From the beginning of time, people have looked to heroes for protection and security. Even in ancient Greece, civilization has used heroes as people to look up to. As a shining example or role model. There was even one sole hero who everyone especially revered. His name was Odysseus, and he was the heroine in the well known tale of The Odyssey. He Illustrates many of the heroic traits admired by the Greeks, but one in particular is wisdom.
Odysseus demonstrates his wisdom when he surpasses two vindictive monsters and when he sustains himself against his men and his own instability. One of the examples of Odysseus displaying his profound wisdom is when he and his men attempt to sail past Scylla and Charybdis. In order to get home, he knows that he must pass through the impregnable canyon where the six headed monster, Scylla, and Charybdis dwell. Circe has already told Odysseus that he would lose six men and he knows that there’s no way he can avoid both Scylla and Charybdis.
Still he sends them on to their impending destination and “told them nothing, as they could do nothing. They would have dropped their oars in panic to roll for cover” (l. 791-793). Odysseus knows that this is inevitable and that the men would withdraw if they knew what was to come. He is wise enough to understand that in order to even think about being able to go home again, he would have to go through with this. Even though it hurts him, he maintains himself because there’s no other way.
Any lesser man wouldn’t be wise enough to make that sacrifice. But this isn’t the only case where we can exhibit Odysseus’s sound judgment. Another relevant instance of Odysseus’s discerning wisdom is when he forbids his men from eating Helios’s cattle. Odysseus advises his men to pass by the island of Helios, the sun god, but they are adamant and insist on landing. Helios loves his cattle dearly and would take vengeance severely to anyone who so much as touches his livestock. Helios would never let any harm befall on his beloved bunch.
The men have many supplies on board the ship, but after enduring several days of immense storms, they start to run low, and now they are beginning to build up hunger. Nonetheless, Odysseus tells them, “ ‘the cattle are not for [their] provision, or [they’ll] pay dearly for it’ ” [l. 855-856]. Even though he must be dying of hunger, he makes his men swear not to touch the cattle because it would not be worth it in the end. Odysseus knows that if anyone eats Helios’s cattle no one would get away with it.
It just wouldn’t be good karma. Although the men grow weak and eventually devour the cattle anyway, Odysseus never gives in to his physical pain because he’s fully aware of the consequences. Odysseus embodies the attribute of sagacity blatantly when he undergoes these two predicaments. He shows us his experience in his wise actions. Even in today’s society of Spidermans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I think we can all take a lesson from a true hero who, despite never had any powers, became known to all of the world.