Archetypes In Homer's The Odyssey

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“literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature” – literary devices

The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic poem, sequel to the Iliad, written in the 8th century BCE by Homer. The Odyssey is based on the epic hero ‘Odysseus’, who has a ten-year journey to Ithaca as he struggles to return home following the Trojan War. Throughout Odysseus’ journey, we are shown various archetypes. Archetypes focus on recurring myths and beliefs that are portrayed in a text. The Odyssey contains various types of archetypal characters, Odysseus as the epic hero who fights against the villain to achieve his goal. And Poseidon as the villain who stops the hero from the hero’s
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The Odyssey contains archetypal situations such as ‘The Journey’ and ‘The Quest’. The Journey is when the epic hero confronts many trials, as shown in The Odyssey when the epic hero Odysseus, confronts many trials such as the Cyclops, Sirens, and Circe. The Quest is the search for something, this is shown in The Odyssey when Odysseus is searching for his homeland Ithaca throughout the ancient epic. The Odyssey also contains a vast amount of archetypal settings such as the sea and the underworld. The sea symbolizes spiritual mystery, timeless and eternity, like Odysseus’ journey. The underworld, on the other hand, symbolizes mystery, darkness, and fear. The dialogue “No winning words about death to me, shining Odysseus! By god, I’d rather slave on earth for another man-some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive- than rule down here over all the breathless dead” stated by Achilles highlights to us that he envies Odysseus for being alive whilst he is dead. The Odyssey also contains archetypal symbols that include Odysseus’ bow. Odysseus’s bow symbolizes who is qualified to become the king of Ithaca. The dialogue “Here is my lord Odysseus’ hunting bow. Bend and string it if you can. Who send an arrow through iron axe-helve sockets, twelve in line? I join my life with his, and leave this place, my home, my rich and beautiful bridal house, forever to be remembered” from Penelope, states that whoever is able to use Odysseus’ bow to shoot through twelve axe helve sockets in a line is qualified to become the king of Ithaca. The Odyssey, therefore, explores numerous archetypal situations, setting, and symbols throughout the ancient