The Odyssey By Robert Fitzgerald And Robert Fagles

Good Essays

Telemachus has finally completed his death-defying, long-enduring expedition, and has returned to Ithaca. In Homer’s The Odyssey, the house of Eumaeus is the first place Telemachus approaches, once he arrives on shore. Two interpretations put forth by Robert Fitzgerald and Robert Fagles lead to different portrayals of Eumaeus. Fagles’ translation initially lays out the idea that Eumaeus is the father figure Telemachus never had for the first two decades of his life, whereas Fitzgerald’s sets the undertone to a Eumaeus that is an incredibly loyal and loving servant. However, there is an interesting twist, as we simultaneously see these initial ideas flip. Fitzgerald’s Eumaeus expresses his emotions in a more endearing manner—seeming evermore like the father, and Fagles’ Eumaeus becomes more distant, and turns his attention towards the suitors’ and Penelope—seeming evermore like a servant. This is explicitly seen throughout the passage as both translations use forms of imagery, syntax, enjambments/end-stopped lines, diction, and a few smaller devices intermittent throughout such as a polysyndeton and a metaphorical synecdoche to focus on the interaction between Eumaeus and Telemachus. Fitzgerald’s translation continuously leaves fingerprints of evidence throughout the epic that Eumaeus was vital to Telemachus’ upbringing, ultimately leading to a transformation of son into father; whereas Fagles indicates that Eumaeus had no part in the upbringing of Telemachus, giving us

Get Access