Juxtaposition In The Odyssey

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Juxtaposition implies comparison and contrast. Juxtaposition occurs when two objects are placed side by side with contrasting effects. Achilles and Elpenor share several superficial similarities. Achilles and Elpenor are among the deceased. They were buried among the living until their souls traveled to the underworld. Their souls drift around in the dreary, and the dull underworld for eternity. They reside in a place where no action occurs, and no one can obtain glory. Therefore, in the underworld, Achilles and Elpenor achieve the same amount of glory. Both are comrades of Odysseus and when Odysseus travels to the underworld, Achilles and Elpenor ask Odysseus a favor. Elpenor asks Odysseus not to “sail off / and desert” him, “left behind unwept,…show more content…
Achilles dies a noble death fighting with his fellow Achaeans, whereas Elpenor dies a shameful death. During the Trojan War, Achilles dies honorably in combat, while the drunk Elpenor falls off Circe’s roof, resulting in a broken neck. Throughout their life’s, Achilles attains the maximum amount of glory, while Elpenor achieves only a small portion of Achilles’ glory. Achilles, a man who is “honored” as “a god” (11.551), is buried with an impressive reputation and becomes the ruler of the dead. On the other hand, Elpenor begs Odysseus to give him a proper funeral. Elpenor wants Odysseus to mark his grave with his oar. When Odysseus talks to Achilles, Achilles states that he would rather live a simple life on Earth instead of ruling the dead. Achilles would prefer to be forgotten and alive rather than dead and remembered. He believes that death is death and there is no glory in dying as he tells Odysseus not to speak “winning words about death” (11.555) to him. Achilles believes that Odysseus should live life instead of achieving immortal kleos and die. However, Elpenor is fine with dying, but he wants “men … to learn” (11.85) of his story. Odysseus calls Elpenor an “unlucky friend” (11.88) as “pity touched” (11.61) Odysseus’ heart. However, Odysseus characterizes Achilles as the “greatest of Achaeans” (11.542). Odysseus calls Achilles and Elpenor two…show more content…
During Ancient Greece, the value of Kleos or glory is equivalent to fame and honor. Kleos is separated into two different aspects which incorporate war stories and privileges in the underworld. The people of Ancient Greece tell and recollect the war stories of Achilles, Odysseus, and Ajax during the Trojan War. The souls that achieve glory during life are given privileges in the underworld. Greek culture is notorious for hero worship. Hero worship is the excessive admiration of a historical figure who played a major role in an important battle. Upon departing for Troy, Achilles receives a prophecy. It states that if he goes to Troy, he will obtain immortal glory and die. However, if he stays home, he will live a prolonged life, but his name will disappear. Achilles’ prophecy is fulfilled when he dies and gains immortal glory. After his death, Achilles contradicts the ideal of dying honorably and obtaining kleos. Achilles states that he would rather “slave on earth for another man--/some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive --/ than rule down here over all the breathless dead” (11.555-558). Achilles believes that life is more precious than immortal glory. Achilles contradicts the supreme value of kleos in the Iliad. Initially, he once believed that glory was more much important than life. However, after he reflects on his life in the underworld, he

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