Topics: Greek mythology, Tragedy, Orpheus Pages: 20 (6158 words) Published: January 25, 2014
Charon's Cosmology
Charon's Cosmology
What does the poem mainly discuss?
Death. The poet uses an allusion of Charon to discuss about death. What does the poet mean by “swift, cold, and deep” in the last line? What is swift, cold, and deep? The River Styx.
This poem is about death. The last line can also be interpreted as the description of death. Death is like a river. River of no return
Death is swift. What does it mean?
You don’t know when you’re going to die. It might happen so suddenly that you don’t have time to prepare for it. Death is cold. What does it mean?
Obviously your body turns cold when you die. Also cold here represents the bitterness and cruelty of life. Some may find death heartbreaking and cruel. Death is deep. What does it mean?
Morpheus, the god of Dream, and Hypnos, the god of Sleep dwell in the underworld. In literary interpretation, when talking about sleep it can sometimes be interpreted as being dead. The expression “to have a deep sleep” can be related to the word “deep” in this poem that it’s actually talking about death as well.

What do a crust of bread and a sausage symbolize?
They’re food. Things we eat, enjoy, and can’t live without but when we die, these things (also food) are not important. Anything you do or possess on earth doesn’t matter anymore when you’re dead. Charon will throw them into the dark river. How about a book? What does it symbolize?

It symbolizes wisdom. Whether you’re smart or stupid, you will die. You cannot escape death by wisdom or knowledge. How about a mirror?
The mirror symbolizes physical appearance or beauty. Beauty is nothing when you’re dead. Both pretty and ugly people have to die someday. No one can avoid death. Theme
What is the theme of this poem?
Death is definite, quick, and cruel. No one can avoid it. Whether you’re beautiful, or ugly, or wise, or stupid, or rich, or poor, you all will die. Tone
What is the tone of the poem?
It seems like Charon’s job is dull. He ferries the boat back and forth for eternity. It’s a never-ending job. The tone of this poem is monotonous and unexciting.
The restriction of using any punctuation in the poem is to highlight the tone of the poem. No pause. No excitement. Every line is in the same monotonous tone.

Mythological Allusion
What are the differences between Charon from the myth and Charon from the poem? Charon in the myth ferries the souls of the dead, while Charon in the poem ferries corpses. Why corpses, not souls?
Perhaps “corpses” represents something lifeless and tedious which perfectly fits the tone of the poem. What else? What are other differences you can find?

The Gift of Athena
•An explanation of how the city Athens has its name and its symbol, the olive tree •What is the meaning of the olive tree?
•It’s the sign of peace and plenty, of health and strength, and the pledge of happiness and freedom. •The origin of the first horse
•The myth emphasizes that Greeks prefer art and knowledge to war.

Europa and Cadmus
•The explanation of how the continent Europe came into being •The beginning of the famous tragedy Oedipus the King
•How the city Thebes originated
The Use of Europa Myth
•In the article “Europa and the bull: The significance of the myth in modern Europe” from the website, Sarah Dejaegher has summarized 3 versions that the myth of the abduction of Europa has been used as a political tool in Europe. •1. The rape of Europa: Europa or Europe in this version is conveyed as a weak victim of the bull. While the bull is represented as the oppression of Nazi. •2. The seduction of Europa: After World War II this interpretation of the myth has been used in order to portray how America helped Europe to get through their unfortunate and calamitous time. Here the bull is America who leads the weak and ruined Europe, Europa, to her prosperous future. •3. The transition of Europa: Europa in this interpretation is changed from the...
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