Describe in what ways Achilles of the Iliad and Oedipus of Oedipus Rex each abide by a universal code of morality.

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Both Oedipus and Achilles live by the universal code of human assertiveness and free will, even though each of these characters is foretold of a horrible fate that lies in store for him.

Achilles, for example, is warned that if he goes to fight at Troy, he will lose his life. He will gain the glory he desires, but with glory comes death. Still, he chooses to assert his own will to achieve his desire of respect and honor.

Oedipus is warned of a horrible prophecy, one that involves killing his own father and sleeping with and impregnating his own mother. Rather than hide away and cower from life, Oedipus goes on to assert his greatness by solving the riddle of the Sphinx and saving the city of Thebes. He goes on to become their king and gains the utmost admiration from his role in guiding his people.

In the end, both characters do meet their destined ends, but their courage in the face of such tragic circumstances is something to be admired.

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One of the ways to answer this very good question is to look at the Greek concept of hubris. Both characters are some of the proudest characters in all of Greek literature. In a word, they are characterized by hubris. 

Achilles shows this by not bending to the command of his king, Agamemnon. Also Achilles is so proud that he will not enter the fight, even though his fellow Greeks are dying at the hands of the Trojans. We can say that his pride and sense of honor is too great. 

The same can be said of Oedipus. He is the great ruler of Thebes and he cannot see or even entertain the thought that the plague on his city is due to his crimes. In a sense, he is very blind. His pride blinds him. 

In light of these two examples, we can say that both characters show the universal characteristic in man - his pride. 

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