- Term Papers and Free Essays

Greek Heros

Essay by   •  August 2, 2015  •  Essay  •  996 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,278 Views

Essay Preview: Greek Heros

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

Greek Mythology

Hero Essay [pic 1]

         A hero in Greek literature and American literature contrasts in each other’s cultures of what defines a ‘hero’.  The American culture views a hero as being brave, honorable and saving someone or doing a heroic deed. A hero in the Greek culture was a warrior and likely a God. Not every culture has the same views of what makes a hero a hero, but a common similarity is that they show bravery and individual culturist good deeds. In class we’ve studied Greek and American literature about how different heroes are presented in world literature.

        ‘Hero’ is defined in Webster’s Dictionary (pg.277) as “any person, esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility, etc.”  A “Tragic Hero”, according to Aristotle, goes through one or more reversals of fortune leading up to a final recognition of a truth that has remained hidden from him (pg.263). An ‘Epic Hero’ is an epics larger-than-life main character whose mighty deeds reflect the values admired by the society that created the epic (page 1183).  The tragic heroes are Okonkwo, the main character from “Things Fall a Part” and Oedipus Rex, the main character from “Oedipus Rex”. A tragic hero has many events and newly information that causes their downfall.

Oedipus Rex is a tragic hero because of his downfall after learning his true identity of his parents and of his wife being his birth mother. His newly learned information causes his downfall of blinding himself and feeling eternal shame and became an outcast. “Is there any evil wanting? Your father killed his father; sowed the womb of her who bore him; engendered you at the fount of his own existence” (pg.260). Okonkwo is a tragic hero due to his downfall of arrest and suicide coming after he learned the effect of the white missionaries in his village and of his son Nwoye’s leaving. They both show that they are tragic heroes by having a great downfall from pride and tragic events leading to their downfalls. ‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Things fall apart’ are similar by both having tragic downfalls and being tragic heroes. Both have to overcome their parents set obstacles and loss of their respect after trying so hard to gain respect. Also by both harming themselves out of pride and not wanting to deal with their shame. The two stories are different by the information learned that causes their downfalls. Okonkwo knew where he came from and his downfall was from the information of others that deal with their decrease of respect for him and their culture and he commits suicide. Oedipus information dealt with his true identity and the truth of his life, he doesn’t commit suicide as Okonkwo did, but instead blinds himself preparing for the eternal life.

The cultures and customs affected the tragedies to be different in Greek and Ibo by the ways they lived and what they believed. Oedipus blinded himself because in Athens, Greece in 500 B.C they believed in the eternal afterlife and that they would live normal in the afterlife and everything would follow them there, so Oedipus didn’t want to face his parents and the shame in his life for his mistakes. Okonkwo killed himself in shame and his body was now a disgrace and not to be touched. “Lead a great man to be buried like a dog.” (pg.208). The primary motivation in Oedipus was to find King Laius’s murderer and to not have to face his shame; the motivation for Okonkwo was to fight for his tribe and be successful. The conflict in ‘Things’ was about the White missionaries coming into Okonkwo’s village and altering their customs and being exiled. Oedipus’ conflict is about the murder of King Laius and trying to find who was guilty of his murder and of his prophecy. The two conflicts and motivations are different by each having different motivations by trying to find the truth in Oedipus and knowing the truth and not wanting to accept the truth.



Download as:   txt (5.7 Kb)   pdf (111.5 Kb)   docx (8 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on