Epic Heroes of Folklore and Term Paper

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But before Odysseus returned back home his destiny gave him serious trials: mean-eating giant Polypheus, temptations of Calypso who offered him immortal life if he refuses from return home, etc. Odysseus returns home, but first in order to spy the real situation in Ithaca he dresses as beggar. "At the end after revenging his enemies he reunited with his family." (Rosenberg).

Odysseus is the first Greek epic hero, who on the hand with typical heroic traits of call of adventure and strength possesses such quality as intelligence. All his actions are contemplated; he never acts spontaneously and never gives freedom to his emotions. Such traits on the hand with his patience and wit put him apart from the rest of epic heroes. Unlike heroes of other eposes who are god-like, Odysseus has much of an ordinary man. He has weaknesses, which are common for all mortal people. He is especially punished for his pride by Poseidon. He is also weak in standing temptations, but nevertheless his strong will and brilliant mind allow him to finish his quest.

Comparing epic heroes of "Odyssey" and "Ramayana" we can say that both of them reflect national, religious and historical particularises of two cultures: Indian and Greek. Odysseus like most of Greek myth heroes is not a perfect man. it's also important to note that Gods in Greek mythology posses evils and they are not perfect as well. Homer pays an important role to Odysseus's physical appearance as he is described as physically God-like, well spoken, noble and generous to his servants and subordinates. Homer equally describes Odysseus's courage, strength, intelligence and wit tongue. it's also clear that Odysseus is not perfect as he is pound and jealous.

Unlike Odysseus, Rama is described as a God's incarnation: righteous, self-controlled and restrained, "patient as the earth" and kind. In description of Rama's personality a very special emphasis is made on his righteousness and virtuous nature. Such description is mainly explained by Indian Hindu beliefs of karma and dharma that a person has to live a righteous life in order to move to a better life after his death. That's why Rama is distinguished by his good conduct. The story of Odysseus is different as Odysseus is described mainly by his ability to overcome different hardships and trials given by God's in order to test his will, strength and moral obligation to his homeland and his wife. Odyssey is also an allegoric story of Greeks who settled all over Mediterranean cost and who's life was in many respects similar to the life of Odyssey: it was a continuing battle against endless hardships and obstacles. Odyssey shows that in Greek mythology God's were in charge of people's fates, they controlled their life, punishing indociles and rewarding those who obeyed them. Greek mythology showed a small belief in after life so for Greeks, reality was more important and personal participation in life of community took a central place in their lives.

Making a conclusion I would like to say, that unlike righteous and virtuous Rama, Odysseus was a more realistic hero, a person who was ready to act, who made mistakes and learnt lessons from them. Odysseus is very dynamic, ready for challenge and voluntarily accepts changes. The dynamics of Odyssey, is very common for Western culture, while conservatism is more typical for Eastern civilization. Virtues of Rama demonstrate beliefs of Hindu in reincarnation and how righteousness life is rewarded. These two different epic heroes characterize two different cultures of modern world, which nevertheless have similar moral and spiritual values.

Referneces

Achilles, the Hero. 26 June 2002. http://library.thinkquest.org/19300/data/Iliad/achilles.htm

Dominguez, Diana. The Hero-Myth Cycle. 26 June 2002. http://www.geocities.com/boudicca_1960/hero.html

Odysseus, the Hero. 26 June 2002. http://library.thinkquest.org/19300/data/Odyssey/odysseus.htm

Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology. Epics and Myths for the Erudite-to-Be. 26 June 2002. http://www.cybercomm.net/~grandpa/epics.html

Srinivasan, a.V. Rama, the Hero of Ramayana. 26 June 2002. http://www.geocities.com/sheenu06033/Rama.html

Epic Heroes

Sources Used in Document:

Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology. Epics and Myths for the Erudite-to-Be. 26 June 2002. http://www.cybercomm.net/~grandpa/epics.html

Srinivasan, a.V. Rama, the Hero of Ramayana. 26 June 2002. http://www.geocities.com/sheenu06033/Rama.html

Epic Heroes

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