How do the literary features that Homer use build up the plot at the Island of Thrinacia?
This essay will talk about a particular section from Book 12 of The Odyssey, written by Homer around 750 – 650 B.C, and translated by Robert Fagles. This passage entails the distressing time that Odysseus and his crew spend on an island called Thrinacia. It is significant to the epic as it generates excitement through the tension between goals and obstacles, which eventually leave Odysseus to endeavour his journey back home alone. This essay will stress on three literary features that dominate the passage and help evoke emotion and depth in the storyline, namely contrast, conflict and theme. These features help contribute to developing Odysseus as a strong willed character throughout the impediments that the crew and the hero encounter.
Homer includes two profoundly diverse tones of restlessness and tranquillity, represented by the crew and Odysseus respectively. This provides a strong sense of contrast that empowers the characters of Odysseus and denigrates the character of his crew. An example of this is: “But for one whole month the South wind blew nonstop/no other wind came up, none but the South-Southeast” (Fagles, L (351) pg. 282). The nature of the wind is compared to the restlessness amongst the crew, to build up a tone of agony and agitation. The wind and crew are both relentless and morbid, which sets an eerie atmosphere of distress and gloom. On the other hand, Odysseus’s passivity, tranquillity and spiritual state of mind are an antithesis, as apparent in the following quote: “ I rinsed my hands in a sheltered spot, a windbreak/but soon as I’d prayed to all the gods who rule Olympus…” (Fagles, L (363) pg. 282). The terms ‘windbreak’ and ‘shelter’ are used to portray a respite and a momentary asylum of calm. Homer includes a transferred epithet “Sweet, sound sleep” (Fagles, L (364) pg. 282) to further intensify the repose and quiet. The edginess...
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