Odysseus's Heroic Qualities

Chase Dolan
Period 7
November 15th
What Makes a Hero a Hero?
What makes a hero a hero? Webster's New International Dictionary defines a hero as "a
mythological or legendary figure endowed with great strength, courage or ability, favored
by the gods." This definition for a hero seems to resemble Odysseus very closely. But
surely people outside of literature can also be heroes. From Webster we learn that a hero
can also be "a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and considered a model
or ideal." Is Odysseus a hero by this definition? I certainly believe he makes the cut.
These characteristics of a hero are definitely shown by Odysseus, and that they make some
sort of a checklist that we can use to identify heroes both in literature and in everyday
life. Further, I propose to show that heroes can be of the everyday variety: the
firefighters, aid workers, and   soldiers who are willing to risk their lives and make huge
sacrifices to help others. To be considered a hero, a man must   posses or obtain certain “heroic” qualities and characteristics. If Odysseus is a hero by definition then can't “ordinary” people that also posses the qualities to be a hero?
Two of in my opinion the most important characteristics a hero must have are strength (ancient Greeks actually believed that physical strength was a heroic quality) and mental stamina.   For Odysseus one perfect example of how he had extreme mental stamina is when he was in the cave with Calypso for many, many years and was told about his mothers death, he still stayed strong and he still focused on his number one goal; to get home. Odysseus stayed strong throughout the entire poem and never gave up. One perfect example of Odysseus's extreme physical strength is when he is on his extremely long multiple day swim that Athena sends him on. The first few days of the swim go fine but then suddenly Poseidon, god of seas and earthquakes lashes out on Odysseus attempting to make him...