The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Does Odysseus show any typical character flaws?

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Odysseus' character flaws

Though he is usually a smart, decisive leader, Odysseus is prone to errors, and his deepest flaw is falling prey to temptation. His biggest mistakes come in the episode with Polyphemus as he first foolishly investigates the Cyclops' lair (and ends up getting trapped there), and then cannot resist shouting his name to Polyphemus after escaping (thus incurring Poseidon's wrath). If Odysseus' character changes over the course of The Odyssey, though, it pivots around temptation. After his errors with Polyphemus, Odysseus has his crew tie him up so he can hear -- but not follow -- the dangerously seductive song of the Sirens. Disguised as a beggar in Ithaca, he is even more active in resisting temptation, allowing the suitors to abuse him as he bides his time. Temptation hurts his crew, as well, in their encounters with Circe, the bag of winds from Aiolos, and the oxen of Helios.