Comparative Essay


The Odyssey (Book IX) and Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter portray similarities. The Odyssey (Book IX) narrates a sorry tale of wonderings in the life of Odysseus. From Troy, Odysseus gives account of his move to Ismarus, Cicones city, where his men are attacked and killed. Odyssey then escapes together with his crew having lost six men per ship. The tale in the book is based on flashback wondering and shows how Odysseus struggled to survive many challenges during his exploration in foreign lands. The Odyssey (Book IX) features the ancient chimes and bards that guided him all through. Across the Empty Quarter clarifies more about the author’s incredible journey across Saudi Arabia. In this case, the book explains more on Bedu, who seem to be the hero of the book. Bedu was able to guide the author all through the journey and allow him learn about monuments. The two books also exhibit substantial differences noted across the ideological content. This paper examines a detailed comparison between Homer’s The Odyssey (Book IX) and Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter. The comparison between the two books is based on the idea of fate and free will concepts as portrayed by the authors. Homer’s The Odyssey (Book IX) and Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter and contrast in numerous ways.

Type of assignment
Writer level
Number of pages
Total price:



Based on the concepts of fate and free will, The Odyssey (Book IX) and Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter portray closely compare. Fate and free will are distinct forces that shape the lives of men and women in various ways as portrayed by The Odyssey. Fate is the force that dictates the ultimate destination of each person. Based on the book, this is the force of fatality in the middle of life. The force of fate in death is also referred to as the ultimate destination of every man and woman. On the other hand, free will is the aspect where human beings take, actions according to their inspirations. Based on this concept, characters make decisions that they feel best and convenient. In both books, the concepts of fate and free will have featured vastly. The two books are guided by decisions that were made by characters at different times.

The concept of free will is revealed in both books at different instances. In these cases, the characters expressed the urge to make independent choices in life. The choices made in the texts were based on self-drive that originated from the characters. In the case of The Odyssey (Book IX), there are various cases when the characters chose to make their decisions based on personal choices. Due to these choices, the concept of free will is clearly portrayed. Odyssey reveals at the beginning of the story that his choices differed with that of his men at different instances. When Odyssey wanted to leave the Cicones, his men made choices to stay behind and feast. It can be noted that both Odyssey and his men demonstrated decisions at free will. Based on free will concept, nobody drives his colleague to take an action. From this observation, it is clear that The Odyssey (Book IX) is characterized by free will aspect.

In the case of Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter, a similar free will action is demonstrated. Thesiger takes a free will decision to travel across Saudi Arabia. The decision to go for this journey originates from Thesiger and is not forced by anybody. The fact that Thesiger makes a decision for himself reveals the freedom of choice, hence, free will demonstration. Due to his free will decision, Thesiger makes a journey across Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter. Additionally, Thesiger feels that he is a total man and can make independent decisions. Upon his decisions, Thesiger goes for the journey without being sent by anyone. Based on this observation, the book Across the Empty Quarter reveals the free will theme in its content.

Both the books reveal many cases where characters decided to make free will decisions to suit their interests. Considering interest as a key factor of free will decision, The Odyssey (Book IX) expounds on cases where specific characters made decisions that fit their interests. Most of the decisions that characterize such steps are based on free will aspect. For example, Odysseus men opted to stay and plunder Cicones city. The decision to stay was instigated by their free will. The key agenda that encouraged the men to make such decision was the desire for a feast. The decision was made without a push from any other character since they had interest for the target.

Based on Across the Empty Quarter book, a similar aspect of free will drive can be noted. Thesiger was persuaded by the need for pleasure that he would derive by making a name for himself. The need to make a name is related to the interest that he was bound to realize from civilization. Due to the drive, Thesiger is driven to make a free will decision to go for a journey. The aspect of free will travelling is also evident in The Odyssey (Book IX). Odysseus makes a free will decision to travel from Troy. Initially, his decision to travel to was partly influenced by his men. After realizing that his men have remained in Cicones city, Odysseus had to make a free will decision to move on with the journey from Troy. Additionally, Odysseus’ free will decision to move on with the journey was driven by the desire for adventure. From this observation, it can be realized that both the books are characterized by cases of free will decisions.

