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Compare Oedipus Rex and Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey; How Much Control Do You Think one Can Have on the Power of Fate?

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Compare Oedipus Rex and Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey; How Much Control Do You Think one Can Have on the Power of Fate?

Compare Oedipus Rex and Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey; How much control do you think one can have on the power of fate?

This paper is comparing Oedipus Rex and Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey, personalities and the control each one has on their fate. In order to have an understanding of these characters it is best to give a slight description of each play. Oedipus, the king of Thebes, is the protagonist of the play. Oedipus is born with a terrible prophecy to kill his own father and marry his mother. To prevent this from happening, Oedipus' father orders the baby to be killed but instead he is given to a childless king and queen who raise him as if he were their own. In attempting to deny his fate, Oedipus runs away from who he is and yet ironically ends up in the homeland of his origins, ruling as king and marrying his mother. When he finally realizes the truth of the prophecy, Oedipus must accept his punishment and his limitations as a man.

Dramatic irony plays an important part in Oedipus the King. Its story revolves around two different attempts to change the course of his fate: Jocasta and Laius's killing of Oedipus at birth and Oedipus's flight from Corinth later on. In both cases, an oracle's prophecy comes true regardless of the characters' actions. Jocasta kills her son only to find him restored to life and married to her. Oedipus leaves Corinth only to find that in so doing he has found his real parents and carried out the oracle's words. Both Oedipus and Jocasta prematurely rejoice over the failure of oracles, only to find that the oracles were right after all. Each time a character in the play tries to avert the future predicted by the oracles, it is futile creating the sense of irony that permeates the play. Even the manner in which Oedipus and Jocasta express their disbelief in oracles is ironic. In an attempt to comfort Oedipus, Jocasta tells him that oracles are powerless; yet at the beginning of the very next scene we see her praying to the same gods whose powers she has just mocked and called powerless. These gods in turn will punish her for her blasphemy!

Oedipus' destiny is engendered by Oedipus' own character defects: his temper and impulsive nature and his pride as well as his erroneous judgment all contribute to his eventual downfall. These character defects are governed by his fate and in turn aid his fate to take its course towards his destruction.

The outcome of this play is that Jocasta, Oedipus' mother/wife commits suicide, as she is unable to bear the burden of her abhorrent existence. Oedipus is devastated and blinds himself as a punishment. He only wants to be exiled from Thebes, destroyed and vanquished. Through his pain and suffering, Oedipus is humbled yet he also gains self-knowledge, as he knows who he is and where he is from which is something he should have known all along.

In Homer's Odyssey the protagonist, Odysseus on the other hand is a different character all together. His defining character traits are: strength, courage, nobility, a thirst for glory, and confidence in his authority. The story begins ten years after the fall of Troy and the victorious Greek hero Odysseus has still not returned to his native Ithaka. A group of rowdy suitors, believing Odysseus to be dead, has overrun his palace. In addition, they have all tried to court his faithful wife, Penelope. They have gone through his stock of food, wine and women in the home.

The story continues on Odysseus' journey home to Ithaka. Throughout Odysseus' travels he has to use one of his most distinguishing traits; his sharp intellect. Odysseus's quick thinking helps him out of some very tough situations. For example, when he escaped from the cave of the Cyclops or when he tied himself to the sail of the boot to hear the Siren's song with impunity. He is also a convincing, articulate speaker and can win over or manipulate his audience with ease.

Though he is enjoying his journey, he eventually wants to return home, even though he admits that his wife cannot compare with

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