4 Themes of the Odyssey and Oedipus Rex Essay

Theme 1: Love for your family (or home) 1. (Homer’s the Odyssey) In the Odyssey, Odysseus spends ten years trying to go home to Ithaca. Odysseus left the Trojan War with the mindset and hopes of returning home. Although he wanted to go home to Ithaca many obstacles faced him. He fought against the Cyclops, survived against Poseidon’s wrath, left the Island of Calypso, and many other dangers just to come home. Odysseus survived through all of the hardships just to return home to his family and city. 2. The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus at Colonus, antithesis) When Oedipus’ sons (Polyneices and Eteocles) learn of their father’s past they banished him away from Thebes. They were disgusted by what he had done and decided on forcing him to leave his city. With this they disrespected their father and even their own home of Thebes. Polyneices and Eteocles sided with their uncle, Creon who brought Thebes to its downfall. This caused them to once again disrespect their father, Oedipus and hurt Thebes. 3. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus at Colonus) Once Oedipus was banished from Thebes his daughter Antigone stays by his side.

She is there to guide him and keep him safe. She stays with him until the very end and never gives up on her father. Antigone leads Oedipus to Colonus where the two are treated with respect and honor. When Oedipus “dies” Antigone is devastated and heartbroken without him. She wished to go see her father, but she is forbidden to do so. 4. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) The suitors who stayed at Odysseus home while he was lost at sea were disrespectful to him, his family, and his home. They tried to marry Penelope, but disregarded her wishes to stay with Odysseus.

The suitors ate all of Odysseus cattle and food and also disrespected those who worked for him. They also disobeyed Penelope and Telemachus’ word when told what to do. The suitors made a mess of Odysseus home and also his family. 5. (Homer’s the Odyssey) When Odysseus arrived home to Thebes he was pleased to see his swineherd, Eumaios remained loyal after all of his years of being way. Eumaios continued to take care of his sheep and protect them from the selfish suitors. When asked of Odysseus he spoke highly of his master .

Eumaios also helped Odysseus get inside to his home and win Penelope back from the suitors. Odysseus later rewarded Eumaios with wealth and a wife. 6. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) The cowherd, Philoetius and the goatherd, Melanthius became unloyal over the years of Odysseus’ absence. They both disobeyed his rules and did not treat their cattle the way they should have. When Odysseus arrived home he killed them among with the suitors. 7. (Homer’s the Odyssey) During Odysseus’ absence Penelope remained loyal to him. Even thought he had been gone for twenty years she never left him for the suitors.

She refused to move on and remarry. Once he returned Penelope was grateful and happy to see him. Theme 2: Respect for the Gods 1. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus Rex, antithesis) When Oedipus first arrives to Thebes and comes across the Sphinx that was placed there by Apollo. The Sphinx then gave Oedipus to solve. Oedipus solved the riddle, which killed the Sphinx sent by Apollo. Oedipus then became king for killing the Sphinx. 2. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus Rex) Before Oedipus the first king, Laius was killed by highwaymen.

Not knowing who was responsible for his death Apollo granted a plague across Thebes. In order to get rid of the plague Oedipus had to find Laius’ killer. Knowing he had to do so, Oedipus granted a curse on whoever killed the past king in order to find the killer and please Apollo. 3. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) When sent to the island of the Cyclops’s Odysseus and his men disrespected Poseidon by killing his son, Polythemus. The men stabbed the Cyclops (Polythemus) in his eye and blinded him. When blinded Polythemus called upon his father screaming they had blinded him.

Poseidon then continued to bring danger upon Odysseus and his men. 4. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) When Odysseus and his men reached the island of the god Helios they were told by Zeus to not eat the cattle of the island. Most of Odysseus’ men disobeyed Zeus’ wishes and ate the cattle. Once they had eaten the cattle the men were killed. 5. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) The suitors who have taken over Odysseus’ home while he is gone disrespect the God’s law of hospitality and courtesy. They are not hospitable towards Penelope, or her home.

