The Unnoticeable Hero
In most epics, the hero seems to die at some point during the story. In The Odyssey, Odysseus encounters many trials and tribulations throughout his journey back to his native land of Ithaca, however he never ends up meeting a pleasant or even a cruel death. Is the passing of the hero, Odysseus, not required or is it possible for Homer to create an unnoticeable hero that takes the fall instead?
“And I with the same grief, I died and met my fate,” (11:225). Anticleia, Odysseus’ mother, was stricken with sorrow ever since her son had left for war. It appears that her meaning of fate meant that her death was meant to happen in order for Odysseus to complete his journey home. Up until this point, Odysseus seems to have traveled to and fro and sometimes back again, in order to learn the lesson at hand. His mother goes on to make clear the reason she died. “No sharp eyed Huntress showering arrows through the halls/ approached and brought me down with painless shafts,” (11:226-7).
She is making it clear that she was not killed out of haste or an attack on their native land, implying that their royal land is still in safekeeping. “Nor did some hateful illness strike me, that so often/ devastates the body” (11:228-9). Odysseus’ mother is also making it clear that she did not die from natural causes or die of common illnesses that so many people often experience in their land. More so, she was implying that she had taken her own life to serve her specific purpose of refocusing Odysseus’ priorities of his journey home to his native land.
While speaking to one another in The House of Death, Odysseus asks his mother about the happenings in Ithaca, he says: “do my royal rights still lie in their safekeeping?/ Or does some stranger hold the throne by now/ because men think that I’ll come home no more?” (11:198-200). Odysseus seems to doubt that there is a reason for him to return and he is eager to find out the happenings of his native land. Had...