In Homer’s the Odyssey, Odysseus is seen by many as a courageous hero, but many of his actions suggest otherwise. He is unfaithful to his family and people, arrogant, and self centered in matters of life and death. His heroic intentions are impeded by his self-righteous actions, therefore Odysseus is a fool.
Odysseus’ disloyalty is clear from the beginning of the story, when he abandons his wife, newborn son, and kingdom in pursuit of an adventure. His reckless and irresponsible decisions lead to Ithaca being rampaged by suitors and its people left without a leader. Furthermore, Odysseus is untrue to his wife, despite the fact that she maintains faith in him, even when those around her lose hope. His quest for glory clouds his ability to recognize the people who have always stood by his side. Odysseus’ disloyalty is one of the many qualities that make him much less than a hero.
Not only is Odysseus unfaithful, he is also arrogant and impulsive. He makes rash decisions that endanger his life, as well as those of the crew. When they had safely escaped the Cyclops, Odysseus exclaimed, “Cyclops- If any man on the earth should ask who blinded you… say Odysseus, Raider of cities, he gouged out your eyes”, prompting the Cyclops to hurl boulders at the water below. His taunts achieved nothing beyond continuing to anger the Cyclops, mocking Poseidon, and threatening the crew. His arrogance further proves that Odysseus is nothing but a fool.
Finally, Odysseus leads his crew into many dangerous situations, and makes selfish decisions in each one. For example, when the crew sails past the sirens, he refuses to put wax in his ears, because he wants to be renowned as the first to survive a siren’s song. He does not envision the consequences or consider the members that could have been killed in the dangerous stunt. Odysseus is selfish and shortsighted, which leaves no doubt that he is not a hero.
A hero is someone loyal, humble and selfless. Odysseus is someone who abandoned his kingdom, mocked those he defeated, and risked lives with his own agenda in mind. Odysseus is incomparable with a hero, therefore he is a fool.