Can somebody explain "Ithaka" stanza by stanza?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ithaka is a poem which makes heavy reference to The Odyssey. Indeed, the title of Ithaka refers to Odysseus's homeland, to which he is trying to return, and Homer's poem is itself the central thematic motif which Cavafy returns to over and over again.

The first stanza carries within it the fundamental core message of the poem: it's the journey to Ithaka (which serves as a metaphor for everyone's journey through life) which is its own reward (and hence, you see the poet's hope that the journey is long). Along with Odysseus's homeland, we also see here references to the Cyclops, the Laistrygonians, and Poseidon himself. These all are referring to threats which Odysseus has to contend with, but in the poem, Cavafy invokes them with the admonition not to fear such obstacles, or to be disheartened by them.

The second stanza opens with the same admonition that could be found in the first: "Hope your road is a long one" (Cavafy, transl. by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard). In this stanza, Cavafy,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 820 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team