So Enchanting, Yet so Deadly: The Sirens Essay

Decent Essays

What if there is something so irresistible that all resolve is lost? The Sirens are a group of women who sing a song so captivating that ships are constantly lured to their island. They are often rendered as birds with the head of a woman. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his men must pass the island of the Sirens in order to return to Ithaca, their homeland. In order to prevent his men from jumping overboard towards the enchanting song, Odysseus plugs his men’s ears with wax, and then he is tied down and listens to the song. The song compels Odysseus head towards the island, but his obedient men ignore his hysterical cries. Another portrayal of the Sirens is in a poem by Margaret Atwood entitled “Siren Song.” The poem lures the reader in …show more content…

Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” and Homer’s Odyssey are told by two completely different speakers. Atwood uses a Siren to tell her story, and Homer uses the hero Odysseus as his speaker. Because the point of view is first person, the pieces are going to be biased. The Sirens are going to be partial towards themselves. The Siren makes the audience feel significant by telling them, “I will tell the secret to you / to you, only to you … Help me! / Only you … can,” (Atwood 19-20, 22-23). The Siren speaks like she is sweet, innocent, and helpless, when in actuality, she is not. She converses in a way to make someone think she needs help, and that person is the only one who can aid her. In the same way, Odysseus speaks in a biased tone. As his ship and crew pass the Sirens’ island, he says, “the Sirens … burst into their high, thrilling song … they sent their ravishing voices out across the air …” (Homer 11, 12, 19). The way Odysseus talks here shows the Sirens are very desirable and tempting. He wants to travel to the island, but he cannot because he knows he will perish. Odysseus and the Siren both present biased stories, but, this favoritism creates mind movies. Although Homer and Atwood use different tones and point of view, they utilize the same sense for imagery – sight. Homer applies the eyes when Odysseus is passing the island:
I signaled the crew with frowns to set me free – they flung themselves at the oars and rowed on

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