Essay On Symbolism In The Odyssey

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Symbolism is prevalent in the plot for the epic poem The Odyssey, written by Homer, and is found in a variety of objects as well as characters throughout the story. This composition takes place in ancient Greece, with Odysseus, a Greek hero, taking the lead role. The epic consists of him trying to go home after The Trojan War, and event that happened in the prequel to this epic, called The Iliad. Each of the variety of characters in The Odyssey symbolizes a quality that can be discovered in humans, with the author applying social commentary to highlight the outcomes of having said trait.
One example of characters symbolizing a trait in humans is Nausicaa, the princess of the Phaeacians, who clearly represents the Greek value of hospitality. She is a character in the story where her actions and traits all are used to exemplify the human trait that is being hospitable to others. She exhibits this quality when she finds Odysseus in Book 6. With this, she becomes the host of Odysseus in his most desolate state and exemplifies the characteristic for doing so, as Homer writes, “‘Up with you now, friend; back to town we go/ and I shall send you in before my father/ who is wondrous wise; there in our house for him/ you’ll meet the noblest of the Phaeacians/…’”(Homer 6
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Many characters who aid Odysseus in this epic symbolize a trait that is beneficial to the person and their contributions to the others, with the opposite being true. Positive qualities also prove to be beneficial in the standing of respect that the characters receive in the poem. Negative traits become a weakness for the individuals that displays them, leading to their downfall. It is no surprise that in this epic poem, Homer was able to weave in this massive amount of symbolic meaning behind his characters, which would impact literature
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