Odysseus resourcefulness in ancient Greek society


Odysseus resourcefulness in ancient Greek society

Discuss Odysseus as an ideal of manly conduct and resourcefulness in ancient Greek society.


Ancient Greek society was mainly made up of free people and slaves. Slaves were used as servants and laborers for free people who mainly the rich landowners were called aristocrats meaning best people. Their system of Government was known as oligarchy which was the rule by the few whereby slaves secured no legal right. For years, the Greeks engaged in a civil war with the Trojans whereby Achilles and Odysseus emerged foremost warriors in Greek mythology. They possessed outstanding qualities like strength, military skills, pride, bravery and honor which the ancient Greeks prized as manly virtues because of their noble task of transforming them into victory from the tyrannical error.


Odysseus also is known as Ulysses was born in Ancient Greece. He was a Greek legend and a king of his hometown Ithaca as well as the heroin Odyssey, the Greek epic that is a sequel to the Iliad. He was the father to Telemachus and husband of Penelope. He is well known for the Trojan horse tick (Tole, 50) and the ten years he undertook for his return home from the Trojan War.

As the Trojan War began, Odysseus was reluctant to join the war which was a dispute over the kidnapping of a beautiful Greek woman (Helen) by the Trojan Prince Paris. Instead, he sold ornaments as a traveling merchant to the women of the royal household at Skyros. Among the ornaments he sold were weapons such as a shield and spear. Later on, he takes a move of the manly hood by joining the Greek forces in order to redeem his people since it had been foreseen by a seer that his people would never defeat the Trojans without his help.

Odysseus is hardworking. He decides to be a traveling merchant displaying ornaments to the women of the royal household in order to acquire a living. Besides, he becomes keen and clever and recognizes that he had found Achilles who was being looked for immediately just as the girl admired the shield and spear. He is persuasive too as he persuades Achilles to join the Greek forces in order to redeem his people against the Troy.

Odysseus is a hero. He is a hero of the Odyssey struggle which was the arrival to his home in Ithaca from the ten years Trojan War. He is among those who hid in the Trojan horse hence his heroic deeds of a manly warrior. Also, he was an ideal hero for his endurance and reverence towards the gods hence managed to overcome his flaws for him to be crowned a hero. Besides of his cunning and resourcefulness, he too had pride towards his allies and human failings. His mighty deeds and all human weaknesses made him popular and favorite with storytellers and scholars. An example is the Ulysses done by Alfred, Lord Tennyson which was the best-known poem of the 1800s and James Joyce’s novel (Ulysses) which used Homer’s adventures pertaining to Odysseus.

A hero should overpower his or her enemies and become an individual of respect and virtue at all times. Odysseus had to do this at all times until he became the outstanding hero among his people. After some time, he became proud of himself but later realized that was his weak point and therefore became humble. Often, he never boasted about who he was either but humbled himself among his people.

On the other hand, heroes should fight the odds and overcome physical challenges which come on their way. Odysseus passes through many setbacks which in one way tested his intelligence and strength. To tackle obstacles, he used more of his mind rather than physical force. He, therefore, become calm and had to bear with many challenges in order to finally go back home. Also, he obeys the gods to the latter and his cleverness together with determination granted him an opportunity to be a real hero. To become heroic, Odysseus did change his attitude in the end for the better (Tole, 132).

Odysseus always showed respect to the gods more so appreciating their control of fate and realizing that he also required help if he was to get back home in Ithaca and to his beloved family. He, therefore, showed caution, keen observation, and instinct to the god’s in order not to annoy them. Odysseus is human as well and often moved to tears whenever he did wrong. He takes many human roles of carpenter, lover, warrior, beggar and a storyteller. Besides, he displays human qualities like boldness and brutality.

Odysseus is also seen as a modern man, a survivor who must always struggle, suffer and deal with the fate and task handed down to him by his people in order to redeem them from war. Just as life is for everybody, Odysseus journey was totally unpredictable since it was rich with people and places. His leadership skills always kept the battle for Troy moving as they invaded their opponents. He could be ruthless at times as well as tricky besides being a great fighter for the redemption of his people. It was his plan of attacking the Troy using the wooden horse that bore fruits. Such deeds made him have a good reputation due to his high level of intelligence which was a major characteristic of his heroic status.

He struggles with life just like any human being does by having emotional pain besides of being intelligent and heroic. The pain and trauma he goes through are the characteristics of a common man. He had his bad days too and was not a perfect hero. Sometimes he could be simply, “wretched and miserable “(62). He really missed his own home while on the island and as a result he could be hurt psychologically and even give up with the battle. Odysseus did not at all succumb to the exhaustion of twenty years of obstacles a thing most modern men would.

Odysseus circumstances would also be compared to cinematic action heroes like James Bond, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Tom Cruise in that they both followed the same path of struggle for their acquired success. They managed to beat the odds and stand out bright in society due to their hard work and high level of intelligence. For instance, James Bond started just as a simple actor and little did he know that later on, he would be a neutral figure, an anonymous and blunt instrument admired by many including a government department.

He too became inspirational in his fictional creation just as Odysseus was inspirational to his Greek soldiers. Tom Cruise as well as a well-known American film actor and producer who has grown to greater heights and won three Golden Globe Awards. He has contributed positively to the society especially for his support in the church of Scientology for his Scientologist faith. He is depicted responsible for his family just as Odysseus. The adjective Polymetis can also be applied to the characters as well due to their heroic deeds in their cinematic field.


Aphrodite Venus is the goddesses of love. She is beautiful and kind but sometimes she prefers revenge. Her beauty made others jealous but all the gods and mortals liked her. Aphrodite Venus is seen as the most beautiful woman by the Olympians just as Odysseus is depicted as heroic by Greeks. She is as well described to be a dove, scallop shell, apple, and mirror.

In conclusion, Odysseus is actually an ideal of manly conduct and resourcefulness in ancient Greek society due to his heroic acts driven by his high level of intelligence. He, therefore, remains to be admired by Greece people and a figure of importance for hundreds of years.


  1. The Character of Odysseus of Homer’s Odyssey.” com. 17 Apr 2013
  2. Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell & Scott (1893: Oxford, Oxford University Press)
  • Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, Werner Jaeger, trans. Gilbert Highet (1945: New York, Oxford University Press)
  1. “Ancient Greek Athletics”, By Stephen G. Miller. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004
  2. Odysseus Biography (Literary Hero) | Infoplease.com
  3. TheHYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Yorker” New Yorker, 21 April 1962


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