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Jack Kelly

Block 5

English

A Long Way Home

Our actions define who we are. This is true of all people. This is especially true of
characters in stories. One such story is The Odyssey. The Odyssey follows Odysseus on a long
struggle home following a victory at Troy. His journey was long and hard because he angered the
gods. Throughout his journey Odysseus was faced with many decisions. When he acts upon the
decisions he defines himself. The way Odysseus defines himself definitely deserves to be
admired or to be deserving of respect. Odysseuss traits and actions are heroic. Throughout The
Odyssey he is cunning, courageous, and loyal to his family and crew.

Throughout Odysseuss long voyage home he makes quick, brilliant decisions that always
influence the story. When Cyclops first falls asleep after sealing his cave with a great stone,
Odysseus has the opportunity to kill Cyclops. (Document C, lines 317-318) If Odysseus had
killed Cyclops right there he and his crew would have been trapped in the cave. A rash man
would not have thought of this. Perhaps Odysseuss most brilliant idea was to tell Cyclops that
his name was Nohbdy. (Document C, line 383) When Odysseus first tells this to Cyclops the
reader does not get what Odysseus is trying to do. At this time Odysseus knows that he will blind
Cyclops. He also knows that if Cyclops tells his friends and family that Nohbdy has blinded him,
his fellow Cyclopes will do nothing thinking that it is a pain caused by the Gods. This allows
Odysseus to escape without having to fight other Cyclopes. This is not the end of Odysseuss fast
thinking. He still has to engineer a way out of the cave without detection. He ended up sneaking
out of the cave holding on to the stomach of Cyclopss sheep as they went out to pasture.
(Document C, lines 443-454) Thinking up how to do all of this takes effort. Odysseus wanted to

Jack Kelly

Block 5

English

keep his men alive. In this cave he faced almost certain death, but he was able to keep a level
head and lead his men out of the cave.

Being a great leader requires courage. Odysseus is very courageous throughout The
Odyssey. Odysseus displays courage when he is trapped in Cyclopss cave. He is heroic and a
good leader because instead of cowering he stands up and talks to Cyclops. (Document C Line
272) Odysseus talks to a colossal man. Odysseus knows that with one swipe Cyclops could kill
him, but Odysseus defended himself and his men. Another time that Odysseus displays his
courageousness is when he leaves Calypso on just a raft. (Document B, Line 185) The
Mediterranean Sea is a rough place to be no matter what, especially if you have angered a God.
Odysseus has angered the Gods and will be attempting this voyage on nothing but a raft. To do
this requires courage. When Odysseuss men have been changed into animals by Circe, Odysseus
goes to confront Circe. (Document D, Line 460) Circe is a witch, and she could change Odysseus
into an animal. Despite this Odysseus rallies his troops to go retrieve his men. Odysseus also
shows courage by being ready to fight Scylla. (Document E, lines 273-274) In each of these
examples Odysseus faces an uncertain future. He is always willing to do what he knows has to be
done to get back to Ithaca and his wife.

Odysseus spends roughly twenty years at sea. During this time he never lost sight of what
was important to him. He never forgot his wife or his crewmates. When Odysseus is trapped on
Calypsos island he never stops thinking about Penelope. He is willing to give up Calypso, who
is very beautiful, and immortality to be with his mortal wife. (Document B, lines 220-231) He is
showing serious loyalty and devotion to Penelope. Odysseus is not just loyal to his wife; he is

Jack Kelly

Block 5

English

also loyal to his crew. When they are exiting Cyclopss cave underneath Cyclopss flock,
Odysseus lets his crew go first. (Document C, line 454) Not only does Odysseus let his crew go
first, and he also lets each one be surrounded by three sheep for protection. (Document C, lines
447-450) Odysseus only has one sheep. This is an act of selflessness and loyalty. Odysseus does
not want to land on the island of the Sun, but being loyal to his crew, he relents and lets them
rest. (Document E, lines 325-349) This shows that he is loyal to and cares about his crew.
Odysseuss crew does not heed Odysseuss warning and they eat the cows. At this time Odysseus
knows that his men will be killed. His loyalty to the crew extends so far that he gets on a boat
with men condemned by the Gods to die. (Document E, lines 471- 477) These acts of extreme
loyalty make up a large part of his heroicness.

Odysseus is a heroic figure. He displays his heroism through three main traits: cunning,
courage, and loyalty. Through a span of nearly twenty years he always let heroic and good
actions define him. Through the many moral trials he always stayed heroic and admirable.