In literature, symbolism refers to motifs, ideas, or images that represent an underlying meaning. Authors use it and other literary devices to convey a message beyond what is written. As expected of the work of its degree, there are plenty of important symbols in The Odyssey.
Similar to Homeric similes in The Odyssey, metaphors also play an essential role in establishing the tone. They are a literary device that describes an image or action using words that are not literal. Homer usually narrows his use of metaphors down to a single word. Often, their use is repeated throughout the poem.
One of the most significant literary devices in The Odyssey is the meter in which it was written. The epic poem was a part of the oral tradition. This is why Homer included a list of elements that would be essential in performance.
Though there are many differences between the two, Telemachus and Odysseus both undergo odysseys of sorts over the course of the epic: as Odysseus is physically alienated from his home, so too is Telemachus alienated from his right over his home by the suitors who has usurped control of it. The parallel paths of father and son converge when the two slaughter the suitors and reclaim their home through nostos -- i.e., homecoming.
This descriptor, known as an \"epithet,\" appears throughout The Odyssey. It's one of many epithets (like high-hearted or wine-colored) that Homer uses to fill the constraints of dactylic hexameter (a form of meter consisting of six \"feet\" of one long and two short syllables). Such epithets were also used as mnemonic or memory devices to help performers remember where they were in their recitation of the poem.
This paragraph, full of sailing jargon, provides Homer with an opportunity to create verisimilitude (a literary term meaning realism or reality). His audience, regardless of what part of Greece they come from, would've been familiar with these nautical terms, which are: hawsers (ropes), cross plank, and forestays (a piece of rigging that prevents the mast from falling).
In both the Iliad and Odyssey, Homer repeatedly uses some mnemonic devices, words and phrases designed to be easier to remember, and this line is one of the most often repeated. In an oral literary culture, mnemonic devices become important shortcuts to aid the poet's memory.
Polysyndeton, or the unnecessary repetition of words and phrases, is a common literary device in Greek tragedies. The purpose is to slow the rhythm of the reading and emphasize each word or phrase. Here, Odysseus stresses that he wants Tiresias to tell him the whole truth, however long or difficult it might be.
Who's It ForAnyone who needs help learning or mastering the usage of literary devices and an analysis of The Odyssey will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to understand the analysis of and use of literary devices in this story. Among those who would benefit are:
How It Works:Watch each video in the chapter to review all key topics.Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.Complete your review with The Odyssey: Literary Devices & Analysis chapter exam.Why It Works:Study Efficiently: The lessons in this chapter cover only the information you need to know.Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.Be Ready on Test Day: Take The Odyssey: Literary Devices & Analysis chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any literature question. They're here to help!Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.Students Will Review:This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the literary devices and analysis of The Odyssey for a standard literature course. Topics covered include:
Imagine a time before mobile devices, before videos, before film, before television and radio. What saved people from complete and utter boredom with none of these platforms to deliver entertainment 24-7 The key form of entertainment before technology was stories. In the time when Homer developed the Odyssey, stories were told aloud in the form of poetry. In the Greek poetry of Homer's time, alliteration--typically defined as the purposeful repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of important words that are close together--was a key poetic feature, calling attention to certain words and adding interest.
So, yes, Homer had quite an interesting tale to tell. But it's a long work to memorize, recite, and hold an audience's interest. So Homer used a variety of devices to engage his audience and help his own memory. These devices include repetition of sounds, commonly known as rhyme. When most English speakers think about rhyme, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the rhyming of whole syllables at the end of lines. This is found frequently in nursery rhymes, for example.
At the time that The Odyssey was composed, the Greek alphabet had not yet been developed and the poem is a product of a completely oral tradition. The ancient Greek epic tradition was an oral-formulaic tradition. In oral-formulaic traditions, generations of poet performers develop a special poetic language that consists of a vast number of metrical phrases (formulae) and longer story elements (themes or type-scenes) out of which long narrative poems are extemporaneously constructed. Although this technique may seem restrictive and eliminating originality, in fact, the poets were able to use many of the same literary devices used by modern novelists.
Dramatic irony and pathos are two other literary techniques that Homer uses to good effect in the Odyssey. Dramatic irony is when the audience either are familiar with the story or are informed about something that the characters do not know, so they can foresee what will happen before the characters do. A good example of how Homer uses dramatic irony is just before the battle in the hall, '... believe me, this bow will break the heart and spirit of many a companion here'. These words are spoken by Leodes, the first of the suitors to attempt to string the bow. This is dramatic, as it is the bow that he is talking about that will kill the suitors and so it truly is '... the bow that will seal our fate', as Antinous said.
Aristotle argued in his work on literary theory, Poetics, that plot was more important than characters to evoke emotion in the audience, and the Odyssey serves as a good example for his argument. With the involvement of the gods and fate, who oversee and intervene where necessary. We also have evil, in the shape of the suitors, as well as various capricious women such as Circe, Calypso and Athena, over whom 'good' is trying to conquer. The idea of good triumphing over evil would have been enjoyed, allowing the audience to listen to the sub-stories in good spirits, making it less likely for them to stop listening.
A double entendre is a subtle literary device that uses one statement to convey two very different meanings. Taken literally, a double entendre is usually an innocent statement that has no ironic or inappropriate overtones. Taken another way, the same statement often can mean something too indelicate to be said in polite company. A double entendre can also work in reverse, with an apparently dirty joke turning out to have an innocent intent.
The Iliad and The Odyssey have the same elements in their structure and shape: each epic poem consists of 24 books and is written in dactylic hexameter with the use of the same literary devices. Their plots also have similar traits: a ring-form composition and numerous divine interventions. As the poems are dedicated to different events and develop different ideas, they have a wide range of dissimilarities: comic and tragic endings, antipodal main heroes, and linear and non-linear timelines.
Over the course of the Fall semester, this page will accrue a listof definitions for literary terms discussed in English 230: GreatNarrative Works. I will attempt to add new terms as they are broughtup in class, so that by the end of this semester the guide willprovide a useful resource for students preparing for final papers andexams.
This webpage contains an alphabetical glossary of literary terms and their definitions. It focuses particularly on the material I most frequently teach (classical and medieval literature, the history of the English language, and science fiction narratives). Because the list is fairly lengthy, I have subdivided it into several pages. Hunt for the term you want alphabetically within each letter's webpage. You can supplement this knowledge by looking in the glossary in the back of your literature books, in dictionaries, and online more generally. Do note that entries marked with a tiny construction barrier ()or the abbreviation TBA (\"to be announced\") are still in the process of being written or revised, so these entries will change as I polish them.
Half rhyme or slant rhyme, sometimes called sprung, near rhyme, oblique rhyme, off rhyme or imperfect rhyme, is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved. Many half/slant rhymes are also eye rhymes. Half/slant rhymes are widely used in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. An example is ill and shell. Half/slant rhyme has been found in English-language poetry as early as Henry Vaughan, but it was not until the works of W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that it found wide use among English-language poets. In the 20th century half/slant rhyme has been used widely by English poets. Often, as in most of Yeats's poems, it is mixed with other devices such as regular rhymes, assonance, and para-rhymes. In the following example the 'rhymes' are on/moon and bodies/ladies: 1e1e36bf2d