Imagery In The Odyssey

In Homer's Odyssey, what is an example of imagery from "The Sirens: Scylla and Charybdis." Please give the line numbers from the quotation.


1 Answer | Add Yours

noahvox2's profile pic

noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

In Book 12 of Homer's Odyssey, the title character and his crew sail away from Circe's island and continue their efforts to return to Ithaca. As is the case throughout Homer's work, the epic poet uses a number of images to help the audience visualize what he is describing. Circe's vivid description of some of the sheer rock formations Odysseus will see provides one example of imagery (12.77-79):

And no mortal man could climb it or step upon its top,
not even if he had twenty hands and feet,
for the rock is smooth, as though highly polished. (Richmond Lattimore translation)

Circe's image of a human being with 20 hands and feet provides a vivid description of the steepness of these cliffs.

Another example of Homer's vivid language can be found in Circe's description of the Scylla's voice, which she says is "is as loud as a newborn puppy's" (12.86). Thus, Circe's description conjures up in the audience's mind the image of this canine sound.

Finally, as Odysseus and his men approach the island of the Sirens, the wind ceases and the sea becomes calm. Homer, however, provides a lovely image to describe this. He sings that "a divinity lulled the waves to sleep" (12.169). Of course, water cannot literally sleep, but the waters are figuratively asleep.



We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question