The Metaphor of the Dawn in the Odyssey
Throughout Odysseus' journey, the metaphor of the dawn can be interpreted in relation to his journey to maturity and fulfillment in character and accomplishment. The progression of Odysseus' development of strength and character parallels the development of day, from dawn to dusk. Also, the writer's progressive changes in the descriptions for the Dawn are symbolic of Odysseus' rising maturity level as the story unfolds. The epithet, "rosy-fingered dawn" marks the beginning of Odysseus' odyssey. During and after his homecoming, the "gold-throned dawn" and "bright-throned dawn" replace the "rosy-fingered dawn," symbolizing the end of Odysseus' hardships, his accomplishments, and his development into wisdom and full strength of character. Initially, the idea that Odysseus, a fully grown Greek man, could go through a process of maturation seems almost ludicrous. What is truly ludicrous, however, is the idea that a man could go through all of the trials Odysseus encounters and not be changed. This discussion of Odysseus' journey to maturity, then, it is certainly not in terms of a child maturing into adulthood, rather, it outlines how Odysseus becomes a wiser, more polished, and fulfilled adult character, and how the metaphor of the dawn parallels this journey in multiple ways. At the very beginning of Odysseus' journey, the "rosy-fingered Dawn" is referenced. This is an image of youth and a fresh beginning for whatever is to come. It somewhat foreshadows the hardships of the journey ahead, symbolizing a state of immaturity and naivety. This symbolism of "rosy-fingered Dawn" parallels Odysseus' initial state of youth and immaturity at the outset of his journey. During the beginning of his journey, Odysseus is a young leader lacking in experience. He is even referred to as such: "...none remember[ed] princely Odysseus among the people who he ruled..." He is not called "kingly" or "great," but "princely." This gives an...
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