Tragic Hero In Oedipus The King and Odyssey

Although there are some similarities between these two tragic type heroes Odysseus and Oedipus, where Odysseus and Oedipus are just mortal mans who are not particularly strong or beautiful, their value is not necessarily provided on the battlefield or through brute violence, Oedipus King is exemplary from the transition between mythical and rational thinking just like The Odyssey, where the man cannot escape his fate, but it is only his actions that lead to such an outcome. The Odyssey and Oedipus the King are for the Greeks, a model to be followed.

There are some differences, The Odyssey shows Odysseus fighting against monsters, gods and being in fantastic places, and in Oedipus The King the story shows Oedipus fighting against his own past trying to find about the curse and who abandoned him when young, Ulysses is a young man who leaves the kingdom, the home, the wife, and the newborn son, and pursues his destiny. Between the departure and the return of the hero narrated in most myths, there is the abdication of his personality and infantile psyche, returning as a responsible adult who has accomplished something beyond the normal level of human experience.

The hero’s prowess, according to the author, can be of two types: physics, in which he practices an act of courage or saves a life; and the spiritual, in which it learns to deal with the higher level of human spiritual life and returns with a message.

In the case of Ulysses, the two types meet, since on several occasions he thinks of the safety of his men, going alone to the kingdom of Hades, from which no mortal had come back alive, in search of the dead fortune teller Tiresias.

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that would show you the way back home. In the Greek world, the classical hero plays the role of role model, one who overcomes all obstacles achieves his goals, even though it may cost him his life, as with Achilles, a hero without measure. Temperance or moderation is one of the hero’s desired qualities.

With Ulysses, the offense to Poseidon at the end of the Trojan war, according to the version presented in the film and his identification to the Cyclops Polyphemus (son of the god of the seas), with the aim of trespassing upon him, after having blinded him, they give him ten long years of suffering, until he understands Poseidon’s lesson: ‘ That without the gods, man is nothing!”

Coming from the aristocratic milieu, the classic Greek hero emerges as a king, as with Ulysses, as the son of a god and a mortal. The fact is that the hero is not born, though his ancestry helps. There is a way to go until it can be recognized as such. Ulysses was mortal and with all the characteristics of mortals: vanity, stubbornness, cunning and represented the desire of every Greek man of the time (a poor country), for whom adventure at sea was the only way to enrichment.

Oedipus is the son of a king (Laio) and a queen (Jocasta), and carries sin, the product of a hybris, an excess, a violation of things, corresponding to deep psychological structures, and which the hero tries to modify, with Oedipus, the condemnation of incest and parricide is justified in the story, as they constitute two deep marks of a path not to be followed by human beings.

Oedipus King raises doubts about the extent to which people own their own actions, there is in this tragedy a conflict between fate and free will. Oedipus tried to escape his fate, to prevent the prediction of the oracle from being fulfilled, but in fleeing fate he eventually met him, however much he tried to reverse the will of the gods. Oedipus has a superior moral and a very intelligent being, but has a tragic flaw, impulsiveness, moody humor as in the scene where he kills his father and the Serbs for a banal motive, if it had not been so smart and cunning would not have overcome the sphinx so I wouldn’t have married the mother.

In the Ulysses saga, considering what the Greeks would call ‘destiny,’ the hero is sent by his protector, Athena, goddess of war, but also of wisdom, on a mission that goes beyond the rescue of the unfaithful Helena: her journey is to of evolution itself and transformation into hero. As the recipient of an action, Athena awakens in Ulysses the must-do, that is, honor her commitment to Menelaus, using her power-to-do competence: he is king, has boats and men for the task. The goal of the goddess, however, is to bring her protégé to the competence of wisdom and find her place in the Greek world by gaining the qualities necessary for a hero – temperance, persistence, patience, courage, dedication – gained after performing the performances. that lead to a positive sanction, becoming a model for other citizens.

At the discursive level, the theme of honor is figurative in the departure of Ulysses, allying itself with the other Greek kings, in a situation of need and rescuing Helena for the settlement of this need. However, from the point of view of Destiny Athena, in a larger narrative program (PN), Ulysses did not obtain the positive sanction at the level of being, since, by his arrogance, he has not acquired hybris: as soon as he overcomes the Trojans, he directs to Poseidon, god of the seas, and presents himself as solely responsible for the victory: “See, gods of sea and sky, I have conquered Troy! Me, a mortal of flesh and blood, of blood and mind! I don’t need you now. I can do anything! ”His arrogance at this moment symbolizes the lack of maturity in the use of intelligence as he offended the god of the seas and was about to launch himself into the sea to undertake his return home. In an attitude of intimidation (and ignorance), he addresses a god, forgetting that he is only a mortal. Ulysses’ return is, in fact, his odyssey, which will define him as a persistent man who can resist suffering.

In Ulysses there is the bravery, courage, cunning, persistence and oratory, later highly valued in the Greek polis, since at the end of the Trojan War Greek speculative thinking could develop within the right circumstances. the advent of democracy and the valorization of argumentation. The episode with Polyphemus, the Cyclops, whom Ulysses had called himself ‘No One’ is an example of the intellectual game that will be established in the polis in the following years, where ‘discussion, argumentation and controversy will prevail. Unlike the hero marked by brute force who needs to sharpen his emotions and learn to control them like Hercules, Ulysses is the adventurous but cunning hero who will also reveal himself in the art of using the word, manifesting himself as a hero. He was a model for the illiterate and brute Greek man who knew how to wield the sword and the plow but knew little about the art of persuasion and seduction.

Ulysses sums up these attributes in himself. in his wanderings of pure warrior, he tends to approach the pseudo-hero of the ‘trivial narratives’ of men, but he is not exhausted in facing difficulties and winning in the end. Thus, Ulysses cannot define himself without his Ithaca, though he is an acclaimed hero throughout the Mediterranean due to his prowess to build the wooden horse that ended the long Trojan war.

Ulysses throughout his odyssey – combatant, prisoner of the goddess Calypso, turbulent return facing numerous dangers and setbacks, revenge against suitors who courted his wife and all who plotted against him – thus fulfills his destiny and attains supreme glory in combination with the gods. Given all these aspects, Ulysses is the ultimate exponent of all ‘traditional’ heroism. In short, the hero myth of Ulysses is unique and characteristic in all Greek mythology and thus constitutes an exceptional object of study and representative of the heroic charisma.

On the other hand, Oedipus, the King unfolds as a murder mystery, a political thriller, and a psychological whodunit. Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man determined to track down, expose, and punish an assassin, who turns out to be himself.

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Tragic Hero In Oedipus The King and Odyssey. (2020, Nov 26). Retrieved from

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