Skip to comments.The Metaphor of the Dawn in The Odyssey
Posted on 03/20/2011 8:50:21 PM PDT by bronxville
The Metaphor of the Dawn in The Odyssey
Throughout Odysseus' journey, the metaphor of the dawn symbolizes his odyssey from immaturity, maturity, and fulfillment. The progression of Odysseus' development of strength is like the development of day, from dawn to dusk. The epithet, "rosy-fingered dawn" marks the beginning of Odysseus' odyssey. After his journey, the epithets "gold-throned dawn" and "bright-throned dawn" replace the "rosy-fingered dawn" however, after Odysseus returns home from his journey, he plans to rid his house of suitors, and the "rosy-fingered dawn" returns. After accomplishing the destruction of the suitors, finally, the "gold-throned dawn" replaces the "rosy-fingered dawn"
In the beginning of Odysseus' journey, the "rosy-fingered dawn" (10) is referred to as a fresh and young beginning of whatever is to come. It also resembles the hardships of a journey in the future, symbolizing his state of immaturity and lack of experience. This shows how the development of day is like Odysseus' development of strength, by addressing the symbolism of "rosy-fingered dawn," possibly symbolizing Odysseus' present state of youth and immaturity.
The "rosy-fingered dawn" returns once again, as a new obstacle is introduced. When the "rosy-fingered dawn" (162) returns, another obstacle of Odysseus' is sure to come. For example, right before Odysseus attempts to rid his home of suitors, the day is begun with the "rosy-fingered dawn." In a way, this foreshadows obstacles to come. This example introduces the relation between Odysseus' strength and the metaphor of the dawn.
Odysseus, during the beginning of his odyssey, is known as a young leader with educational experiences yet to come. Odysseus is referred to as this when "...none remember[ed] princely Odysseus among the people who he ruled..." (14). He is presented here as an inexperienced leader, which supports the theory of the "rosy-fingered dawn" This shows how young Odysseus is related to the "rosy-fingered dawn," and how "old" Odysseus, at the end of his odyssey, is related to the "gold" and "bright-throned dawn". These similes foreshadow another obstacle, now that this idea has come up, supporting the element of strength is like the development of day, as stated in the thesis statement.
When Odysseus returns home from his long journey, the "rosy-fingered dawn" is replaced by the "bright-throned dawn" (151). This symbolizes the accomplishments of his numerous obstacles because the term "bright" symbolizes and accomplished tasks, such as Odysseus' return home. The "gold-throned dawn" represents Odysseus in a way of maturity, knowledge, experience, and strength, again, supporting the theory that Odysseus' development of strength symbolizes the development of the dawns.
"Gold" in general symbolizes wealth, maturity, strength, and power. The "gold-throned dawn" (147) and the "bright-throned dawn" (151) reflect on Odysseus himself after an accomplishment of his. Odysseus is referred to as golden throughout his adventures, relating him to the metaphor of the dawns.The "gold" and "bright-throned dawns" are proven to relate to Odysseus as he is referred to as "...long-tried royal Odysseus..." (62) often throughout the story. "Long-tried" and "royal" relate to "gold-throned" because these both symbolize Odysseus' present strength, wealth, experience, and success. This supports the theory that the dawns relate to Odysseus in various ways, such as his accomplishments and fulfillment.
Odysseus' accomplishments throughout his journey fulfill his odyssey. Fulfillment is shown when "So saying, royal Odysseus crossed the threshold..." (124). This quotation is a sign of the end of Odysseus' odyssey. This relates Odysseus' fulfillment to the metaphor of the dawns because the "gold-throned dawn" is present when this epithet is addressed in the story.
Throughout his journey, Odysseus is related to the sun. When "the sun sank" (124), this symbolized the end of Odysseus' journey. The sinking of the sun represents the final conclusion of his odyssey. The end of a day is perceived as an old accomplished obstacle, while the beginning of a day is perceived as a fresh, new start, full of unpredictable possibilities, relating Odysseus again, to the dawns. This is the mark of the end, and possibly the beginning of another odyssey, possibly foreshadowing another switch of the metaphoric dawns.
