How does Odysseus of Homer's Odyssey compare and contrast with Macbeth of Shakespeare's Macbeth? Please focus on the characters' personalities.

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There's a lot worth contrasting between Odysseus and Macbeth. First of all, I would note, Odysseus is not a tragic character like Macbeth is (he's ultimately rewarded at the end of The Odyssey, whereas Macbeth is destroyed).

Furthermore, Odysseus is worthy of respect, particularly within the context he was...

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There's a lot worth contrasting between Odysseus and Macbeth. First of all, I would note, Odysseus is not a tragic character like Macbeth is (he's ultimately rewarded at the end of The Odyssey, whereas Macbeth is destroyed).

Furthermore, Odysseus is worthy of respect, particularly within the context he was created in (if he is not heroic by modern standards, do keep in mind that he was not created with modern audiences in mind).

Macbeth is treacherous—grasping for a crown which is not his, and in so doing he tramples over moral and political expectations: murdering his liege to attain his crown and then using still more murders in his attempt to secure it.

Odysseus, on the other hand, might be many things, but treacherous is not one of them. He tends to be loyal to his friends, and when among those who show him proper hospitality, he tends to reciprocate in turn, respecting his hosts and upholding himself with all the proper conduct that would have been expected of him as a guest (this we can see in his time on Phaeacia).

That being said, one can point towards similarities as well. Both are great warriors, and both are ultimately subject to the dictates of forces greater than themselves. Additionally, we should note that a great deal of their suffering is self inflicted, created out of their own darker impulses.

Macbeth's fatal flaw is his ambition: in his ambition to become King, he murders the previous King and sets himself up on a road which will lead to his own self destruction. He also suffers from a great deal of pride, particularly when he misinterprets prophesy to believe himself invincible.

Odysseus is also brought down by his own pride, particularly in his need to reveal his identity to Polyphemus—so that he would know who had defeated and blinded the Cyclops. In so doing, he catches the ire of Polyphemus's father, Poseidon, an act which brings him much suffering throughout the story.

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There isn’t a whole lot of similarity between Macbeth and Odysseus. You could probably say that they both suffer from a bit of vanity. Odysseus likens himself to a god for his role of the defeating the Trojans in the Trojan War. This angers Poseidon, who condemns Odysseus to years of wandering before he finally makes it back home. Macbeth’s vanity is evident in his desire to be crowned King, which leads to his eventual downfall.

They are different in that Odysseus is essentially an honorable man who tries to do right by his men, although he ends up losing them all. Macbeth, on the other hand, has his friend Banquo murdered to protect himself.

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