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Odysseus and the Hero's Journey

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Tyler Shimada

on 14 November 2014

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Transcript of Odysseus and the Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey
The Hero's Journey was developed by Joseph Campbell, and is broken up into twelve different parts.
The story usually begins here, in the ordinary world, with the hero living an ordinary, and sometimes boring, life.

1. The Ordinary World

The moment when a problem arises, and the only one who is capable of going on the quest to solve the problem is the hero.
2. The Call to Adventure
The hero is reluctant to go on the quest, usually with good reasons.
3. Refusal to the Call
The hero goes to his old teacher for guidance for their quest.
4. Going to the Mentor
The beginning of the quest, where the hero leaves behind what they know, and ventures into the unknown.
5. Crossing the Threshold
After crossing the threshold, the hero faces many obstacles that all build up suspense of their story, and all lead up to the main challenge.
6. Tests, allies, and foes
This is the most suspenseful point in the story, when the hero is approaching or waiting for their enemy's arrival.
7. Approach of the Innermost Cave
The moment when the hero faces their biggest fear, dives into the conflict, and fights to obtain the object that they came for, or dies trying.
8. The Ordeal
The Odyssey
Odysseus's Hero's Journey


9. The Reward
The main goal has been obtained, the enemy has been defeated, and the hero makes his way home.
10. The Road Back
Threshold Guardian
The Herald is the character that announces the challenge for the hero. In the Odyssey, that is Athena because she is the one that stated Odysseus's challenge.
"But the gods are still preventing him
from getting back...He's still alive but being detained on an island, surrounded by the sea, with wild and dangerous men restraining him, holding him back against his will...
Odysseus will not stay away much longer from his dear native land, not even if he's chained in iron fetters. He'll devise some way to get back home, for he's a man
of infinite resources."

Book 1 Page 15-16 Lines 259-275
The shadow isn't necessarily the bad guy ; they only show characteristics that the hero isn't quite fond of. Most of the time, though, the shadow is the hero's main enemy, the yang to their yin.
The trickster is the clown or joker of the story. They pull pranks and tricks and provide comic relief for what would be a very dramatic story without them.
take this wine and drink it, now you've had
your meal of human flesh, so you may know
the kind of wine we had on board our ship,
a gift of drink I was carrying for you,
in hope you'd pity me and send me off
on my journey home."

Book 9 Page 176 Lines 458-464
The shapeshifter changes role or personality. In The Odyssey, the shapeshifter is Odysseus. He goes from being stranded on an island to becoming a hero.
"Then much-enduring lord Odysseus gave out
a fearful shout, gathered himself, and swooped down like an eagle from on high. "

Book 24 Page 695 Lines 690-692

This quote was taken when Odysseus had won his final battle.
The hero looks back on their journey and wonders about their triumphs and mistakes and envisions different ways that they could have done things.
11. The Resurrection
This point arrives after the hero is brought closest to death and feels a sense of return, of coming back, a resurrection.
12. The Return with the Elixir
The elixir itself, can be anything from an actual cure, to a humongous treasure. It doesn't matter, so long as the hero manages to claim it and return to the ordinary world with it.
In the Odyssey, one of the many foes that Odysseus faces is Polyphemus. Polyphemus stands in his way of getting home, and guards the path between the world that Odysseus is in, and the world that he is trying to get to, therefore making him the Threshold Guardian.
The Threshold Guardian is one of the first foes that the hero faces. They bar the hero's way, keeping the hero where are, and not letting them get to where they're going.
An example of a Threshold Guardian...
The Hero is the first character archetype that we are introduced to. They are usually the main character in the story, are depicted as a larger than life figure, are an example of what society approves of, and undertakes a quest.
An example of a Hero...
Odysseus is an example of the hero in the Odyssey because he is a depiction of what modern times approve of (a kingly, God-like figure) and he undertakes a quest that is much bigger than just himself. One example of his heroism was when he defeated the Cyclops.

Of the seven character archetypes, the mentor is usually the most calm, offering the hero guidance when it is necessary. The mentor is usually portrayed as an old man or woman, someone who has gathered wisdom over the years.
Example of a Mentor
In the Odyssey , Athena acts more like a mentor than anyone else, offering Telemachus (and more importantly) Odysseus wisdom when they in doubt or in need of a solution.
Example of the Refusal To the Call
Though our version of the Odyssey didn't cover this, Odysseus did refuse to go to war when his firstborn son had just been born, but was persuaded to go anyway.
An example of a trickster would be ...
Odysseus! He not only tricked the cyclops into freeing him and his crew, he also managed blinded the Cyclops . Bonus Points!!
The Example
The example of The Approach of the innermost Cave in the Odyssey was when Odysseus was transformed into a beggar and was approaching the suitors.
A Shadow in the Odyssey would be...
...Not just one person, but a whole group of people. In the Odyssey, the main antagonists were the suitors, who were wreaking havoc in Odysseus home. They represent qualities that the hero dislikes, and Odysseus's main goal is to get home and reunite with his wife, whom they are trying to steal.
What was Odysseus's reward?
Odysseus reward was ridding his palace of the suitors, reclaiming his throne, and reuniting with his family.
Wasn't Odysseus on the "Road back" the whole time?
Technically speaking, yes , he was on his way home throughout the entire story. But, Odysseus's "road back", according to the structure, only lasted for a while. He only looked back over his adventures after he had reunited with his wife.
Odysseus's Resurrection
Odysseus experienced his resurrection after Penelope had finally taken him back as her husband. His quest was over, his job was done, and now he could finally relax and be the husband and father that he had dreamed of being.
What Elixir?
The elixir itself is just a metaphor, a symbol. In this story , the elixir symbolizes Odysseus returning, bringing himself back home to his wife.
"But Odysseus, who longed to get back to his wife
and reach his home, was being held in a hollow cave
by that mighty nymph Calypso, noble goddess,
who wished to make Odysseus her husband.
But as the seasons came and went, the year arrived
in which, according to what gods had once ordained,
he was to get back to Ithaca, his home—
not that he would be free from troubles even there,
among his family."

