ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Competition in "The Odyssey" and Today

Updated on February 25, 2014
A statue of Odysseus from Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey.
A statue of Odysseus from Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. | Source

In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, heavy emphasis is placed on competition, strength, and attractiveness. Throughout the poem, Odysseus is portrayed as a strong, brave, clever, and handsome hero who can do no wrong. Odysseus’ reputation is elevated to a level higher than his peers because of his strength, intelligence, and success with women.

Odysseus is depicted as both good looking and charming. Athena, a goddesses who looks favorably upon Odysseus and assists him countless times throughout his journey, even uses her immortal powers to make Odysseus more attractive: “Athena lent a hand, making him seem / taller, and massive too, with crisping hair / in curls like petals of wild hyacinth” (VI.243-245). Using both his natural characteristics and his newly acquired physical traits, Odysseus uses his appearance to his advantage. Nausikaa, a princess, helps him after he washes up on the shore of her island. Nausikaa even describes Odysseus as a “handsome stranger,” and seems to be fond of him (VI.294). In addition, he is seduced by and sleeps with various women, most of whom are immortal goddesses, such as Kalypso and Kirke. Since the amount of women a man can date or sleep with is typically seen as an indicator of how successful he is, Odysseus’ popularity among women implies that he is both more powerful and successful than his peers.

Another aspect of Odysseus’ popularity is his strength and cleverness. Seareach insults Odysseus and his mother during the track and field games: “You must have been the skipper of some tramp / that crawled from one port to the next” (VIII.170-171). Seareach claims that Odysseus is not an athlete and that he cannot keep up with the rest of the men. Odysseus proceeds to win the discus event with ease, making Seareach look like a fool and regaining his positive reputation. Not only does Odysseus’ strength boost his popularity, but his quick, shrewd thinking also impresses those around him. When the Kyklops was devouring his crew, Odysseus crafted an elaborate scheme to blind and trick the Kyklops, enabling him and his men to escape. Both Odysseus’ intellect and brawn are important traits that contribute to his hero-like status.

In modern times, individuals equated with heroes have traits similar to Odysseus. Intelligence, might, and charm are prized characteristics in men today. Men are given god-like status based on the number of women they attract, such as Hugh Heffner, who materializes women and uses them to his own means. Witty individuals and comedians, like Will Ferrell, are glorified for their clever retorts and jokes. Sylvester Stallone epitomizes the ideal of strength in a society where physical power is overvalued, analogous to The Odyssey. Odysseus is a model character according to his society’s standards and values, and would probably be powerful in our society today as well.

Related Reading

© 2012 ReverieMarie


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)