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Numerology In The Odyssey How Numbers Are Used Throughout The Odyssey By Homer And How They All Symbolize Different Events Or Characters In The Book

2410 words - 10 pages

Numerology in The Odyssey"Everything is named or numbered, but few people are conscious of the degree to which names and numbers influence their experience, progress, and communication," declared Juno Jordan, the "grandmother" of numerology (qtd. in Lagerquist and Lenard 4). Numerology, the language of numbers and moreover the study of how they relate to our lives, speaks about the hidden worlds contained within the simplest numbers. Numerology attempts to analyze numerical information, and makes a determination of the implications and associations that these numbers have (Kelly 10). This metaphysical science has its roots in the ancient cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and also has ties to the Hebrew Kabbalah; it has unlocked the mysteries of life for over 2,500 years (Lagerquist and Lenard 3-5). As in everything in our lives, there is a positive and negative side of numbers as well. Each number has a particular vibration and its own "behavior"; hence, the meaning of each number can be looked at in terms of an archetype. Each of the twelve numbers, which a person who studies numerology is required to recognize - numbers One through Nine, plus Eleven, Twenty-Two, and Zero, has its own individual characteristics. Although numerology is often used as a tool for discovering and understanding one's own life and destiny based on numbers in that person's life (such as their birthday and the letters of their name), authors have certainly used numerological principles in composing literary works. Numbers, used to create several effects on readers, help to paint a detailed image of the situations, challenges, and characters that words alone cannot reveal. Homer, in his renowned book, The Odyssey, seems to also use this technique; his usage of numbers throughout the book helps to provide a further description of his characters and the situations which they are faced with.The number twenty represents knowledge coming from past experiences that is to be projected in the future (Heyss 33). Homer many times uses this number so that readers will understand how certain events in the past will play a role or be associated with the conclusion of the novel and the future of Odysseus journey, which in fact took him twenty years to complete. Homer tells of past experiences such as that of Agamemmnon's return home to create a paradigm - a model to which the story of Odysseus and Telemachos may be compared. In this story, Agisthos, choosing twenty of the best fighting men, sets up an ambush and sets off to welcome Agamemnon, killing him (Homer 4.530-535). This precedent scene is important because it allows readers to begin to foresee and understand what will happen when either Telemachos or Odysseus returns home. Surely enough, as the novel continues, Antinoos chooses out the twenty best men from among the suitors and they go out to the water to wait in ambush and plan out the murder of Telemachos upon his return to Itaka (Homer 4.778-785). Homer also makes use of...

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