Compare Odysseus and Oedipus

Topics: Oedipus, Odyssey, Greek mythology Pages: 5 (1747 words) Published: January 10, 2013
Odysseus and Oedipus

There are many legendary epic stories have been passed on from generation to generation in the Greek culture. Even though each story has different outcomes, every epic character has certain features in common. Odysseus in The Odyssesy and Oedipus in Oedipus the King are great examples of epic heroes with a variety of similarities. Odysseus and Oedipus are similar in which they both god-like men who are considered heroes because of their cautious ways and relentless tenacity. On the other hand, Odysseus and Oedipus also demonstrate their crude habits with their hubris behavior throughout their own prophecy. In addition to the similarities, the powerful gods play a significant role which drastically affects Odysseus and Oedipus’s fate. The gods play a significant role in the outcome of Odysseus and Oedipus’ destiny. In the poem The Odyssey, Odysseus is an epic king who is trying to return to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Throughout Odysseus’ journey, Poseidon, the God of the Sea, is trying to make it impractical for him to return to Ithaca. Despite Poseidon’s efforts, Oedipus finally reaches Ithaca with the help of the goddess Athena. Athea’s role was significant because without her assistance, Odysseus may have never finished off the suitors despite being outnumbered. In the poem Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the King of Thebes who is desperately trying to find the murderer of Laius to end a plague to his people of Thebes. From the beginning, Oedipus was destined for failure by the prophecy even before his birth. The prophecy was to kill his father and marry his own mother. Oedipus receives this oracle that he desperately tries to conceal. Oedipus blames Apollo, the god, for his disgraceful actions by stating, “It was Apollo, friends, Apollo that brought this bitter bitterness” (Line 1329). Apollo clearly destroys Oedipus’ life by controlling his fate and granting people the power of prophecy. Apollo’s role was significant because Oedipus would not have killed his father and married his mother if he had known his parents. Oedipus and Odysseus are extremely similar in their actions as well as their personalities. For instance, Oedipus and Odysseus are both extremely suspicious of others in fear of their own lives. Their suspicious nature is not unprovoked. When Odysseus visits Hades, Agamemnon tells him, "Never be too trustful even of your wife, nor show her all that is in your mind" (Homer 172). Agamemnon had lost his life by the hand of his own wife, Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra was happy that her premeditated murder of her husband succeeded. Agamemnon does not want Odysseus to face the same consequences he faced. Odysseus is following this advice even before Agamemnon gave it to him. Odysseus never told a stranger who he really was. He always made up a story of where he was from and who is. Then he would bring up the name Odysseus to see what they really thought of him. He did not want to put himself in danger if the person did not like him. When he returns to Ithaca he also did this to his wife, Penelope. Athena turned him into a beggar. Penelope approached him in this form and asked about her distant husband. When Odysseus said, "He is still alive," a tear fell down Penelope's cheek (Homer 213). This was Odysseus's sign that it was safe to tell his wife he was home. Oedipus is also tremendously suspicious of his close friend’s motives. When he is told that he has to find out who murdered the late King Laius, he inquires the information from Teiresias. Oedipus calls upon Teiresias the blind prophet. Oedipus says, "…(You are) sent to answer our question that the only riddance from this pest which could come was if we should learn aright the slayers of Laius, and slay them or send them into exile of out great land" (Sophocles 118). After much resistance, Teiresias relies, "You are the accursed defiler of this land" (Sophocles 121). Oedipus then goes on to blame Creon for causing...
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