Essay on A Comparison of Oedipus and Odysseus

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Similarities Between Oedipus and Odyssues

      Since the beginning of time epic tales have been passed on from generation to generation as a form of entertainment.  Even though each epic is different in its plot, every epic has certain features in common.  The prime example of their similarities is their main character, the hero of the epic.   The hero's behavior changes from the beginning to the end of the tale.  Since the plot revolves around the epic hero, in most cases, they are made to seem God-like, or larger then life, in their capabilities and strengths.  The hero constantly has to conquer major obstacles to achieve their initial and final goal.  Usually the hero is tremendously suspicious of other characters intensions.   Also, this character usually demonstrates examples of hubris throughout the tale, which ultimately makes his journey more difficult.  The epic heroes differences vary but in the epic tale, The Odyssey written by Homer, and the Greek drama, Oedipus The King written by Sophocles, the differences is what makes Oedipus fail and Odysseus succeed.  In both these tales, the powerful gods enormously affect their decisions and the consequences they eventually have to face.


In the tale The Odyssey, Odysseus, the epic hero, is trying to return to Ithaca from the Trojan War.   Odysseus, the son of Laertes and Anticlea, is the King of Ithaca (Hionides).  Throughout his journey, Poseidon, the God of the Sea, is trying to make it impossible for him to return home.  He finally reaches Ithaca by the help of the goddess Athena.  In Oedipus the King, Oedipus, the son of Laius and Jocasta, is the King of Thebes.   Oedipus was destined for failure even before his birth (Hionides).  He receives an oracle t...

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...oming major obstacles, they are suspicion and persistent, and they have hubris.  Just like Odysseus and Oedipus share these positive traits of persistence and suspicion, which helped them all the way through their journey, they also share hubris, a negative trait that holds them back from quickly achieving their goals.  Without these traits, Odysseus would have never returned home to Ithaca, and Oedipus would have never found out that he was the murderer of King Laius.

Works Cited

Aeschylus.  Agamemnon. Trans:  Moses Hadas.  New York:  Bantam Books, 1965.

Hionides, Harry.  Ancient Greek Literature. "Notebook".  1993

Homer.  The Odyssey.  Trans: E.V. Rieu.   New York:  Penguin Books, 1991.

Sophocles.  Oedipus the King.  Trans: Moses Hadas.  New York:  Bantam Books, 1965.

Weller, Philip.  Macbeth Navigator.  "Macbeth: Scene Summary Index".  2000

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