Derek Walcott's Omeros

1160 Words5 Pages
Structurally, Walcott creolizes the epic genre and makes it his own. Homeric epics deal with battles and honor, which reflects the culture of the Ancient Greeks. Walcott is doing the same; he is reflecting the experience of the new empowered people of the receding empire and telling the struggle of his own tribe. The reader often comes across a reference that resonates with something read in the classic epics, and it would be unfair for Walcott to expect the reader to refrain from these associations and allusions made in the text. By Walcott expressing the struggles for identity in the Caribbean in Omeros, he is also expressing the hybridity of the islands by these associations. The names Walcott decides to use in his epic does not…show more content…
The chains have been released as his tribal shame dissolves into the bath. The narrator says, “The bow leapt back to the palm of the warrior. / The yoke of the wrong name lifted off his shoulders” (49.2.1-2). Philoctete is just as powerful as the Greek Philoctetes as he will yield the bow of Heracles to kill Paris, which ends the Trojan War. Philoctete serves as a vessel in delivering his people from oppressive colonial wounds. Achille represents the plight of loss not only over Helen, but loss of his identity since he experiences the amnesia that has cut him off of his cultural roots. Achille experiences the results of colonialism, which leaves many rootless. His quest is not only to win Helen, but also to reconnect with his ancestors in order to gain his rightful space in his home St. Lucia. While Achille’s odyssey of self-identification begins he is fishing and finds himself out at sea where “the nameless bones of all his brothers / drowned in the crossing” (24.2.33-34). Here, Walcott points to all the slaves that died while being transported to the Caribbean and like them Achille feels nameless and lost at sea. Walcott writes, “A gull / screeched whirling backwards, and it was the tribal / sorrow that Philoctete could not drown with
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