Oral Commentary On The Odyssey Essay

771 words - 3 pages

This passage is told as a flashback, as Odysseus sits in the palace of the Phaeacians telling the story of his wanderings. Odysseus reluctantly tells his story after King Alcinou notices his weeping during a minstrel, which was about the fall of Troy. So in answer to the King, Odysseus reveals his identity, background and adventures: from Troy, the winds sweep him and his men to Ismarus, city of the Cicones. The men plunder the land and, carried away by greed, refuses to leave until the Cicones turn on them and attack. Odysseus and his crew finally escape, having lost six men per ship.
The point of view changes from third person to first person as Odysseus narrates Books 9–12. These books thus give background not only to Odysseus’s audience but to Homer’s as well. Providing some of the richest and most celebrated examples of Odysseus’s cunning and astute. Instead of the omniscient narrator offering insights into the thoughts of every character, Homer uses Odysseus’s voice to render a more complete picture of the hero’s wanderings. In addition to delivering the plot to the audience, the storying situates the epic in its proper cultural context. Homer constantly evokes the history of The Odyssey through the stories that his characters tell. These stories, however, don’t just provide colourful personal histories. They elevate The Odyssey by reminding its audience of the epic’s rich and mythic tradition.
Homer uses various literary devices, diction and devices of sound, to effectively reflect the hardships during Odysseus’ homecoming journey. Metaphor is used to describe the revenge-seeking Cicones: "'At dawn they were on us, thick as leaves and flowers in spring'" (9. 51-52). The Cicones are being compared to leaves and flowers in the spring, which shows that they are more numerous and therefore has an advantage over the Achaeans. Homer also uses cacophony to describe this losing fight: "'...my doomed companions and me. They fought a pitched battle by the swift ships and exchanged volleys of bronzed spears'" (9.53-54). By combining plosive consonants (doomed, pitched battle, etc.), fricatives (fought, volleys) and sibilants (swift ships, spears), Homer successfully expresses the Cicones as stronger, better and well-trained fighters. Another example of cacophony is when the Achaeans continue to battle with the pitiless sea :...

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