How can one determine a writers feelings about issues by simply reading their literature? Often it seems, one can read more than just the words written on the page. We can read the feeling and emotion the words represent. Homer’s tone in The Odyssey shows his feelings about the past, present, and future of Greece. He portrays Ancient Greece as being overly structured and rigid. He shows the Golden Age he lived in as being perfectly ideal, and balanced. His view of the future predicted chaos, slackness, and confusion. Through particular characters, objects, and settings, he symbolizes accurately these viewpoints to the reader.
Homer used people, objects, and places to symbolize his view of the past. Poseidon was certainly a character Homer used in this symbolization. He represents Ancient Greece as it was-- run by the powerful, unforgiving gods. To show his power, he destroyed the Phaeacian ship which had brought Odysseus safely to Ithaca. “Ah, surely then the ancients are come to pass, told by my father, who said Poseidon was displeased because we were safe guides for all mankind; and he averred the god would wreck a shapely ship of the Phaeacians, returning home from pilotage upon the misty sea, and so would throw a lofty mound around our city” (XII). He perfectly symbolizes the severeness of Ancient Greece. Adding to this view of the former time is the yard of Eumaeus. “He found him sitting in his porch, by which was built a high-walled yard upon commanding ground, a handsome yard and large, with space around”(XIV). This description of the walls symbolizes the past in the way that the past was overly structured and took everything to extremes just like the yard was over pro...
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...y side” (XXII). Each of the suitors were so involved in eating they failed to pay attention even after Odysseus had strung the bow. “The man was in the act to raise his goodly goblet,-- gold it was and double eared,-- and even now guided it in his hands to drink the wine” (XXII). Homer uses the hall and the goblet to represent the destined chaos that was to come.
It is easy for us to read the epic The Odyssey and see Homer’s tone. One can read deeper and see the symbolization he uses for his views of Ancient Greece, the Golden Age, and his predictions for Hellenistic Greece. We can see this throughout the characters, settings, and objects. He obviously believed Ancient Greece was overly structured and strict. The Golden Age was seen by him to be completely ideal. He was slightly scared of the future because to him it looked chaotic and lax.
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