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Huma 4322

In: English and Literature

Submitted By amw5408
Words 732
Pages 3
Ahmed Williams
Midterm
Daniel Jaeckle
10/13/2011

The question that was posed is what does each author hold as his or her highest value; and, what do I think their values tell us about their culture? The two authors that I am going to write about are homer and Sopocles. These two authors have many differences and similarities; but I think there are three things these author’s hold as there highest value. That is, brains over brawn, maturity over time, and the need to complete a journey. Let’s begin with the idea of brains over brawn. Both of the authors seem to emphasize the intelligence of each main character; and, that intelligence is touted at a higher regard than strength. We see this in Odysseus who repeatedly uses his brain and intellect to outsmart others. Of course, he uses some force, but it is suggested that he was just as much of a warrior with his mind as he was with his sword. We also see this in Oedipus as he used his foresight to become a great leader. However, although Oedipus’s use of his intelligence was touted as noble, the book also uses his is intelligence as a lesson on fate. This leads to my second point which is maturity over time. Both of the main characters in either novel seemed to have gone through change in maturity. We certainly see the maturity level in Oedipus change after he finds out that he has no control over his fate; and even if brains were preferred over brawn, you still must understand your destiny. I use the word destiny because that’s more in line with fate; notice there is a difference between fate and faith; you see the same maturity over time with Odysseus. Time after time, Odysseus prevailed in battle by simply deceiving his foes and manipulating them. However, after he returns home, the only way he was able to defeat the suitors was with the help of Achilles. He could not defeat the suitors with intelligence alone. He learns that he must be just as much a warrior he is smart. So this begs the question, why do these two authors emphasized intelligence as superior; yet they seem to detest when it is used a too much? This leads to my third point which is the idea of the journey. These two authors seem to both emphasize the need for a journey. Both characters in each book have a journey. In these journeys we see both characters gain some sense of maturity and understanding of life itself; and this has a lot to do with fate. Notice how Oedipus learns that his intelligence has nothing to do with his fate; and he learns that he has no control over his fate as he thought he did. In Odysseus’s case, we see a different journey. Odysseus is shown to be well equipped at using both brain and brawn so he is shown in a better light; but he only figures this out after his journey. As a result of his understanding of fate, he is shown to live a life of peace. We see clearly in both cases that the need to take a journey or the idea of completing a journey is highly popular. Nevertheless, why is this significant? Well we know from experience that an author’s environment usually shows up in his writing either implicitly or explicitly. We talked about how both authors seemed to emphasize brains over brawn. One could clearly come to the conclusion that both authors lived in a violent error where the warrior was loved and the scholar was at times loathed. We also see the implications of fate in both authors’ work. It is clear that fate was a big issue at the time these novels were written. So what does this tell us about the Greeks? Well we know that they were a culture of great warriors and fighters. We also can assume that many, such as homer and Sopocles, saw the warrior culture more or less as a vice rather than a valor. Also, the implication of fate in Greek society was big as well To end, both of these novels are as much a cultural lesson as they are epics. They both seemingly set out to make a statement within their text; and, there ideas still hold true today.

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