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Samson and Oedipus protagonists of two prominent works of Western literary canon have dominated many intellectual discourses for centuries Countless analyses of Oedipus plight have been made the most well-known being that of Sigmund Freud while Samsons actions have been reinterpreted in various ways ranging from that of a martyr to that of a relentless terrorist However all those interpretive readings analyzed only the identity of the heroes or their actions Oedipuss particular nature from Freuds point of view focused merely on the personality with instinctive drives while scholars like Hill or Carey only paid attention to the ethical dilemma of Samson whether he is a regenerate deliverer or degenerate revenger In general they all neglected the interplay between action and heroic identity which is crucial to comprehend the relevant tragedies This interplay propels the question whether the protagonists were heroes by themselves thus acting virtuously or the virtuous actions turned the protagonists into heroes The answer on the other hand involves a rather cyclic interdependent relationship that exists between the deeds and individuality of the heroes This cycle which we might call heroic virtue cycle divulges in fact the essential teaching of the texts that is tightly connected to the relevant historical contexts To understand this cyclic connection first it is necessary to highlight the initial events that proved Oedipus and Samson were heroes Both have saved their community from severe crises a plague initiated by Sphinx and the rage of the Philistines respectively They demonstrated great intellectual or physical aptitude by solving the riddle and defeating the Philistines Hence their society started respecting them as virtuous illustrious characters evident in the speech of the priest a significant person in Sophocles era Oedipus our greatest powerwe rate you first of men 16 41 Oedipus is the role-model the mighty leader Similarly in Samson Agonistes the chorus which represents the communal voice discloses its adoration to Samsons superiority by calling him heroic irresistible strongest of
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