Essay Dramatic Irony in the Odyssey

1376 WordsMay 13, 20136 Pages
Authors use many literary devices in order to heighten and enhance their works. Dramatic irony, expressions to complementary attitudes understood by the audience but not the characters, can make the emotions stronger in literature. Homer is one of many authors who used this technique well. In The Odyssey, Homer uses dramatic irony in order to enhance the emotional effect of crucial moments in the storyline, especially during the journey of Telemachus, the initial return of Odysseus, and the restoration of Odysseus to his rightful place in the kingdom. During Telemachus’ journey to find his father, Homer includes dramatic irony through Athena’s relationship to the situation which creates a confused mood. After being prompted by Athena,…show more content…
Dramatic irony also emphasizes a dolent mood during the return of Telemachus from his journey. When Odysseus returns home to Ithaca, Athena goes to Telemachus to retrieve him from Sparta. Athena says, “You must take leave of Menelaos, if you want to find your dear mother still in your house; for her father and brothers are urging her to marry Eurymachos” (169). Athena tells Telemachus that his mother is going to marry Eurymachos. Athena does this as if she is fishing and the story about Telemachus’ mother is the bait; Telemachus is very intrigued by the bait and goes after it, falling into Athena’s well-thought out trap. The reader knows that the reason Athena wants Telemachus to come back is because Odysseus is soon arriving in Ithaca; therefore, dramatic irony is created when Telemachus is never let in on this information that the reader now knows. Homer uses Athena to create dramatic irony to get Telemachus to rush home to stop the marriage, because if Telemachus was told the truth he might not be a eager to get home, since his father had been away for so much of his life. Homer wanted the audience to know more so that they were not confused about Telemachus’ mother getting married for it was a lie. This created a dolent mood because the reader realizes the absence of truth in Athena’s message. The lack of truths make the reader feel sorrowful that Telemachus does not know the truth
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