Book 1 Page 8 Lines 16-24
Textual Evidence
"But he did not care for my sacrifice."
Book 9 Page 184 Line 728
Example of Call to Adventure
Odysseus is called to the adventure when the Battle of Troy is over and he gets stuck on the island.
"Muse, speak to me now of that resourceful man
who wandered far and wide after ravaging
the sacred citadel of Troy...
But Odysseus, who longed to get back to his wife
and reach his home, was being held in a hollow cave
by that mighty nymph Calypso, noble goddess,
who wished to make Odysseus her husband."

Book 1 Page 8 Lines 1-3, 16-19
Although Odysseus never really meets his mentor, Athena, she is there to help him out and guide him.

“Son of Cronos and father to us all,
ruling high above, if the immortal gods
now find it pleasing for the wise Odysseus
to return back home, then let's send Hermes,
killer of Argus, as our messenger,
over to the island of Ogygia,
so he can quickly tell that fair-haired nymph
our firm decision—that brave Odysseus
will now leave and complete his voyage home."

Book 1 Page 11 Lines 7-15
Odysseus crosses the threshold when he begins his journey home.
“Hermes, since in every other matter
you are our herald, tell the fair-haired nymph
my firm decision—the brave Odysseus
is to get back home."

Book 5 Page 98 Lines 36-39
Polyphemus was determined not not let Odysseus get back home.
“From the cave mighty Polyphemus roared:
‘Nobody is killing me, my friends,
by treachery, not using any force."
Book 9 Pg 178 Lines 537-538
One of Odysseus's biggest tests is against the Cyclops.
“That's what he prayed. The dark-haired god heard him.
Then Cyclops once again picked up a rock,
a much larger stone, swung it round, and threw it."

Book 10 Page 183 Lines 706-708
"Odysseus then moved off to beg for scraps of bread,
holding out his hand to each of them on every side,
starting on the right, as if he'd been a beggar
for years and years."

Book 17 Page 345 Lines 461-464
The ordeal is when Odysseus returns home and attacks the suitors.
"As Odysseus said these words, pale fear seized everyone.
Each man looked around to see how he might flee
complete destruction."

Book 22 Page 430-431 Lines 50-52
Odysseus had many troubles.
"But as the seasons came and went, the year arrived
in which, according to what gods had once ordained,
he was to get back to Ithaca, his home—
not that he would be free from troubles even there,
among his family."

Book 1 Page 8 Lines 20-24
Many people came and visited Odysseus when he returned home.
"People heard about it all at once and came in
from all directions, gathering with mournful groans before Odysseus' home."

Book 24 Page 480 Lines 535-537
"You've been through so much misfortune, and now
what you've been looking forward to so long
has come about at last. He's come himself,
to his own hearth while still alive—he's found
you and your son inside these halls and taken 70
his revenge on all suitors in his home,
men who acted harmfully against him.”

Book 23 Page 451 Lines 66-72

Johnston, Ian. The Odyssey. Arlingon, VA: Richter Resources Publications, 2006. PDF file.
Odysseus is resurrected when he is able to string the bow and shoot an arrow through twelve arrows because it is then that the people realized that it is Odysseus, and he has returned home.
"As he said this, Odysseus pulled aside his rags,
exposing the great scar. Once those two had seen it
and noted every detail, they threw their arms
around the wise Odysseus, burst into tears,
and welcomed him, kissing his head and shoulders.
Odysseus did the same—he kissed their heads and hands."

Book 21 Page 419-420 Lines 475-480
Odysseus is on the road back when he returns to Ithaca and people start recognizing him.
“Oh, son of Laertes, happy Odysseus,
a resourceful man, who won himself
a wife whose excellence was truly great.
How fine the heart in faultless Penelope,
daughter of Icarius! She remembered well
the husband she was married to, Odysseus."

Book 24 Page 472 Lines 252-257

Another part of the road back is when Laertes reunites with Odysseus.
"He jumped over,
embraced Laertes, kissed him, and then said:
I'm here—the very man you asked about.
I've returned here in the twentieth year,
back to my native land."

Book 24 Page 476 Lines 415-420
Full transcript