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The Metaphor of the Dawn in The Odyssey
Throughout Odysseus' journey, the metaphor of the dawn symbolizes his odyssey from immaturity, maturity, and fulfillment. The progression of Odysseus' development of strength is like the development of day, from dawn to dusk. The epithet, "rosy-fingered dawn" marks the beginning of Odysseus' odyssey. After his journey, the epithets "gold-throned dawn" and "bright-throned dawn" replace the "rosy-fingered dawn" however, after Odysseus returns home from his journey, he plans to rid his house of suitors, and the "rosy-fingered dawn" returns. After accomplishing the destruction of the suitors, finally, the "gold-throned dawn" replaces the "rosy-fingered dawn"
In the beginning of Odysseus' journey, the "rosy-fingered dawn" (10) is referred to as a fresh and young beginning of whatever is to come. It also resembles the hardships of a journey in the future, symbolizing his state of immaturity and lack of experience. This shows how the development of day is like Odysseus' development of strength, by addressing the symbolism of "rosy-fingered dawn," possibly symbolizing Odysseus' present state of youth and immaturity.
The "rosy-fingered dawn" returns once again, as a new obstacle is introduced. When the "rosy-fingered dawn" (162) returns, another obstacle of Odysseus' is sure to come. For example, right before Odysseus attempts to rid his home of suitors, the day is begun with the "rosy-fingered dawn." In a way, this foreshadows obstacles to come. This example introduces the relation between Odysseus' strength and the metaphor of the dawn.
Odysseus, during the beginning of his odyssey, is known as a young leader with educational experiences yet to come. Odysseus is referred to as this when "...none remember[ed] princely Odysseus among the people who he ruled..." (14). He is presented here as an inexperienced leader, which supports the theory of the "rosy-fingered dawn" This shows how young Odysseus is related to the "rosy-fingered dawn," and how "old" Odysseus, at the end of his odyssey, is related to the "gold" and "bright-throned dawn". These similes foreshadow another obstacle, now that this idea has come up, supporting the element of strength is like the development of day, as stated in the thesis statement.
When Odysseus returns home from his long journey, the "rosy-fingered dawn" is replaced by the "bright-throned dawn" (151). This symbolizes the accomplishments of his numerous obstacles because the term "bright" symbolizes and accomplished tasks, such as Odysseus' return home.
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"Gold" in general symbolizes wealth, maturity, strength, and power. The "gold-throned dawn" (147) and the "bright-throned dawn" (151) reflect on Odysseus himself after an accomplishment of his. Odysseus is referred to as golden throughout his adventures, relating him to the metaphor of the dawns.The "gold" and "bright-throned dawns" are proven to relate to Odysseus as he is referred to as "...long-tried royal Odysseus..." (62) often throughout the story. "Long-tried" and "royal" relate to "gold-throned" because these both symbolize Odysseus' present strength, wealth, experience, and success. This supports the theory that the dawns relate to Odysseus in various ways, such as his accomplishments and fulfillment.
Odysseus' accomplishments throughout his journey fulfill his odyssey. Fulfillment is shown when "So saying, royal Odysseus crossed the threshold..." (124). This quotation is a sign of the end of Odysseus' odyssey. This relates Odysseus' fulfillment to the metaphor of the dawns because the "gold-throned dawn" is present when this epithet is addressed in the story.
Throughout his journey, Odysseus is related to the sun. When "the sun sank" (124), this symbolized the end of Odysseus' journey. The sinking of the sun represents the final conclusion of his odyssey. The end of a day is perceived as an old accomplished obstacle, while the beginning of a day is perceived as a fresh, new start, full of unpredictable possibilities, relating Odysseus again, to the dawns. This is the mark of the end, and possibly the beginning of another odyssey, possibly foreshadowing another switch of the metaphoric dawns.
Odysseus seems as if he can control the sun in the epic simile, "As a man longs for supper whose pair of tawny oxen all day long have dragged the jointed plough through the fresh field; gladly for him the sunlight sinks and sends him home to supper; stiff are his knees for walking; so gladly for Odysseus sank the sun," (124). Odysseus, like the exhausted farmer, is pleased that the end of the day is near, representing fulfillment of the Odyssey and also representing the symbolic relationship between the metaphor of the dawns and the progression Odysseus' strength and fulfillment.
In conclusion, the metaphor of the dawn symbolizes Odysseus, throughout his odyssey. The stages of immaturity, maturity, and fulfillment portray the different dawns. All of this progression shows how Odysseus gains his strength after accomplishing his obstacles. In terms, this also shows how the metaphor of the dawns progress, showing symbolism between Odysseus and the dawn.