Essay on the Double Meanings of The Odyssey

995 Words Jun 19th, 2018 4 Pages
The Double Meanings of The Odyssey

Throughout Homer's The Odyssey, there are a number of tangible symbols that are used to represent abstract ideas. I would like to suggest that each symbol that Homer uses within The Odyssey has two clear meanings. The double meanings of these symbols are used to represent Odysseus and Telemachus as they strive to meet each other. While each symbol has a meaning that represents the growth of Telemachus, each one also represents, by another meaning, the growth and development of Odysseus. When they meet for the first time, the symbols, and the character traits that they represent confluence, and the resemblance between Odysseus and Telemachus becomes complete.

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Telemachus is unmistakably represented by this type of meaning of the cave. He is sheltered all his life, until he comes closer and closer to meeting Odysseus. Fatherless, his mother has safe-guarded and protected him. However, when he meets his father, the safe-guard is taken off completely and he helps Odysseus take care of the suitors. Focusing back on Odysseus, when he reaches home, his adventures are sure to be over. He will no longer have to withstand the harsh reality that the cave of Polyphemus symbolizes. He becomes more sheltered as Telemachus becomes more exposed by their reunion.

These symbols are used throughout The Odyssey to represent different facets of the characters of Odysseus and Telemachus. Each interpretation of the symbols exemplifies either Odysseus or Telemachus. As the two characters grow and develop, and the father-son reunion occurs, the two meanings converge into one, and Odysseus and Telemachus become more similar.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold , Homer's Odyssey: Edited and with an Introduction, NY, Chelsea House 1988
Heubeck, Alfred, J.B. Hainsworth, et al. A commentary on Homer's Odyssey. 3 Vols. Oxford PA4167 .H4813 1988
Jones, Peter V. Homer's Odyssey : a companion to the translation of

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