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Symbols In Homer's The Odyssey

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An author is able to describe his or her work’s protagonist through the use of several symbols in order to depict a hero and to allow for a greater analysis of a character. Through symbols, characters display multiple traits for the understanding of an audience. For instance, in an epic titled The Odyssey, Homer describes the tale of a hero who attempts to return to his homeland while encountering several dangers. These hindrances serve as symbols that represent several important aspects of epic poems. Thus, the symbols presented in The Odyssey reflect Greek virtues and Odysseus’s journey in addition to allowing for a deeper understanding of his character.

Throughout The Odyssey, several symbols allow for a greater understanding of
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When Odysseus returns home, he encounters Argos, his loyal dog, who was “trained as a puppy by Odysseus / but never taken on a hunt before / his master sailed for Troy… / but he had grown old in his master’s absence” (XVII.1473-7). When Odysseus meets his dog for the first time in over twenty years, he is shocked to realize that his dog has been mistreated and is near death. However, at the very end, Argos is able to reunite with Odysseus before Argos’s death. This symbol parallels Odysseus’s character because both encounter multiple hardships before finally being able to reach their goals, to finally be reunited with their family. Argos was very happy and healthy before being abused by the suitors; similarly, Odysseus was very energetic and joyful before embarking on his long journey back to Ithaca. Argos proves to be important as a symbol when Odysseus returns from his journey because he serves as an indication of the resolution of one’s journey. In addition, upon returning home from his journey, Odysseus reunites with his faithful wife, Penelope. Even though she does not know who Odysseus is when he is disguised as a beggar, she still proves her fidelity to someone who she thought she did not know. This parallels Odysseus’s character because he is still faithful and attempts to return home through his hardships. Both could have been faithless and could have…show more content…
Such symbols used allow for a greater interpretation of Odysseus’s misfortunes, provide development for Odysseus’s character, and reflect Greek values. Symbols in The Odyssey assist to describe Odysseus and allow for a greater analysis of his character. This epic, told by Homer, would not have the same amount of clarity and detail if described without such symbols. Thus, symbols are able to be used in many different ways in order to provide for more detail, to demonstrate a value, or to allow for a greater understanding of a hero’s
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