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A Reputation Contradicted

To many, a hero is someone who saves something or someone else. Although Odysseus seems to be the hero in Homers 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 Odysseuss 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 notsurely. I wish at least I had some happy manas father, growing old in his own house---but unknown death and silence are the fateof 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. Penelopes emotional status is in a state of suffering and depression due to the fact that her lover has left and doesnt seem to be returning. Penelope, stays in her room and weaves and unweaves a shroud in hope that he may return before she has ...

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