Homer’s epic tale The Odyssey is a story of the triumphs and downfalls that are in store for one warrior’s long pillage home. Odysseus, the hero from the Trojan wars, has led his people of Ithaca and other Achaean soldiers to victory and now wishes to return home to his wife and family of Ithaca. Through his twenty year journey Odysseus is often tested not only of his physical strength, but his wits as well. The many accomplishments he achieved earned him great status and recognition throughout ancient Greece. The mistakes he made caused the deaths of many men. Consequently, we as readers are able to see the many personas that Odysseus carries with him.
Odysseus possesses every attribute that Homeric Greeks admire. He displays loyalty, piety, manly valor and intelligence. We see Odysseus’s loyalty in book one. Odysseus has won the Trojan War, and has been trapped on the island of Ogygia with the beautiful nymph Calypso. For ten years, Odysseus longed to return home to his wife Penelope, despite the attractions set up by Calypso. Never once did he accept his fate on the enchanting island. Odysseus’ loyalty to Penelope is also at hand in the following:
Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, man of exploits,
still eager to leave at once and hurry back
to your own home, your beloved native land?
Good luck to you, even so. Farewell!
But if you only knew, down deep, what pains
are fated to fill your cup before you reach that shore,
you’d stay right here, preside in our house with me
and be immortal. Much as you long to see your wife,
the one you pine for all your days … POETRY VERSION (BOOK 4)
This quote states the…
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…estraint is also evident in the brutal attacks of Melanthius and Antinous. Melanthius kicking the lowly disguised Odysseus, and Antinous’ blow to Odysseus with a stool. At first instinct one would fight back, especially with the strength and agility of Odysseus. Nevertheless Odysseus restrains and knows that a premature revealimg of his true identity would ruin the future plans in store for the total take over of his palace. So, just as any other beggar would react, the mighty Odysseus bows his head and walks back to the hut, with visions of the soon to be victory in his head.
Looking at Odysseus in whole, the strength intelligence, arrogance, and cunning restraint stand out above all creating a truly powerful and courageous leader.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998.
The Style, Technique, and Structure of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
The Style, Technique, and Structure of Heart of Darkness
The novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is proof that a novel does not have to be long to have literary merit. Heart of Darkness is quite short, yet intriguing, due to the content of the novel. Much like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Heart of Darkness overwhelms the reader by the power of the story so that one will never feel quite satisfied with their attempts to intellectualize the experience (Adelman 8).
Heart of Darkness was written during the time of British imperialism and extreme exploitation of Africans in the Congo. The British were exploiting the Africans in an effort to extract ivory from the primitive jungle. Throughout the novel, Conrad expresses his dislike with the ‘civilized’ white people exploiting the ‘savage’ black Africans. Conrad also uses several literary devices in his writing to portray and express several messages. The writing style, techniques, structure and themes in Heart of Darkness all combine to create one of the most renowned, respected and mysterious novels of all time. Conrad wrote an ultimate enigma for readers to interpret and critically analyze for years to come.
Conrad’s excellence in style is very controversial; some believe that he is “a literary genius” (Adelman 16), while others “criticize him for being limited, pretentious and vague” ((Adelman 16). Throughout the novel, Conrad uses ample amounts of descriptive language, vivid imagery, and powerful symbolism. The vague part is that he leaves it up to the reader to interpret his mysterious and ‘unspeakable’ enigmas. Conrad’s descriptive language in Heart of Darkness is present from the beginning to the end. With the opening paragraphs d…
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…xperience” (Adelman 8). Overall, readers must interpret for themselves which meanings Conrad intended or if he intended all the meanings. This deep novel by Joseph Conrad is not easy to read but is valuable knowledge once it is read.
Adelman, Gary. Heart of Darkness: Search for the Unconscious. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1987.
Conrad, Joseph. The Heart of Darkness. Ed. Cedric Watts. London: Everyman, 1995.
Fothergill, Anthony. Open Guides to Literature: Heart of Darkness. Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1989.
Glassman, Peter J. Language and Being: Joseph Conrad and the Literature of the Personality. New York and London: Columbia: University Press, 1976.
Tindall, W.Y. “The Duty of Marlow.” In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the Critics. Ed. Bruce Harkness. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company Inc., 1968.