Strengths and Weaknesses of Odysseus

If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward- Martin Luther King Jr. On a journey, someone’s weakness may get in the way of things, but it doesn’t mean they can give up. Throughout a journey, valuable lessons are learned. Passing or failing tests and trials can show what someone’s strengths and weaknesses are. Strengths are traits that benefit a person and weaknesses are more of a challenge or stepping stone to overcome. A person’s strength can be another person’s weakness. Having positive and negative characteristics is all part of life and will help a person grow and improve. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and when it comes to Odysseus, he is determined and clever, yet vengeful and has excessive pride.

Odysseus used his determination and cleverness along his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. The epic poem, The Odyssey, was written by Homer and recaps Odysseus’ journey back to his home in Ithaca. Showing pure perseverance, Odysseus fought in a ten-year war and then traveled for ten more years to get home to his wife and son. As Odysseus and his crew sailed home, their ship had been blowing off course. In The Lotus-Eaters, Odysseus and his crew came across the Lotus, when landing in the coastline of the Lotus-Eaters. Odysseus chooses not to indulge in the intoxicating fruit because he was suspicious of the consequences. His crew, however, was tricked into having some and longed to stay forever, browsing on the native bloom, forgetful of their homeland (564). This shows determination on Odysseus’s part because his one and only goal was to get home.

By refusing the Lotus, he was able to continue his journey. Odysseus could not have handled being gone twenty years without his determination to reach his goal. Odysseus’ cleverness also played a big role in his journey home. In the Cyclops, Odysseus used his clever techniques to blind the Cyclops and escape his cave. Odysseus devised a plan to stab the Cyclops eye and blind him, So with our brand, we bored that great eye socket while blood ran around the red-hot bar The cyclops bellowed and the rock roared around him (570). Odysseus used his clever techniques and was able to escape because of it. Odysseus knew he could only blind the Cyclops and not kill him, because he was the only person strong enough to open his cave door. A journey can’t be completed without determination, and by cleverly passing each obstacle along the way.

Weaknesses of Odysseus

Odysseus dealt with weaknesses too including vengeance and excessive pride. Revenge is a common theme throughout the Odyssey. In Odysseus’ Revenge, he sought revenge on the suitors, taking over his home and trying to steal his wife, Penelope. After Odysseus had returned and found the suitors in his home, he created a plan to kill them and said, You took my house to plunder…You dared bid for my wife while I was still alive Your last hour has come. You die in blood’ (610). Odysseus felt no remorse by this vengeful act on the suitors and it showed a state of weakness. He murdered over 80 suitors which is never the answer to a problem. Odysseus gave in to his impulses without giving it a second thought. His action showed he had no self-control and it was a sign of weakness. Odysseus’ pride and ego was another weakness that got in the way of his journey.

When Odysseus and his crew finally escaped the Cyclops’ cave, he couldn’t just leave with his ship to continue their journey. Instead, his pride got the best of him and he taunted the Cyclops. Odysseus felt satisfied with his action and said, Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home on Ithaca’ (574). Later, the Cyclops prayed to his father Poseidon, to send bad things Odysseus’ way. By the time Odysseus returned home, his crew members were all dead and suitors took over his home. Poseidon cursed Odysseus and made his journey much harder than it had to be. Odysseus dealt with excessive pride, hubris, throughout this story. If Odysseus hadn’t let his feeling of power and pride get to him, he wouldn’t have run into as many obstacles. Odysseus’ weaknesses that inhibit his strengths were vengeance and pride.

Everyone has strengths but along with that comes weakness. Giving up is not the answer. Pushing through and finding every last bit of strength is what makes a journey. Determination and cleverness definitely helped Odysseus complete his 10-year journey His weaknesses, vengeance, and pride, slowed him down. He had some struggles of wanting revenge and letting his pride get the best of him. Without Odysseus’ determination or cleverness he could not have gotten home to his family. Strengths and weaknesses differ through people but learning what they are and using them as tools rather than obstacles will get you through life.

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