A Reputation Contradicted Essay Research Paper A

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A Reputation Contradicted Essay, Research Paper A Reputation Contradicted To many, a ?hero? is someone who saves something or someone else. Although Odysseus seems to be the hero in Homer?s The Odyssey, his name problematizes the nature of his heroism, and ultimately, of his identity. In Greek, the proper noun ?Odysseus? also functions as a verb meaning ?to be against or to oppose.? Paradoxically, then, the protagonist of The Odyssey is also an antagonist; the hero is also the character responsible for causing the greatest harm. When Odysseus leaves Ithaka to fight in the Battle of Troy, he does more intimate damage than he will ever realize until he returns to find his home in a state of chaos and subsequent destruction. When Odysseus leaves, he leaves behind a son that will

never have a secure understanding of who he really is until he himself takes a journey to find his true identity. For the twenty years that Odysseus is away, Telemekhos has no assurance of who his father truly is or if he really is Odysseus?s son. All that Telemekhos wants is a father that will grow old in his house, will act as a father acts, and be there as a father is: ?Friend, let me put it in the plainest way. My mother says I am his son; I know not surely. I wish at least I had some happy man as father, growing old in his own house— but unknown death and silence are the fate of him that, since you ask, they call my father.? (Book I, 258 – 264). Odysseus has caused emotional damage to Telemekhos by not being there like a father should be. Odysseus also left his wife

Penelope with Telemekhos as a baby when he went to fight. He left Penelope with the intention of returning but there was no guaranty. After so many years a wife can only imagine the horrible fates her husband may have encountered. Penelope?s emotional status is in a state of suffering and depression due to the fact that her lover has left and doesn?t seem to be returning. Penelope, stays in her room and weaves and unweaves a shroud in hope that he may return before she has to choose a new husband. She sits in her room all day and she weeps and weeps for Odysseus?s return: ?Sill with her child indeed she is, poor heart,/ still in your palace hall. Forlorn her nights/ and days go by, her life used up in weeping.? (Book XI, 204-206). Although Odysseus is out playing hero for many,

within his internal environment, he is causing sever damage. The pain and damage that he has caused however, is not limited to just his wife and his child. Odysseus also has harmed his mother and his father. The emotional damage that Odysseus has done to his mother, is so extensive that she dies not of an illness but of loneliness: ?…not that illness overtook me—no true illness wasting the body to undo the spirit; only my loneliness for you, Odysseus, for your kind heart and counsel, gentle Odysseus, took my own life away.? (Book XI, 123 – 127). Odysseus also damaged his father emotionally. After Odysseus left, he no longer held his disposition of a king and began to fall into a state of depression. When Odysseus goes to the underworld, his mother tell him: ?But your father

is country bound and comes to town no more. He owns no bedding, rugs, or fleecy mantles, but lies down, winter nights, among the slaves, rolled in old cloaks for cover, near the embers. Or when the heat comes at the end of summer, the fallen leaves, all around his vineyard plot, heaped into windrows, make his lowly bed. He lies now even so, with aching heart, and longs for your return, while age comes on him.? (Book XI, 210-219). The intimate damage that Odysseus has done is so extensive that he has caused depression, and even death. When Odysseus reaches Troy, he becomes hero to one segment of the population, but will always remain a destroyer to another segment of the population. To his fellow warriors, he is a hero for his strategy in defeating the trojans: ?And as to