Macbeth and Odysseus Essay

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Homer Pages: 2 (690 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Epic vs. Tragic
When different literary works are examined similarities and differences are noticeable. This remains true in The Odyssey by Homer and The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The Odyssey’s main character is a courageous soldier named Odysseus who faces many obstacles on his journey home. The Tragedy of Macbeth includes a power obsessed king with the name of Macbeth. Homer’s Odysseus and Shakespeare’s Macbeth compare in their ambitions and their positions in society, but they also contrast due to the fact that Odysseus is an epic hero and Macbeth is a tragic hero.

Odysseus and Macbeth’s similar ambitions drive them to get what they want. In Odysseus’s case it help him to return to his home, “All hands aboard;/ Come, clear the beach and no one taste/ The Lotus, or you lose your home of home” (Part 1, 52-54). Odysseus’s ambition leads him to understand that getting home is the most important thing to focus on. This ambition keeps Odysseus’s mind on his goal and drives him to eventually return to Ithaca. Macbeth has the same ambition when it comes to him reaching his goal of forever being king, “We have scotched the snake, not killed it” (III. ii. 13). Macbeth is explaining how killing one man has not completed his plan to ensure his reign as king. Macbeth’s ambition drives him to kill anyone that stands in his way of the throne. These men have opposite overall goals but the ambition that drives them to their goals is virtually the same.

Odysseus and Macbeth also have great importance in their societies. Odysseus a king and a brave soldier holds much importance to the people of Ithaca, “Odysseus my lord among the rest./ If he returned, if he were here to care for me,/ I might be happily renowned!” (Part 3, 116-118). Here Odysseus’s wife, Penelope, is making it clear how this hero of the Trojan War and great king of Ithaca is a great lord to his people. He is a courageous soldier as is Macbeth and they both are kings over their people....
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