Mert and out the other end” (Homer,
Mert Erden The Odyssey Essay Assignment 2017 12/2/17 Where ever we look, Heros are everywhere. Most of us have heard about modern-day Superheroes such, Superman, Thor, Ironman and list goes on and on. Each and everyone including the ones that are just mundane people trying to do the right are heros to society and mostly our new generation, and children. When children are introduced to these heros, they tend to be fictional characters that go on adventures of some sorts.
However, as the younger generation become to grow older, their perceptions on these heroes change over time in positive and negative ways. The Odyssey by Homer, beholds one of the greatest heros of all time, Odysseus. The Greek king of Ithaca was known for his qualities of strength, sharp wit, and hunger for glory. These qualities of Odysseus apply to a more modern day fictional hero such as Mark Watney from The Martian. Mr.
Watney is stranded on Mars after a tragic incident and now must find his way back home much like Odysseus’s journey. Odysseus heroic qualities can be seen in a modern day hero such as Mark Watney, but Mr.Watney has other defining qualities as well. Odysseus’s strength can be compared to a modern-day character of Mark Watney from the Martian. In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope, Odysseus wife, tells the suitors that whoever has the abilities to string back Odysseus’s bow and shoot it through all twelve axes, would marry her. Each and every suiters attempted to do so, but not one could even make the string budge.
“Without any strain, Odysseus strung the great bow… Taking the string and the head grooves he drew to the middle grip, and from the very chair where he sat, bending the bow before him, let the arrow fly, nor missed any axes from the first handle on, but the bronze-weighted arrow passed through all, and out the other end” (Homer, 319 – 320). Considering that Odysseus is even able to string the bow, not to mention with ease, while the suitors struggled to even make it budge, shows the true strength of Odysseus. This ability doesn’t just apply to Odysseus, but also Mark Watney, from the Martian.
In the Martian, Mr.Watney, being an astronaut and having gone through hours of extensive training, had these qualities when he was accidentally left on Mars. When he was accidently left, his crew thinking that he had died due to a storm, he had been impaled by a metal rod through his oblique and was 100s of yards of away from his ship. So he picked himself up out of the Martian soil with the rod still lodged in his oblique, walked all the way to his ship, pulled it out and stitched himself up. For a regular human, the rod impaling someone, would alone itself kill that human. That is only one many examples of Mr Watney’s strength and others range from him carrying loads of Martian back and forth to him walking miles upon miles on Mars.
Mark Watney’s strength is comparable to Odysseus. The two characters are far stronger and quicker than the average human. This enables them to do tasks such as hard labor in Mr.Watney’s case and defeat enemies with ease like in Odysseus’s case. Despite his superior strength, Odysseus holds many more traits comparable to more modern-day heroes.Mark Watney’s strength is not the only thing that can be compared to the Odysseus.
Mr. Watney shares Odysseus wit during his time on Mars. Odysseus’s demonstration of this trait can be seen when he and “some” of his men escape from the Polyphemus’s cave. Odysseus managed to do this by fooling Polyphemus, the cyclops into thinking that his name was Nobody. After he tricked him, Odysseus and his men attacked and blinded him with a stake. The Cyclops cried for help from the other Cyclops in the area saying, “‘Good Friends, Nobody is killing me by force or treachery.’ So then the others speaking in winged words gave him an answer: ‘If alone as you are none uses violence on you,'” (The Odyssey, l).
By fooling Polyphemus into thinking his name was Nobody, Odysseus’s wit helped his men and himself dodged a bullet which was the other Cyclops coming to Polyphemus’s cave. If Odysseus had not thought about this, this time around, all of his men’s heads would have been eaten off including his! However Odysseus isn’t the only one who possesses this trait of quicking thinking and cleverness. While stranded on Mars, Mark Watney had a limited amount of resources and how to figure how he could survive longest. First, Mr Watney turned to his botany background for edible food. And so using, Martian soil and potato seeds, he attempted to grow potatoes but it didn’t work since the soil didn’t contain the nutrients necessary for growth. Finally he used his own fecal matter as fertilizer and it ended up growing. Mr.
Watney cleverness can also be seen when he makes water by extracting hydrogen from the hydrazine in rocket fuel. Even though it is a very dangerous process, his end result was more water. If Mark Watney had not done any of these tasks or even thought about it critical, he wouldn’t have last a day on Mars. When both Odysseus and Watney are in life threatening situations, they used these types of sharp cunning intellect to get what they need. Lastly, a trait that many prolific heros hold is the hunger for glory.
Odysseus, being the legendary greek king of Ithaca, has always had the need for glory. Even though it might not be the most positive trait that he possess, it’s still something that stamped to his persona. However, Odysseus isn’t the only one seeking for glory. Mark Watney, a humble person still had some sort of hunger for glory. When Odysseus fooled the Polyphemus into thinking his name was Nobody and broke out of his cave, Odysseus could not help himself but say”Cyclops, if any mortal man ever asks you who it was that inflicted upon your eye this shameful blinding, tell him that you were blinded by Odysseus, sacker of cities” (150, Homer). Despite being a hero that’s looked up to by the younger generation, it can be seen here Odysseus can bit too selfish at times.
The result of that event was Polymus telling his father, Poseidon to curse and to reek havik on Odysseus. If he hadn’t said his name, he would have gotten away scot free. This would later make him suffer greatly in his journey. In the Martian, Mark Watney keeps a daily journal of what he does on each and every day on Mars. In this journal, he comically addresses statements of how nice earth is and how horrendous Mars is. However when he does this, He slightly hints his “hunger for glory” when he says that how nice it would be if he lived as a hero rather than dying and he ends the entry by saying that it would be interesting to be the first human to die on Mars. However Odysseus, later in the books overcomes his hunger for glory when he returns back to his home sweet home, Ithaca. Instead of immediately, attacking the suitors once he set foot on Ithaca, he took the abusive comments and actions from them and handled it with patience and kept his temper.
In Martian, (spoiler alert ahead) after Mr.Watney is saved, he doesn’t get involved with much media, fearing that it would affect his own personal life. This quality of lust for glory can be interpreted in both positive and negative way, however Odysseus, being the ancient hero and Mr.
Watney, being the modern day hero boht copped with it and later in lives didn’t allow it to control their lives.Despite being written over 3000 years ago, ancient heroes such as Odysseus can still be seen in modern day heroes such as Mark Watney. The strength that both Odysseus and Mr. Watney possess assisted them in certain situations where they needed it and made their lives much easier. Odysseus’s wits can be seen in Mark Watney’s ingenious methods of survival and how it can get them out of very sticky situations. Even though both heros had been affected by their hunger of glory, Odysseus having it worse than Mr.Watney in that context, they both overcame it and didn’t allow it to control their personal lives.
3000 years might have passed but the traits of heros haven’t and hopefully will stay the same for the years to come.