The Odyssey Analysis Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 02:01:25
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In the epic the Odyssey by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald)one of the most descriptive and best written passages in the entire epic isThe Slaying of the Suitors (book 23 lines1-62). This is a good passagefor many reasons, one of these is that it is a part of the story that hasbeen built up and anticipated by all. Another is the vivid imagery used byHomer.
There is one more reason, this being the tone of the passage. Thetone of this passage is very important to it and adds very much to it. One of the most talked of conflicts in the Odyssey is the suitorsravaging the possessions and house of Odysseus. They were able to do thisbecause he was presumed dead and they didn’t worry about him coming toprotect his house and family. The impact of the passage in question is soimportant because it is when Odysseus returns to his home and kills thesuitors.
This is a large part of the final resolution, it al begins withthis, for once the suitors are gone Odysseus is free to reclaim is post insociety. It also gives the reader a great feeling of elation that thesuitors who are terrorizing the house of Odysseus. A quote that reallygives a good idea of the overall impact and resolution that this passagegives is as follows You yellow dogs, you thought I’d never make it homefrom the land of Troy. You took my house to plunder, twisted my maids toserve your beds.
You dared bid for my wife while I was still alive. Contempt was all you had for the gods who rule wide heaven, contempt forwhat men say of you hereafter. Your last hour has come. You die in blood. (page 410 lines 37-43).
This quote gives a good impression of the closurethat is given by this passage, included for this purpose, because it giveOdysseus his revenge, the suitors will die in disgrace, Odysseus hasfinally returned to claim his place. The dominant impression created bythis passage is summed up in the quote above, vengeance, elation at thedeaths of the suitors and the felling that Odysseus is back and he’s notgoing to stand for what the suitors have done. This point of Odysseus notstanding for what they had done is further driven home by the fact thatOdysseus immediately turns away a bribery attempt made by a grovelingEurymakhos. There is also a great amount of imagery in this passage that addsvery much to the overall impression of the passage. Homer uses a greatamount of imagery that creates a vivid image of the vengeful slaughter thattook place in that hall.
This is symbolized in several pieces of thepassage, one of them being Now as they craned to see their champion wherehe lay the suitors jostled in uproar down the hall, everyone on his feet. Wildly they turned and scanned the walls in the long room for arms; but nota shield, not a good ashen spear was there for a man to take and throw. All they could do was yell in outrage at Odysseus. (page 410 lines 22-27).
The vivid picture painted by Homer in this passage is enhanced by thechoice of very descriptive words and phrases for example the first part ofthe above quote. The description of the suitors craning to see theirfallen champion and jostling the room into an uproar paints a picture thatone can easily see with little effort. There is another quote that givesan even clearer image to the reader than the last As they all took this in,sickly fear pulled at their entrails, and their eyes flickered looking forsome hatch or hideaway from death. (page 410 lines 44-46).
This quotegives amazingly high quality mental pictures to the reader, especially whenHomer uses phrases like, sickly green entrails, or their eye flickered. The image is so strong of the suitors becoming mortally afraid andfrantically looking the entire room over for some refuge from this forcethat they had never dreamed would come back. Shock and amazement, mortalfear, these are the images conjured by the words used to describe thebeginning of the battle between Odysseus and the suitors. The tone of this passage is serious, very serious indeed, the tonehas many aspects in this passage. The first is vengeance, the tone ofvengeance is one of the strongest in this passage, and this quoteaccurately portrays that tone of vengeance So much for that.
Yourclean-cut game is over (page 409 line 5). This overtone of vengeance iscarried throughout the passage by Odysseus, nearly everything he says issaid in a way such that he seems to be happy to finally see to it that theproblems his family suffered through in his absence would finally bedestroyed. The other tone is one of fear and shock, this tone is mainlyexhibited by the suitors, being that their worst nightmare has seeminglycome true. A quote that shows the shock and fear that the suitorsexperience is As they took all this in, sickly green fear pulled at theirentrails, and their eyes flickered looking for some hatch or hideaway fromdeath. Eurymakhos alone could speak.
(page 410 line 44-47). The suitorsare so shocked that they cannot even speak, save Eurymakhos, and they areso frightened that they desperately seek some sort of hiding place, thisseems to add a bit of urgency to the selection. The attitudes and feelingsthat the characters in a passage exhibit give the passage its tone, and inthis passage we see shock and fear, maybe some urgency expressed by thesuitors and revenge from Odysseus. Those are the tones of this passage,they give it more life, a more vivid realization of what is happening, theyadd to this passages impact immensely. Giving a feeling of elation to seethe suitors finally meeting their end and a feeling of urgency to thispassage.
In conclusion, the passage is made infinitely better by the amountof imagery used by Homer to create a vivid picture in the mind of thereader. The tone of this passage is also very important to the overalleffect that the passage is meant to have on the story as a whole. The toneis very important because it gives the passage yet another dimension thatgives it even more impact in the entire book. The passage is veryimportant in the book because it gives a beginning to the end sort ofsituation, the killing of the suitors prepares the reader and Odysseus forthe end of the book. Where Odysseus comes home and reclaims his glory,vanquishes his enemies and ends his odyssey, that is why this passage isimportant to the book. This passage is enhanced by the tone and imageryused and in the end the magnitude of the events taking place are expressedvery expertly by Homer.
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