Underworld In The Odyssey

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His Dark Materials also uses ancient myths in order to embellish the story. The myth of Oedipus Tyrannus can be compared to the King Bear, Iofur Rakinson. The myth of Oedipus is well known and referenced by many ancient sources. For example, the myth was referenced within the Odyssey by Homer within Book 11 in which Odysseus met Oedipus’ mother. The most famous source by which we know of the Oedipus myth is Sophocles. The myth is contained in Oedipus Rex in which Tiresias revels to Oedipus that it was himself who killed his father, then married, bedded his mother, and fathered her children. There is a similar story in Northern Lights by Philip Pullman in which Iofur Raknison came across a solitary bear. They had argued and fought, and…show more content…
The underworld in Pullman’s universe contain Harpies, which are creatures taken from Greek myth and will be discussed in the next chapter. Pullman’s underworld also contains all the ghosts of every human, as there is no heaven or hell. This is alluding to The Odyssey. In Book 11 in The Odyssey, Odysseus goes to the land of the dead. Here he meets Agamemnon and other heroes such as Achilles, who “no longer had any inner power or strength, not like the force his supple limbs possessed before”. Achilles states that…show more content…
Pullman uses the myth of Charon and gives his character the same characteristics. Pullman describes Charon as aged beyond age, huddled in a robe of sacking bound with string, crippled and bent, his bony hand crooked permanently around the oar-handles, and his moist pale eyes sunk deep among folds and wrinkles of grey skin. This boatman, too, is frank and harsh in the way he speaks to Lyra when telling her that her daemon cannot come to the underworld with her. He is “indifferent” to the pain that everyone felt when entering the land of the dead and leaving their souls behind. Other works have been influenced by the underworld and Charon, such as Dante’s Inferno. Charon is depicted the same in Dante’s Inferno, a man who refuses to take a living soul on his boat. Dante uses the same trick that Aeneas did and used his guide, Virgil, to get him on the boat. This displays that Charon is generally well known and so Pullman is drawing attention to this character. Pullman does not specifically call Charon by his name and so evidently wants his audience to make the connection of his direct
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