The Odyssey vs. Siren Song

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Mónica Callava
February 9, 2010
Mrs. Pedroso Period 2
The Odyssey vs. Siren Song

Some people have one inanimate object in their lives that they find so enticing that they are incapable of withstanding. One object that lures them into a deep trap not giving them any chance to resist. In Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” as well as Homer’s The Odyssey the one inanimate object all men cannot seem to resist is a Siren calling them in. In “Siren Song” we see a portrayal of this irresistible lure by one Siren’s song as merely a taunting boredom, while in The Odyssey the Siren is seen as a toxic desire. Both these poems portray these characteristics of the Siren through point of view, tone, and imagery.

Homer’s The Odyssey is a narration told by Odysseus, King of Ithaca, at sea on his way back home from the Trojan War. Odysseus was a man esteemed by his clever ideas. He felt he was confident that he could overcome the Siren and her call to him and be the first man ever to have lived through the Siren’s call. He had his crew put beeswax in their ears and tie him down so they couldn’t hear the Siren’s lure and be tempted to steer in towards her direction. Odysseus tells us “The heart inside me throbbed to listen longer.” By saying this Odysseus shows us how seductive and tempting the Siren was. In Margaret Atwood’s poem “Siren Song” the Siren herself is telling us about her life. She says her song is not to deceive anyone, but merely a cry for help. The Siren tells us “This song is a cry for help: Help me!” This shows how the Siren does not enjoy her life and that she wants help getting out.

The Siren’s tone in both The Odyssey and “Siren Song” is both confident and manipulative. The Siren uses flattering to seduce the men to come closer to her. In The Odyssey the Siren flatters Odysseus by calling him “famous Odysseus.” She seduces him by telling him to come closer, cause once he does he will be “a wiser man.” Using flattering to seduce Odysseus shows how...
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