The Odyssey and the Greek Concept of Hero.

Essay by XxCrisisxXUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2004

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The meaning of the term "hero" has been debated since the beginning of time itself. However, the Geek conception"hero" has laid the foundation of how modern man defines "hero."According to Overfeild, the concept of the Greek hero is accented by his "virtues of personal honor, bravery, and loyalty to ones comrades" (50). In The Odyssey, the Greek hero, Odysseus, possessed each one of these attributes. In "A Journey to the Underworld," the reader can pick up what characteristics Achaean men considered to be a "hero."

First, the spirit of Teiresias of Thebes addresses Odysseus saying "Son of Laurtes, sprung from Zues" (51). This title implies his Godlike heroic qualities. Then, before speaking to Teiresias, the hero must put down his mighty sword and drink the blood of the animals he has sacrificed. This, in turn, implies Odysseus's personal honor to nature. Another characteristic that Achaean men held in high regard to a hero.

Next, when Teiresias describes Odysseus's journey home, he mentions that great harm may befall on his men if he is not careful. This is indirectly stating that Teiresias knows that Odysseus takes great pride in his men. And he knows that Homer would not want anything to happen to his comrades. This scene further describes the attributes of a hero according to Achaean men. Finally, towards the end of the conversation between Teiresias and Odysseus, Teiresias states that our hero must sacrifice a bull for lord Poseidon. This foreshadows future bravery. Which again, is another characteristic of a Greek hero that Achaean men held in high regard.

Before long, the hero is befriended by his old comrade-in-arms, Achilles, who was slain in combat. Odysseus is excited to see him. He states that the Achaean men honored him as though he was a...