Literary Analysis: The Odyssey And Paradise Lost

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LITERAL ANALYSIS Both The Odyssey and Paradise Lost provide their readers with an excess of complex characters to uncover and explore. As the stories unravel, one is able to look deeper into the characters and their nature, having influence and being influenced by the portrayal of gender. While no one can argue that different individuals will inevitably act and feel differently–especially males and females, particularly in classical literature–there are also many underlying parallels, with there being a semblance to the standard image of gender and the characteristics that come about as a result. Analysis of the Male Characters: Both Paradise Lost and The Odyssey present classical characters that define the male standard. As two of the greatest…show more content…
As a character that–to many–represented Greek mores, Odysseus expresses the traditional male values of his time, through both his nature and his actions. His prowess in battle evokes respect from both the readers and those around him, as seen in his final confrontation with his wife’s suitors. However, Odysseus is admired and well known even more so for his wit and intelligence; his mental capabilities are used more often than his physical ones to get him out of difficulties, such as his crew’s encounter with the cyclops. He is seen to be a “[great] figure–one who can endure without despair even the disfavor of the gods and can by strength of will and the guidance of reason eventually triumph against unbelievable odds” (The Study Club: Odysseus as a Hero). As such, The Odyssey sees him as someone who is able to perfectly balance brains and…show more content…
As one of the most dynamic characters in Paradise Lost, Satan, the main character of the story, exhibits several attributes highly regarded in the seventeenth century. Similar to the men in The Odyssey, Satan expresses a mix of brains and brawn–both of which continued to be held in high regard through the centuries. Though having lost to God and those in heaven, Satan nevertheless proves his physical capabilities through his leadership of the fallen angels and in the war against his Creator. However, like Odysseus, Satan makes use more of his brains, the mental capabilities for which his character has become best known. It is he who devises the plan to “ ‘To waste [God’s] whole creation’ ” and “ ‘Seduce them to our party, that their God / May prove their foe, and with repenting hand / Abolish his own works. This would surpass / Common revenge, and interrupt His joy’ ” (Milton). Out of this, through his wit and wiliness, Satan then goes on to orchestrate one of the most well known schemes in history: the Fall of
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