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The Waterways to Freedom.

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Karina Swenson IB English 1 30/09/02 The Waterways to Freedom As human beings, we ought to be endowed with the freedom of choice for we are naturally striving for channels of free will. We have a propensity to perceive life in an individualistic manner as we are all distinct entities. The art of entrapment we see from time to time deprives and suffocates our very being as individuals. However, the struggles we overcome are not always resolved by our own involuntary response to problems, but at times our very survival depends on the help of others to conquer a period of difficulty. Homer's The Odyssey is a primary example of the idea of man's reliance on oneself and the occasional need for the assistance of others. Under Calypso's power, Odysseus is entrapped in her possession and loses all hope to escape on his own. After seven lengthy years of Odysseus's imprisonment, Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is sent by the gods to Calypso's island to order the release of Odysseus so that he can continue on with his voyage home. At times throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus did not consider the consequences of his actions and depended on guidance from the gods to steer him in the right direction. This particular passage describes Odysseus as a lowly mortal and reinforces his need of the aid of higher beings to help him surmount his struggles. ...read more.


Through Homer's establishment of words, he guides us to identify with Odysseus' search for freedom under constraints of those who hold him back. Emancipated nature imagery displays the contrast between Odysseus' suppressed captivity with the vast open world around him. The images of wild animals and plant life, "alder and black poplar, pungent cypress" (23) and "ornate birds" (24), denote Odysseus' loss of hope of escape which contrasts with the serene tranquility of the environment around him. The image of birds is constantly utilized in the epic as omens that rely on the perception of Odysseus as an aggressive, predatory creature. With their "stretched wings" (24) the birds in this passage implies Odysseus' stretched capability as a war hero in search of his homeland but is kept back by obstacles, just like the birds are kept from flying further because of their need to "rest" (24). The comparison of Hermes and Odysseus is evident in the beginning of the passage where it is seen through the imagery of Hermes' movement. Whilst Odysseus is "racked" in confinement "with his own heart groaning" (42), Hermes is swiftly carried over water and "over endless land in a swish of the wind" (4). The high-speed action imagery of Hermes is illustrated to imply the higher being of an immortal and the never-ending limits of his freedom as he "paced into the air" (7), "shot down to sea level" (8), and "veered to skim the swell" (9). ...read more.


With the help of "s" sounds, the mood is displayed as tranquil and peaceful throughout the beginning of the passage but transitions into a sorrowful mood when Odysseus "who sat apart... racked with his own heart groaning" and with "eyes wet", is mentioned. The order of the mood change establishes the atmosphere to the central idea of freedom and Odysseus' need for the assistance of a higher being for the outcome of his future. Homer successfully led us to develop a certain predetermined picture of Odysseus' journey with the excessive amount of pain and sorrow he endured throughout his voyage home. One of the major themes of The Odyssey is the belief that man cannot escape the destiny which has been fated for him by the gods. Destiny plays an imperative role in the survival of Odysseus throughout his adventures. Finally, after seven years of languishing in Calypso's island, with the help of Hermes, Odysseus continues on with his journey and follows his fate the gods bestowed upon him. Through diction, structure, nature and contrasting imagery, as well as the relationship between mortal and immortals, the theme of man's act of will to survive and the struggle for freedom with the additional help of others is visibly recognized. Some people believe they can make it through life on their own two feet, but at times, the waterway in the course of life needs the assistance of a strong current to push us along and guide us to surpass the slow, immobile areas along the channels to our destination. ...read more.

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