Essay On Symbolism, Imagery And Diction In Homer’s Odyssey

899 words - 4 pages

Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey


During the course of history, the world has seen many fine works of literature like Homer’s epic, Odyssey. This book is a standard against which to compare all literary novels. The symbolism permeates the pages drawing the reader into the intriguing plot that includes twists within the central theme. Also, the author intelligently uses imagery and diction painting dramatic images in the reader's mind - building upon major the themes.


The book contains a captivating use of symbolism making the story more interesting and understandable. This magnetizes the reader into the book. "At the first show of dawn, great Alcinous left his couch, as did that ravager of cities, Odysseus, kinsman of Zeus." (Homer, 79) In this quote, Odysseus is referred to as the kinsman of Zeus who is the supreme god. Here, the word kinsman is used as a symbol to portray Odysseus's strength and bravery. He is so brawny that he has the honour of being called the kinsman of Zeus. Apart from Zeus, there are many other gods mentioned in the book. One can associate each god with some or the other symbol. Zeus announces, "It is Poseidon the world-girdler who is so headily bitter against him..."(6). This quote shows that Poseidon, the god of the sea and earthquakes, is referred to as the world-girdler, which literally means world shaker. Poseidon is given other aliases including earth-shaker, which suit him not only because of his position, but also because of his nature, which is very hot-tempered.


The riveting plot includes deception and unexpected twists within the central theme thus adding interest. After the Trojan War, the veterans returned home to their own land to a hero's welcome. This however was not the case for one. Zeus proclaims furiously, "Just so did Aegisthus exceed when he took to his bed the lawful wife of Atrides and killed her returning husband. He knew the sheer ruin this would entail."(1). Here, the gods are discussing the crime committed by Aegisthus in courting another's wife and then killing Agamemnon upon his return.  The central theme in this book is definitely that of suffering and misery in existence, and there is no other character that knows this better than our hero, Odysseus. Odysseus is kept away from his home for 20 years. Every day, he experiences anguish in some form or the other.


She found him sitting by the water's edge: his eyes as

ever dewed with tears at this ebbing if his precious life

in vain lamentations after deliverance...retching up his

heart with crying and sighs and misery, his gaze fixed

upon the desolate main through a blur of tears. (57)

This quote is from the time Odysseus is trapped on an island by the nymph Calypso for nine years. These powerful words portray clearly the pain...

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