Oedipous Rex vs. the Odyssey Essay

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Pages: 5

Heroism and Hell

Oedipus and Odysseus are two of many widely recognized characters known for their outstanding, and, at times, tragic stories. The Odyssey, by Homer, is an Epic poem about the great journey of Odysseus and his perilous journey home to Ithaca. Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, is a Greek play about Oedipus’ self-discovery and fulfillment of a prophecy in which he hopes to avoid. While the stories share many similarities and qualities, they also reveal significant differences in their journeys and outcome. Oedipus and Odysseus share many similarities; they are both respected leaders and known for great triumphs. Throughout the story of Oedipus, we learn that he is a great king of Thebes. He has promised the
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Or...let him come home late and come a broken man...” (ll 586-593, p 369). Like Oedipus, whose home is struck by a plague due to an angered Apollo, Odysseus suffers the wrath of the Gods intensifying the conflict both heroes endure. While Odysseus and Oedipus have many similarities in stature, underlying conflict and influence of the Greek gods, they have many differences that set them apart. The journeys of Oedipus and Odysseus differ greatly because Odysseus’ venture is very physical, while Oedipus’ journey is more mental. Odysseus explains to the Phaeacians of his everlasting corporal journey. He travels by boat to many different places, struggles through temptation and urges as well as physical danger brought upon him and his men that prolong his trip, “Calypso the lustrous goddess tried to hold me back...So did Circe...the bewitching queen of Aeaea keen to have me too” (ll 34-36, p 357). While Odysseus experiences a vigorous journey, Oedipus undergoes a mental journey in discovering the fulfillment of the prophecy. He struggles with an internal battle seeking the truth of his past through out the story. During his discovery he confides in his wife/mother, Jocasta, about his inner troubles, “is it I, I and no other have so cursed myself. And I pollute the bed of him I killed by the hands that killed him. Was I not born evil? Am I not utterly unclean? I had to fly and in my banishment not even see my kindred nor set foot in my own country,” (ll