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Odysseus’ Struggle Against the Sea in Homer’s Odyssey

The Greek’s conception of the universe was anchored in the ever presence of the sea and they imagined the farthest limits of the earth to be a wide expanse of water. While enabling them to be a sea-faring people, the ocean also forced them to face the constant threat of becoming shipwrecked and dying at sea. In face of the threat posed by the sea, the Greeks sought to demonstrate that the forces of nature must be endured by man, and more importantly, that these forces must also be overcome by his efforts, his action, and his intelligence.

In Homer’s Odyssey, it is upon the medium of the sea that Odysseus faces his most dehumanizing struggles. At the onset of the epic, it is set forth that it is upon the ocean that Odysseus’ struggle takes place. “On the ocean he [Odysseus] suffered many pains within his heart,/ Striving for his life.” (1.4-5) His fight against the sea is literally a struggle against Poseidon. Odysseus must undergo such strife for many years at sea, for “all the gods pitied him,/ Except Poseidon, who contended unremittingly/ With godlike Odysseus, till the man reached his own land.” (1.19-20). Poseidon pursues him with relentless malice for he remains “enraged about the Cyclops whom [Odysseus] blinded in the eye,/ Godlike Polyphemos, who possesses the greatest strength/ Of all Cyclopes. The nymph Thoosa gave him birth,/ The daughter of Phorcys, ruler over the barren sea,/ In hollow caves, after she had lain with Poseidon.” (1.67-73)

Poseidon ensures that his element becomes a constant threat and obstacle to Odysseus because Odysseus not only blinded Polyphemos but also because he had the audacity to boast about it. Poseidon’s curse is a desire…

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…the obstacles of the sea can be overcome for in reality, the sea is forever encroaching upon the sands of civilization.

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 Richmond Lattimore. Carbondale, IL : Southern Illinois University Press, c1988. PA4167 .J66 1988

Peradotto, John , Odysseus’ Struggle in the Odyssey, Princeton UP 1997

Stanford, William Bedell. Homer’s Odyssey. 2 Vols. Macmillan

Thalmann, William G., The Odyssey : an epic of return. New York : Twayne Publishers. PA4167 .T45 1992

Tracy, Stephen V., The story of the Odyssey. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1990. PA4167 .T7 1990

Theme of Death in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

Theme of Death in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a tragic tale of a Southern aristocrat, Miss Emily Grierson, who is the subject of a town’s obsession. The narrator, a member of the town, tells the story of what transpires in a decaying old Southern house that is always under the watchful eye of the townspeople. They witness Miss Emily’s life, her father’s death, her turn to insanity and the death of both her and her lover. The theme of death runs throughout this tale, which is understandable considering the events that take place in the story. Faulkner uses foreshadowing to foretell events that will transpire later in the story. Because of this foreshadowing, a reader may not be shocked when a strange turn in the story occurs, because, it may seem familiar to him. Faulkner’s first use of foreshadowing begins with the death of Miss Emily. The main character does not usually die in the first sentence of most works of fiction, but here Faulkner is foretelling the deaths of other characters that will follow. The reader will learn more about Emily’s life and death as the story unfolds.

Emily is only described when she is late in her life and then only as being like a “skeleton” in an “obese” body and looking “bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water”. Here, Faulkner is using simile in his description of Emily to foreshadow the skeletal remains of Homer, her lover, who is found dead later. Miss Emily is not seen for years after the disappearance of Homer. When she is finally seen, she is described as being fatter than before and with her hair beginning to turn gray. Her hair continues to turning gray until it becomes “pepper and s…

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…s to see Miss Emily. Faulkner has also foreshadowed Homer’s death by the smell of death that arises from the Emily’s house. Faulkner has now foreshadowed all the events that await poor Homer. The townspeople comment that “That was the last we saw of Homer Barron”. The most shocking event that transpires is when the townspeople find Homer’s body lying in Emily’s bed they also find one of Emily’s gray hairs on the pillow next to him. This is foreshadowed when Emily’s dead body is found with “her gray head propped up on a pillow yellow and moldy with age and lack of sunlight”. Even in death Miss Emily was herself foreshadowed from the first line of the story.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. By Carl E. Bain, Jerome Beaty, and J. Paul Hunter. New York: W. W. Norton

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