The suitors eat all of Odysseus’ food and disrespect those who work for him. 6. (Homer’s the Odyssey) Throughout all of his journeys and hardships Odysseus listened to the word of Athena. When needing guidance and help he would go to her and have faith in what she would tell him. Odysseus obeyed her until the very moment he was home and safe. 7. (Homer’s the Odyssey) The Cyclops’s believe they are better and more powerful than the gods. They have no respect for any of the gods, even though their father is Poseidon. They do not follow the rules of the gods, or treat them with any respect.

Theme 3: Self Mutilation 1. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus Rex) Discovering the news that she had incest with her son and that her son killed her husband Iocasta came to the decision of killing herself. She could not handle the fact that she had children with her oldest son unknowingly. She went to the chamber and hung herself to be found by Oedipus. 2. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus Rex) When discovering that his mother (also wife) Iocasta killed herself Oedipus brought his punishment upon himself. He then left to chamber to blind himself.

Oedipus gouged out his own eyes bringing him his own self destruction. 3. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Antigone) After burying the burying the body of her brother, Polyneices, Antigone was sentenced to the death by Creon. Instead of instantly killing Antigone Creon decided on locking her away in a cave and bury her alive. Before Creon could kill her Antigone brought her death upon herself. She hung herself in the cave in which she was left to die in. 4. (The Oedipus Rex Cycle- Antigone) Creon’s son, Haemon was in love with Antigone and destined to marry her.

He knew of her death sentence and refused to let it happen, but Creon did otherwise. Before Creon would kill her Haimon went to see his wife. When arriving to the cave and seeing she had killed herself Haimon was outraged. He went to kill his father, but missed. Out of pure frustration he turned the sword onto himself and killed himself. 5. (Homer’s the Odyssey) Odysseus has been away from his home of Thebes for twenty years. When being taken over by complete and total grief his mother, Anticlea decides on taking her own life. Antic lea kills herself by walking into the sea and drowning. . (Oedipus Rex Cycle- Antigone) Eurydice, mother of Haemon and wife of Creon is taken over by grief when learning of the death of her son. She can no longer handle the death of her son and blames her husband for his death and Antigone’s. Eurydice then ends her own life by stabbing herself. ? Theme 4: Hospitality 1. (Oedipus Rex Cycle- Oedipus at Colonus) When Oedipus and Antigone arrived to Colonus they were greeted by Theseus. There he took good care of them and kept them in his protection. He let the two make his city of Colonus their home. . (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) Since Odysseus had been away from his home for twenty years suitors began to want his wife Penelope’s hand in marriage. They arrived to his home and disrespected those who worked for Odysseus and his home. The suitors ate all of Odysseus’ food and slept with his maids. The suitors refuse to leave Penelope and Odysseus home, which leads to their death. 3. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) Odysseus and his men reach the island of the Cyclops in which they enter a cave. Within the cave they see a roasting sheep.

They violate the Greek rules of hospitality by going into someone’s home (Polythemus’ cave) and eating their food without permission. 4. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) The Cyclops, Polythemus treats Odysseus and his men with little to no hospitality. When they reach Polythemus’ home he does not welcome them in, but tells them to go away. By doing this he disrespects the rule of hospitality. 5. (Homer’s the Odyssey) After being lost at sea, Odysseus reaches the land of the Phoenicians. There he was accepted and taken care of by the princess Nusicaa.

Odysseus is treated as an honored guest and is given the gift of a ship and the finest crew in the city. 6. (Homer’s the Odyssey) Once he returns home Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar. While being disguised he goes to his own Swineherd, Eumaeus. Not knowing who he is Eumaeus still allows the stranger (Odysseus) to stay with him. 7. (Homer’s the Odyssey, antithesis) Still disguised as a beggar, Odysseus reaches his home which is overthrown by the suitors. The suitors disrespect him and tell him he is not welcomed in “their” home, when it is not even theirs. Penelope scolds them and allows Odysseus to stay.

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