Comparing Odyssey And Sophocles Journey For Justice In Homer's Odyssey

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Homer’s Odyssey and Sophocles’ Electra both feature characters on a journey for justice. Odysseus questing for a return to his long-separated family and Electra working towards bringing her mother to task for the past murder of her father. United by a quest towards a goal, both characters converge and diverge at specific points. Odysseus and Electra are in agreement on motivational value and specific strategy, but they present vastly different approaches to the notion of revenge and the role of the hero. By examining both characters in relation, we can explore the different tendencies towards character structure and development in ancient literature. Electra and Odysseus are both compelled to action through a strong notion of justice or recompense…show more content…
Odysseus’s position as a triumphant hero is never questioned in the Odyssey and while he does undergo character development over the course of his journey he begins and ends the story a triumphant hero. Ulysses victory over the suitors is even facilitated by Minerva, who validates his bloody return, Homer writes: “…she [Minerva] would not give him full victory as yet, for she wished still further to prove his own prowess and that of his brave son.” (Book XXII, Homer) The killing of all the suitors, even those repentant, is seen as a final actualization of Odysseus’s character that guarantees him a positive ending. Electra’s fate is far less certain. As explored above, her moral ground is continually fraught. Electra’s ideals and ideas are given equal weight to her mother’s and while it is her who is triumphant, the sense of victory is not quite so clear. Clytemnestra can be justified when we weight her actions in relation to Electra’s; her actions are no less grievous, and similarly motivated over the death of family member. The end of Electra presents a pyrrhic victory, Electra’s revenge caring the cost of becoming like her

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