Rebirth In The Odyssey Poem: The Odyssey Homer Summary: This Essay Deals With Odysseus' Figurative Rebirths From Kalypso's Island, And As He Tells His Story To The Phaikians.

934 words - 4 pages

In most cultures, death signifies the utter separation of the psyche and soma; it is entirely sacred and irreversible. Most societies see defiance of death's essential element ¯ its finality ¯ as supernatural phenomena. However, the concept of rebirth is essential to most literature symbolizing the growth and change of a character. Gabriel Garcia Marquez states that, "humans are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, ... life obliges them over and over to give birth to themselves," illustrating the very nature of figurative rebirth. In Homer's The Odyssey, the gods, circumstances, and even himself, reinvent the homesick Odysseus through emotional, spiritual, and mental renaissance along his tumultuous journey home.It must be assumed that to regain life, life must be lost in one way or another; rebirth is meaningless if the need to acquire newness and life is nonexistent. The reader first finds Odysseus confined to the island of Ogygia, dead to both his captor and the rest of his world. Kalypso, has concealed him in her immortal clutches, shrouding his existence from the human world. Odysseus haunts the shore in the daylight scanning the "bare horizon of the sea." Ironically, Kalypso's island, full of luxuries beyond a mere mortal's imagination, brimming with exotic life to tempt the eye, comforting to any wandering man, is the very core of Odysseus's emotional death. Lifeless on a fantasy isle, Odysseus must be reborn to reunite with a human reality. To defy fate's final decree was a near impossibility in Greek Mythology. To attempt escape from the ultimate shears of the third sister required specific and arduous guidelines, such as those levied on the poet Orpheus, by the gods. Bowing to the all-powerful Fates, even Zeus shied from reversing their decisions. Given the immense difficulty of physical rebirth, there is an understood struggle in figurative rebirth as well - the transformed must truly achieve his awakening. Odysseus is allowed leave from his crypt provided he leaves alone to brave the winedark seas on an inadequate raft. The new life of hope already taking root in his heart, he sets sail with faith. Here in the oceanic womb, his new hope is tested to its limits. Poseidon batters the tiny vessel in brute anger leaving a ragged Odysseus clinging to the last shards of Kalypso's craft. Here, Ino, the Nereid, offers her shawl as salvation from impending doom, but Odysseus, still unable to let loose the last remnants of death, questions the integrity of her offer. Although he truly wants life, the green mortality of the nymph's island has instilled a subconscious fear of reentering his own world. Finally, as the symbol of his maturation, he flings...

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