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The Odyssey Overview

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jul 05, 2004

One of the most famous works from the early Greek era is Homer’s The Odyssey. It details the journey home of a war hero, Odysseus. His homecoming entails many adventures, many of them carrying reflective themes. The Sirens are one episode that he must overcome. This episode contains many prevalent themes that are repeated throughout the work. Though the varied episodes differ in terms of characters and settings, most are based on similar patterns of plot and theme. The themes that are most emphasized are forgetfulness, a willingness to risk pain for pleasure, and female temptation. When comparing the Sirens episode with much of Odysseus’ other adventures, one can observe an emergence and repetition of these themes. The most obvious comparison that can be drawn between the Sirens episode and most other adventures is the theme of forgetfulness. The same idea is repeated in Odysseus’ adventures with Calypso, Circe, and most importantly the Lotus-eaters. The Sirens are all knowing, and draw men in with their songs about all that has happened in the world, but all those who stop to listen can never leave. Fortunately, the Sirens are unable to draw Odysseus in because he has been forewarned by Circe and knows how to resist. "but melt wax of honey and with it stop your companions’ ears, so none can listen." (12.47-48) Once he hears their song, he forgets about his homeland and wants to be set free so that he can listen to their song. "fastened me with even more lashings and squeezed me tighter." (12.196) Without Circe’s warning, he would have been drawn into the song and perished. The food of the Lotus-eaters, like the song of the Sirens, causes those who eat it to forget everything they know. Those who ate the fruit had to be bound to the ship, like Odysseus must be tied to the mast in order to bypass the Sirens. "took these men back weeping, by force…put them aboard…tied them there fast" (9.98-99) There are not only thematic similarities but also plot repetitions between the Sirens and Lotus-eaters episodes. Yet, one main difference is evident. Here Odysseus does not receive advice from anyone, rather he passes the challenge through wit and luck. Though Odysseus managed to avoid being tied into the web of the Sirens and the Lotus-eaters, he loses much time with both Calypso and Circe. Circe also draws men in with...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   07/05/2004

Category:   The Odyssey

Length:   7 pages (1,488 words)

Views:   11723

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