The Odyssey Translations Essay
The Odyssey is an epic poem, written in classical Greek, describing Odysseus's adventures in his ten year attempt to return to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Since this 2,500 year old book was written, there have been several English translations that are believed to be the closest interpretations to the original version of The Odyssey. Alexander Pope, Emile V. Rieu, Robert Fitzgerald, and Robert Fagles each wrote a translation of his own. These translations are read and studied most often. Out of all these, Fitzgerald has the finest translation out of the four writers because his interpretation shows the most intriguing diction and an impeccable use of sensory imagery.
Diction is defined as the choice and use of words and phrases in writing. Fitzgerald keeps his work easy to understand, but adds picturesque words to “paint” the action for his readers. Three lines from the following excerpt explain how Odysseus and his men are feeling after witnessing two of their men being eaten by Kyklops, a beast: “We cried aloud, lifting our hands to Zeus, powerless, looking on at this, appalled; but Kyklops went on filling up his belly with man flesh…” This shows how mortified Odysseus and his men are. It astonishes them how a huge beast can and will devour two of their companions without hesitation. The key word that convinces the reader that Odysseus and his men are in true agony is the word, “powerless”. It shows that it would be an impossible task to try and save the men from being eaten, and the men just have to stand and watch in anguish. Fagles phrases this situation with a different wording: “We flung our arms to Zeus, we wept and cried aloud, looking on at his grisly work—paralyzed, appalled.” Although this brings the message of how Odysseus and his men are shocked, Fagles does not portray how miserable the men are as well as Fitzgerald does. Although he uses the words “paralyzed” and “appalled”, Fagles does not create the full...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document