and strength, a well-known warrior exhibiting immense courage or an individual admired for beautiful qualities and exceptional achievements. A timeless hero would, thus, be a legendary character whose appreciation remains steadfast across generations. Moreover, a timeless hero takes a reserved position in history and is often referred to as a revered example of how others ought to live. Reviewing the influence of Odysseus’ heroism, it is evident that Odysseus is a timeless hero whose qualities, abilities, and acts of courage have consistently inspired the development of individuals and new directions in art.

From The Odyssey, the main character embodies all the qualities of a hero. He exhibits extreme intelligence, courage, and curiosity. His eloquence, prompt critical thinking, and innovativeness save him and his crew from many dangers. For instance, when his interest drives them into the trapping cave of Polyphemos Cyclops, he uses his eloquence and wit to chat a way out of the trap. He evokes Cyclops’ greed and emotions to lure him into taking wine that allows them an escape. Odysseus diction and articulation are heroic,

“Kyklops, try some wine. / Here’s liquor to wash down your scraps of men. / Taste it and see the kind of drink we carried / under our planks. I meant it as an offering / if you would help us home. But you are mad, / unbearable, a bloody monster! After this, / will any other traveler come to see you?'” (Fagles 155)

Later, Odysseus admits how he had to draw all his wits above normal humanity to ensure they escape from the imminent death at Cyclops’ cave.

Odysseus also uses his cunningness to kill all suitors without being noticed. Instead of a normal massacre, he organizes the killing under the disguise of a wedding with music and perfect dressing (Fagles 433). Even though this quality may sometimes be considered as a negative trait, in case of a hero, it becomes admirable.

The courageousness of Odysseus is depicted in several cases, one of which is the braving of the sirens. Even after being told about the risks of listening to the Sirens and their sweet music, he chooses to leave his ears open. Even after knowing that the bewitching voices of the Sirens will make him fight with the ropes to injury, he takes the risk, suffers, and overcomes the challenge, which is also evident in his Hades encounter. In such a way, his bravery and epic victories made him a hero.

Odysseus’ heroism is also exemplified in his ability to be loyal and bring teams together. Throughout the story, Odysseus commits to winning the war as a show of his loyalty to his family. His main aim is to get back home and unite with his family (Fagles 435). While at this, he shows an excellent ability to unite and evoke the loyalty of his men. Even under such serious temptations and challenges as with the Scylla, Sirens, and Circe, he is still able to ensure that his men remained not only loyal and committed to the cause but also to his leadership (Fagles 318). Throughout the journey, Odysseus shows many more instances of intelligence, courage, and other noble qualities. These exhibitions prove undoubtedly that he is a hero.

Having ascertained that, it is critical to analyze if he is a timeless hero. Whether Odysseus heroism is timeless or limited to the Greek fantastic time requires the examination of the influence of Odysseus on contemporary art and life. It has been stated that heroes become timeless in their death (Beye 28). The death of Odysseus, thus, marks the beginning of a legacy that has lived and survived for over 2000 years. The qualities of the hero remain critical to contemporary leadership training. The fact that the heroic nature and qualities are still used in school curricula show that his character still has much to be admired. Colleges and high schools have used the heroism of Odysseus to depict certain characters of Odysseus as the epitome of good leadership and to assert specific essential philosophical averments.

The timelessness of Odysseus heroism is also depicted in art and literary work. Famous painters of the 19th and twentieth century have taken Homer’s works seriously. Artifacts show that artist and lovers of art alike admired Odysseus. Artists in the 17th – 20th centuries created not only to depict their inner passions but also to sell to their clients who were the leaders of those times (Myres 54). It is, thus, valid to argue that the heroism of the Odysseus was admired by kings and other leaders of these centuries.  Perhaps the best proof of the timelessness of Odysseus’s heroism is the modern movie industry, which has adopted the trickster-hero archetype whose origin is traceable to Odysseus. The directors of these movies sought their inspirations in homer’s presentation of the intelligence that Odysseus exhibit. Peter Pan, Jack Sparrow, the Joker and River song are some of the few movie characters depicted as trickster heroes. Without mentioning the name of Odysseus, his character lives on. Interestingly, the modern viewers of these films find this depiction extremely interesting and motivating. Odysseus continues to live in these characters.

Several sites where Odysseus is presumed to have followed still act as tourist attractions today. Bonifacio, on Corsica’s south coast, is a particular example of how people rely on Odysseus motivation to do amazing things in reality (Myres 246). This location is often presented to tourists as the place where Laestrygonians sank eleven Greek ships by throw boulders from a towering cliff. It presents all the description of Homer and has attracted tourists from across the globe. The fact that visitors generally come from all the continents means that the Odysseus story remains alive now and will remain so forever.

Odysseus is no doubt, a timeless hero. While his curiosity lands him intro many problems, his actions of courage and immense intelligence help him to overcome most of his challenges and risks that he brought to himself and the crew.  Moreover, his ability to ensure that all members of his teams are united and focused on the goal further asserts him as an epic hero. Nevertheless, his timelessness is shown in the way he influences education, painting art, movie production and real estate development. The character of Odysseus has shaped a lot of human existence and will continue to influence the definition of hero as well as the impact on leadership studies.

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