Furthermore, free will has been vividly shown in the two books whereby both the Bard and Bedu acted without any force implied. Odyssey shows how much the burd he met had a glorious voice that he has never heard. “The truth is that hearing a bard such as this is a great honor.” Says Odysseus as he talks to the king. The poems were well flowing as audiences sit to listen to the wise burd. Free will is well illustrated in the books to reveal that the actions taken by the characters originated from their choice.

Another idea that can be used to compare the two books is the aspect of fate. The authors have demonstrated how different actions that were taken by the characters contributed to their fate. Since fate is the force dictating the ultimate destiny of a person, it is clear that both the books are written to address this concept. Fate may either depend on an individual’s actions or not. In both books, it can be realized that the characters had different fates based on their actions. Both the books relate the actions taken by the characters to their fate in different scenarios. Despite the fact that each book demonstrates the theme of fate, there are different observations that can be made on the concept. The book “Across the Empty Quarter” and “The Odyssey (Book IX)” are both organized into sensible themes that are supported throughout the plot.

There is a clear difference between the two books based on the concept of fate. According to the book “Across the Empty Quarter”, the fate of Thesiger is not clarified. The book reveals that after taking a journey across Arabia’s Empty Quarter, the result was a monument. Based on the definition that is provided for fate, it is clear that the final destination of characters in the book Across the Empty Quarter book was not marked by death. Although there was no death fate, the journey was marked with serious frightening experience. In The Odyssey (Book IX), however, there are various instances where the characters’ fate turned to be death. The difference in this case is quite significant in drawing a disparity between the two books.

In both books, the authors have shown relationship between free will and fate. In this case, the books reveal facts about actions that were intentionally taken by the characters and what transpired due to those actions. The fact that the books have related the two concepts of interest depicts a similarity between them. An example of the relationship in the case of The Odyssey (Book IX) can be pointed out when Odysseus and his crew went out to explore the continent. Odysseus makes a free will decision to go to the giant’s cave, a decision that costs the lives of his men. Based on the episode, it can be realized that fate is directly related to free will. In fact, Odysseus confirms that he has learned from his errors.

The most outstanding similarity that touches on fate is realized between Odysseus and Thesiger. Both Odysseus and Thesiger turned out to be heroes after the journeys. The two characters exhibit similar lifestyles yet they are part of different books. Based on their analysis, it can be deduced that the two books have got similar concepts. Additionally, the two characters’ lifestyles are so independent from other characters. Based on the free will idea of comparison, it can be realized that the two books address common themes.

Another difference between the two books based on free will and fate is realized in the efforts taken by the characters to evade death. In Odyssey (Book IX), Odysseus makes numerous decisions that help him escape death at various instances. An example of his survival is noted when he was attacked by the giant, that he struck using cunning. The giant killed all his crew men who did not fight promptly. Based on this observation, it can be noted that the fate of Odysseus depended on his free will. The book “Across the Empty Quarter” does not relate fate and free will concepts. The characters were not exposed to any form of danger that they fought to dictate their fate.


The two books demonstrate vast cases of similarities and differences based on the styles and themes that are adopted by the authors. The most observable similarity between the two books is based on the fact that both of them talk about set of journeys. The book “Across the Empty Quarter” talks about the journey that was taken by Thesiger across Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter. Similarly, the other book “The Odyssey (Book IX)” talks about several journeys that were made by Odysseus and his crew. Both the books reveal that there is a close relationship between free will and fate. As pointed out in the texts, the contents of the books are similar because they reveal how different characters adopted free will concepts to make decisions. Additionally, there are characters who exhibited similar fates in both texts. The a few cases of differences that are evident between the two books address the connections between the themes of fate and free will. As opposed to “The Odyssey (Book IX)” where the two themes are connected, in the Across the Empty Quarter, the two themes are not connected.

Sep 23, 2019 in Informative
Case Study
Crime Punishment

Related essays