Oedipus the Kind and Odysseus Comparison

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Using at least four points of criteria for comparison, compare and contrast the leadership skills and abilities of both Oedipus and Odysseus. How are they alike? How are they different? Use specific examples from both literary works to illustrate your points. 400 word minimum, use quotes from Oedipus the King by Sophocles and The Odyssey by Homer

May 27th, 2015

A Comparison of Odyssey and Oedipus the King


  In the world of literature, there are many similarities and

differences between them. These similarities and differences are

significant because the reader can learn and thoroughly comprehend them.

Two examples of such literature are the epic poems Oedipus the King ,

written by Sophocles and The Odyssey, written by Homer who were both Greek



  Oedipus the King and The Odyssey share many similarities. The most

important and significant similarity is that both epic poems are involved

in a conflict when we first encounter the poems. In The Odyssey, we learn

that the main character, Odysseus, has been held captive by the nymph

Calypso for twenty years. We also learn that Odysseus had finished (and

won) fighting a war against the city of Troy and has been held captive by

Calypso ever since. During this time, Odysseus' son and wife, whom Odysseus

left behind to fight in the war, have been patiently waiting for Odysseus'

return to his palace in Ithaca  in which Odysseus is king. Telemachus,

Odysseus' son, has grown into a young man and he's constantly battling

Suitors  from destroying and wasting his father's wealth while looking to

marry Penelope, Odysseus' wife. In Oedipus the King, a wild plague has been

killing a big population of the city-state of Thebes . This was a big

conflict that the people in Thebes turned to King Oedipus to solve. He

helped the city before by solving the riddle of the Sphinx and they needed

help from him once more. During this plague, blight on the crops was

present, children stillborn, women dying after giving birth, and cattle

were sickened.


  The main characters in both epic poems were also very similar. Both

King Oedipus and Odysseus were well-respected leaders of their cities. This

respect is shown in The Odyssey when Zeus  ordered his daughter Athene to

inform Odysseus' family that Odysseus was alive. Respect was shown toward

Oedipus when the people of Thebes crowned him king for solving the riddle

of the Sphinx.  They both showed responsibilities when Odysseus went to

fight in the Trojan war and when King Oedipus took action in solving the

city's plague by sending Creon, his brother-in-law, to the Oracle of Apollo

to seek answers. Both characters were saviors because Odysseus helped to

win the war against the city of Troy while Oedipus solve the riddle of the

Sphinx and was crowned king as a result. Also, the wives of both characters

were strong because Penelope (Odysseus' wife) was faithful to her husband

and did not remarry even though her husband's whereabouts were unknown and

Jocasta (Oedipus' wife) tried to calm Oedipus down when he became livid

from accusations of murder. These two characters were also similar in that

they both ruled kingdoms in cities of Greece.


  What was also similar between these two works of literature was the

fact that gods ruled the people below them. These gods controlled the

humans' every move like if the people were puppets on puppet strings. In

other words, gods controlled the fate of the humans. In The Odyssey, Zeus

was pretty much in charge of everything including the search for the god-

like Odysseus. Poseidon, the sea-god who had a grudge on Odysseus, was

testing Odysseus' fate by making him undergo a wide variety of torments.

Oedipus on the other hand, was living out a prophecy that the gods assigned

his family that led to Oedipus' banishment from his own kingdom.


  Finally, both epic poems shared dramatic irony. In The Odyssey, the

audience and gods knew the whereabouts of Odysseus and knew what was

expected of him in the future while he and the whole city of Ithaca didn't.

In Oedipus the King, the audience knew that Oedipus lived through the

prophecy and his people were suffering as a result while Oedipus was

puzzled about the situation.


  Like similarities, differences are present between two works of

literature. First, both authors who wrote these poems lived in different

time periods. Homer lived and wrote The Odyssey during 850-750 BC and

Sophocles lived and wrote Oedipus the King during 496-406 BC. Difference in

conflict is shown in The Odyssey, when Odysseus blinded Poseidon's son, the

Cyclops and this led to his capture and suffering from his family. Also,

Calypso kept Odysseus captive because she wanted to marry him. In Oedipus

the King, pain and suffering of the people of Thebes was caused when

Oedipus enacted the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother.

Other differences include the different cities these poems took place in,

the different type of drama each poem was The Odyssey being an adventurous

poem and Oedipus the King being a tragic poem, and the plot of each poem.


  Finally, the major difference of each poem is the outcome. In The

Odyssey, Odysseus fought long and hard to find his way back to his family

and friends in Ithaca. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus would be banished from

the city of Thebes because he made the prophecy come true.


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