The Odyssey and Propaganda

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“Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid as Propagandistic Literature”

Propaganda is a powerful social tool that influences audiences through manipulation and selective viewpoints and has been witnessed in history as far back as written records exist. It has been used to sanction the rise of new leaders, herald a society and its dominance, and push ideological agendas to audiences of all backgrounds throughout civilizations. The methods that propaganda has been used are numerous and include both written and spoken forms of communication to reach the audience. Literature is not exempt from the use of propaganda and Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s The Aeneid are two historical sources where it can be found. The propaganda seen in these texts share similarities and differences which can be compared and contrasted and include the values of the societies they represent, the destinies of the heroes and what each represents to the society, and how the backgrounds of the creators influence what occurs in the story with emphasis on politics and traditions.

The Odyssey shares similar propaganda to The Aeneid, although it is not as immediately apparent given the historical backgrounds that led to the creation of each, in regards to the political and social changes being experienced around the time The Aeneid was written. The type of propaganda that is emphasized in The Odyssey is based around the dominance and traditions of Ancient Greek society and culture, the necessity of honoring the gods and goddesses, and maintaining virtues that are universal throughout society while emphasizing the importance of the individual. It is demonstrated through the journey of Odysseus, which begins with the Trojan War and follows with each adventure that he experiences on his return to Ithaca, ending on a message of the importance of homecoming when he reaches the shores of his island.

The dominance of Ancient Greek society is displayed immediately in the backstory of how the...
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