Symbolism in the Odyssey

Significance in the Odyssey

In The Odyssey, Homer uses numerous literary devices to reach out to his audience. He wants the reader to look past the surface of the text and go deeper into its meaning. This is achieved by using importance throughout the epic. The most considerable of these signs are Odysseus’ fantastic bow, the shroud that Penelope weaves for Laertes, the island of Ithaca, and the sea itself. The fantastic bow signifies both Odysseus’ strength and the apparent fact: he is the only one fit both for Penelope and to lead Ithaca.

When the suitors struggle to do what Odysseus does without effort, it shows that not a single one of them will have the ability to change the king. Eurymakhos admits, “Curse this day … What a pity to be duplicated of us, after us!” (489-490 l 256-264). The suitors quickly understand he is rightand become ashamed, recognizing they are not worthy to take his place. Moreover, the shroud Penelope is weaving represents how promptly and wisely she manages her circumstance in the house.

These males are benefiting from her hospitality and treating her like some bad beggar female instead of like royalty. Because she is not efficient in battling them out of her house, she utilizes her mind over her muscle to trick them. She unweaves the shroud each night for 3 years, until she is caught, giving Odysseus enough time to come home and take Ithaca back. Obviously, the island of Ithaca means Odysseus’ long awaited homecoming and the final location of his journey.

It is the place where he matures and works his whole life to build a house, a household, and a kingdom. It is likewise the location where he combats so hardly to return. Even when he is used a life of luxury and immortality by the goddess Calypso, he confesses his heart’s desire when he describes to her, “Yet, it holds true, every day I long for house … Let the trial come,” (283 l 228-233). Here he shows he will face any hardship in order to reach Ithaca.

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To do so, he takes a trip for several years by sea, which is, paradoxically, the sign for his odyssey. His journey is filled with so many ups and downs, like the movement of the waves. The trip also seems never ending and filled with various feelings, such as, loss, misery, and in some cases hope. Similarly, the sea itself is vast and deep. The sea likewise symbolizes the superiority of the gods over male. After Odysseus blinds Poseidon’s son, the god uses his weapon, the sea, to exile the man from his home.

Although the other gods are willing to see Odysseus house, the wrath of a single god thwarts his arrival for twenty years. Homer’s use of importance helps the reader get a better understanding of the characters. Not just does he use the characters’ personal products to represent their personalities, but also uses the places where they live and take a trip to represent their desires and challenges. Without these significant signs, the audience would not be able to grasp the full meaning behind the words of this story.

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