Epic heroes possess many traits. These traits are constantly repeated in modern and ancient literature. Some examples of these traits include supernatural strength, interactions with godlike creatures, and an epic journey or quest. These traits and more are represented by and seen in Odysseus of Homer’s Odyssey.
Odysseus’ most prevalent feature is his supernatural strength. It is most seen in his home of Ithaca, even though that is the end of his journey. He uses this strength when he gave a “gentle blow” to “shatter his jaw bone, so bright blood spurted out” when he was fighting the tramp Iros. (338 Odyssey, Homer) Another example of his super strength was when the suitors were challenged to string his old bow. None of them were able to string the bow, but he managed to string it and shoot it in one quick movement.
Odysseus has spent many years undertaking a dangerous journey. That journey took him from Troy, to his home town of Ithaca. In fact, the whole point of the journey was to return home. This journey took him ten years to complete and claimed both the lives of his entire crew and also his ships.
Along this journey, Odysseus met many powerful gods and goddesses. Athena appeared most often and helped Odysseus to further his quest. Unfortunately for Odysseus, he offended and angered Poseidon, god of the Ocean, and caused the deaths of his crew. He would not have been able to complete his journey if it were not for Hermes, who rescued him from the clutches of Calypso.
As has been shown, Odysseus embodies many of the traits that make up an epic hero. It is safe to say that Odysseus is an epic hero. In fact, Odysseus was probably the original epic hero. Strangely enough, his character was invented by a blind poet, Homer, who lived thousands of years before the term epic hero was ever thought up.