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What exactly is a hero Is it someone who rushes into a burning house to rescue a child Or is it a monk who abstains from worldly pleasures and comforts in order to be closer to the Gods Joseph Cambell one of the foremost authorities of Greek mythology defined the literary hero as someone who accomplishes extraordinary feats in at least one of two basic realms worldly or spiritual If the aforementioned prospective heroes were the protagonists of a story and were transformed by their deeds and imparted the wisdom they learned on to others then according to Cambell they could be viewed as heroes Not only has Cambell defined the word hero but he has also outlined a simple cycle that most heroes follow An annotated version of this ambiguous cycle would begin with a Call to Adventure then the assistance of a helper then an irrevocable crossing of the Threshold of Adventure followed by an undergoing of an ordeal and receiving of a reward and finally the return of the hero with the quintessential solution Although Oedipus clearly follows this cycle he was an antihero rather than a hero To better understand this one must first follow Oedipuss adventure in respect to how it fits into the Hero Cycle Oedipus was born under a curse that said he would kill his father and marry his mother His Call to Adventure came the moment he was born because fear of the prophecy led his parents to have him killed It was only through the mercy of the helper a shepherd that Oedipus was spared The shepherd gave Oedipus to a childless couple Polybus and Merobe to be raised as their own Oedipus after hearing the curse and believing the couple to be his natural parents flees Corinth in an attempt to foil the Gods and fate Oedipus crosses the Threshold of Adventure when he meets quarrels with and then murders a stranger who
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