What are some allegorical implications of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey? How does Homer's use of allegory add meaning to Odysseus's journey?  

Expert Answers

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

Successive generations of thinkers read all kinds of allegories into Homer's Odyssey. One of them was the Neoplatonist philosopher, Porphyry, who interpreted the epic poem as a work of proto-Platonism. Odysseus regularly encounters a number of challenges on his journey, many of which are related to the sea. Porphyry interprets Homer's presentation of the sea as symbolizing matter, which for Plato and successive generations of his followers was inherently unreal. For them, the real was ideal, not material, consisting of unchanging, eternal ideas called Forms.

Yet only a philosophical elite were capable of apprehending such Forms. The vast bulk of humanity would remain trapped by a life of the senses, only able to understand what they could see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. The great hero Odysseus, however, is different. His epic wanderings are allegorized by...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 434 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