Oedipus and Odysseus in a Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Even when he believes himself to be finally at home in Ithaca based on the word of a young woman -- actually the goddess Athena in disguise, unbeknownst to him -- he lies about who he is not because he feels that he needs to but out of "the instinctive wiliness of his heart" (Book 13). Even this scene ends up making Odysseus appear likable, however, given his sheer irascibility and unflappable attitude. When the goddess reveals herself and calls attention to Odysseus' lies, he manages to turn the accusation around on her, claiming that he cannot necessarily trust her intentions or her information based on certain of the past events that he has endured and even questioning whether or not she told the truth in telling him he had arrived at home. The pure audacity of his willingness to lie here and the straight-faced and utterly shameless way in which Odysseus conducts himself is at once his biggest flaw and his most endearing trait; when confronted with this flaw, he covers it up with more of the same, and this is simply too engaging, humorous, and shocking to be greeted without at least a modicum of guilt pleasure.

Odysseus and Oedipus are very different characters, and they occupy highly different texts, as well. The methods used to makes these characters likable are very similar, however -- it is precisely through their handling of their negative traits that these characters are seen most positively. This is also part of what makes these characters and their stories…

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