Poetry and Literary Elements

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The Odyssey, by Homer, is one of the most poetic and vivid verses of its time. Many of

its phrases and stanzas are memorable, but select few stand out above all the rest. They contain

pictorial descriptions, are dramatized, and deal with major situations in the play. These

characteristics combined make an impacting and memorable part of the book. One of these is in

Book 11, lines 233-256. I noted this part because of its strong use of poetic language, and the

many literary elements in it that make it a very striking few stanzas.

Firstly, the part I chose was when Odysseus went to the Kingdom of the Dead and met

his mother. There was a quite a lot of repetition when Odysseus described the time when he

wanted to hold his mother, "...three times she fluttered through my fingers, sifting away like a

shadow, dissolving like a dream..." (Homer 256 lines 236-237). Each of the three times it is

worded differently, but they all essentially imply the same thing. There is alliteration present in

this sentence and there are also similes (Homer says she sifted like a shadow, and that she was

dissolving like a dream). In another part of the stanza, it says, "...and I, I cried out to her..."

(Homer 256 line 238). The repetition of "I" makes this part much more emphatic and dramatic.

Another literary element used is hyperbole, when Homer exaggerates, "‘My son, my son, the

unluckiest man alive!'" (Homer 256 line 247). Lastly, in the last few lines, a metaphor and a

simile are present in the following phrase, "...and the spirit, rustling, flitters away...flown like a

dream..." (Homer 256 lines 252-253). These literary devices are just some of the many used in

the two stanzas.

As one can see, The Odyssey, by Homer, is a book filled with life-like, dramatic, and

memorable scenes. One example of a scene is the one I used in Book 11, lines 233-256. It

contains alliteration, similes, metaphors,...
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