Odysseus’s physical strength is one of his most remarkable and powerful qualities, which we come to learn of. It is because of this great strength, which allows him to throw the biggest discuss as the Phaeacian Games, hurtling it through the air where it landed far beyond the others.
Book VIII ‘The Phaeacian Games’
‘With this he leapt to his feet and, not even troubling to remove his cloak, picked up the biggest disk of all, a huge weight, more massive by far that those used in their regular matches. With one swing he launched it from his mighty hand, and the stone hummed on its course. The Phaeacians, lords of the sea and champions of the long oar, cowered down as it hurtled through the air; and so lightly did it fly from his hand that it overshot the marks of all the other throws.’
His strength is also what allows him to string and draw the great bow with little effort, before the great battle in the hall.
Book XXI ‘The Great Bow’
‘…, he strung the Great Bow without effort or haste and with his right hand proved the string, which gave a lovely sound in answer like a swallow’s note.’
This great strength, which Odysseus possessed, was certainly beyond that of normal humans, as demonstrated in these examples and when the suitors failed to string and draw the bow as Odysseus displayed. Therefore, we may conclude that this quality is that in the nature of a ‘Superman’s’ as it is far greater than would normally be so.
Odysseus also possessed other qualities, which were demonstrated within the novel. Apart from being the strong and powerful character, which he certainly was, he also had a softer, more timid side. Take for example the chapter in which Odysseus must talk with the ghosts of the dead in Hades. Here, Odysseus experiences panic and fright with what he must endure, as the underworld is that of a dismal and gloomy place.
Book XI ‘The Book Of The Dead’
‘From this multitude of souls, as they flustered to and fro by the trench, there came a moaning that was horrible to hear. Panic drained the blood from my cheeks.’
This panic and fright is certainly not of superhuman qualities, as they are stereotyped to be brave and valiant in all situations, which they might have to endure. Odysseus also experiences feelings of compassion and desire during his ventures:
Book XI ‘The Book Of The Dead’
‘Next came the souls of my dead mother, Anticleia, the daughter of the great Autoclycu, who had still been alive when Isaid farewell and sailed for sacred Ilium. My eyes filled with tears when I saw her there, and I was stirred to compassion.’
‘As my mother spoke, there came to me out of the confusion in my heart the one desire…Thrice, in my eagerness to clasp her to me, I started forward with my hands outstretched. Thrice, like a shadow or a dream, she slipped through my arms and left me harrowed by an even sharper pain.’
As I have already mentioned, I have defined a quality that is not of superhuman nature, to be one, which is just as any normal human beings. It goes unsaid saying that normal human beings experience emotions of desire and compassion, and also that of panic and fear, from which we can infer that Odysseus also has qualities which are not like that of a Superman.
From these observations and presumptions of the novel ‘The Odyssey’, I have found that Odysseus, the brave warrior who fought at Troy, and endured the callous ventures of his misfortunate voyage home, may be one of a diverse character. There is the side of him, which is the superiorly strong and brave fighter; capable of facing and conquering some of the most horrific and atrocious situations one must endure. This may be classified as a quality like that of a superhuman, one of which is that or greater than a normal humans. Then there is the softer and more emotional side, to which Odysseus demonstrates his feeling of compassion and desire, which may be noted as characteristics which are not like that of a superhuman, which I have established as like that of a normal human beings. From this we can conclude, that Odysseus, not only had qualities like that of a superman, but also possessed emotions and desires like that of a normal person.