Please provide examples of figurative language in Books 1 and 2 of Homer's Odyssey.

Expert Answers
noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout Homer's Odyssey, the epic poet uses figurative language to help enliven his story. Numerous examples of this can be found in the first two books of the poem.

At Odyssey 1.50, for example, Homer describes the sea as having a "navel" (Richmond Lattimore translation). Of course, the sea does not literally have a belly button, but Homer is describing Calypso's home as being in the middle of the sea.

Some of Homer's epithets contain figurative language. Consider Odyssey 1.122, where Telemachus addresses Athene, who is disguised as a mortal named Mentes. Homer describes Telemachus' words as "winged." Obviously, his words do not literally have wings; this is a figurative way to describe speech that moves swiftly to the point.

Finally, at Odyssey 2.237-238, we find another example of figurative language as Mentor observes how the suitors "violently devour / the house of Odysseus." Again, the poet does not literally mean that the suitors are eating Odysseus' house, although they certainly are eating enough of his food to bankrupt Odysseus' estate.