Essay Greek Mythology

Essay Greek Mythology

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The characters in Greek Mythology can have several different interpretations. Among these characters are the dangerous, yet gorgeous Sirens, bird-women who sit on a cliff singing bewitching songs to captivate the minds of innocent travelers and bring them to their deaths. In Homer’s The Odyssey and Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song,” both poets give different portrayals of the Sirens. Homer believes the Sirens to be irresistible in order to establish men as heroes whereas Atwood depicts them as unsightly and pathetic so she can prove men are foolish and arrogant using imagery, diction, and point of view.
Homer wants the overall portrayal of the Sirens to be intriguing and desirable because he wishes all to consider Odysseus as valiant. Homer describes the effect the Sirens have when Odysseus’ “'heart inside [him throbs] to listen longer,'” proving the Sirens to be seductive (20). The effect of his heart throbbing verifies that Odysseus longs to be with the Sirens, forcing an image of a man struggling against his will in order to be near a beautiful temptress. This suggests that the Sirens are irresistible and cunning because they know that they will be able to trick the men into falling for the Sirens. Odysseus longs to listen to the lovely music more to satisfy his desire to be with the Sirens. In order to both hear the song and stay alive, Odysseus’ men physically “bind [him] faster with rope on chafing rope” (24). The effect that the Sirens have on him is great, and the fact that the rope is irritating his skin shows the effort Odysseus is making to be with the Sirens. Nonetheless, throughout the scene Odysseus attempts to join the Sirens, without realizing the terrible consequences. Since the temptresses are so “ravishing,” it i...


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...n and cannot control how egotistical they are.
Homer believes the Sirens to be beautiful while Atwood portrays them as ugly through imagery, diction, and point of view in order to settle the argument of whether the men are smart or not and if the Sirens are irresistible or just repulsive. The significance of comparing these two pieces is that the reader can see the authors’ two very different interpretations of men and women’s role in their fate. The depiction of women has changed tremendously over time. In the past, woman were blamed for the downfall of men and being temptresses, but now hold high positions of power and are able to vote. Comparing these two pieces gives insight into how to resolve the never ending “Battle of the Sexes.” The answer is to compromise. Homer and Atwood’s portrayal of the Sirens prove that to each their own, interpretation that is.

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