Odysseus seems as if he can control the sun in the epic simile, "As a man longs for supper whose pair of tawny oxen all day long have dragged the jointed plough through the fresh field; gladly for him the sunlight sinks and sends him home to supper; stiff are his knees for walking; so gladly for Odysseus sank the sun," (124). Odysseus, like the exhausted farmer, is pleased that the end of the day is near, representing fulfillment of the Odyssey and also representing the symbolic relationship between the metaphor of the dawns and the progression Odysseus' strength and fulfillment.
In conclusion, the metaphor of the dawn symbolizes Odysseus, throughout his odyssey. The stages of immaturity, maturity, and fulfillment portray the different dawns. All of this progression shows how Odysseus gains his strength after accomplishing his obstacles. In terms, this also shows how the metaphor of the dawns progress, showing symbolism between Odysseus and the dawn.
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Eos rhododactylos. Rosey fingered dawn. You're Greek, aren't you, Captain? Did you ever read Homer? We read Homer at the Point. In Greek . . . Nick Nolte as Lt. Col. Tall in The Thin Red Line
I took note of this because I had only recently apprised myself of the greek phrase. I was also led to ruminations on the lack of any similar rhapsodical descriptions of sunset. It occured to me that this is a more modern development as the later evening became a time for continued social activity.
There is a mythical representation of the sunset though, in the Garden of the Hesperides, beyond the Ocean in the west, where the eponymous nymphs guard an orchard of golden apples. Surely this is Eden!
“There is a mythical representation of the sunset though, in the Garden of the Hesperides, beyond the Ocean in the west, where the eponymous nymphs guard an orchard of golden apples. Surely this is Eden!”
I was hoping someone would comment w/ something to end my frustration. You’ve just done it and more. The Garden of the Hesperides aka Eden is exactly it. Thanks!
I didn’t see the movie but love the term “Rosey fingered dawn” - it was in both the Odyssey and the Iliad so he must have like it as well. Amazingly descriptive of an early dawn when we can sometimes see rosy red streaks in the sky, reminiscent of extended fingers.
>>>Ulysses lost all his colleagues in the process
Didn’t Odysseus find out that he’d lose all of his crew (and ship) and that he himself MIGHT make it back if he was lucky?
He lied to his crew that Tiresias’ foretold little problems, that it was mostly clear sailing.
This was the modern day version of “TRUST ME”.
Oh, Wiley Odysseus!
Graves comments that, "Eos's constant love affairs with young mortals are also allegories: dawn brings midnight lovers a renewal of erotic passion ..."
And we might add, not only midnight lovers. We recognize this phenomenon not so much as a renewal of passion, but a mere inconvenience. Oh, to be young again!
Who does pick these names?
Sounds more 1st Earth Battalion to me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Earth_Battalion
...and of course Obama got approval from the international community, instead on Congress.
Gayest Military Operation Name, ever.
Boy, that's a good question. I remember eight years ago (Iraqi invasion) when the name of the operation had to be changed because the initials of the original name were OIL. I think the original name was Operation Iraqi Liberation or something similar.
lol I think we’ve just found a new name for the big “O” - Odysseus!
Palamedes went to Ithaca to enroll O into the Greek army. O decided to play like a crazy man so he put on torn clothes, started sowing the land with salt using a goat and ox as the plough but Palamedes put baby Telemachus in front of it and O had to stop ploughing thus revealing his sanity.
O was pissed, bided his time, and eventually got Palamedes killed for something he didn’t do. It took a while but O got his own back.
Wiley for sure - there are similarities.
No, you wouldn’t...not really.
The “Do what thou wilt” Aleister Crowley was one very unhappy man and ended up in a boarding house crazy as a kook. He was a literal man.
No I wouldn’t what? Want to be young again? Well, I really agree, but isn’t yearning itself a quality of youth?
No, I remember it correctly. From Wikipedia:
"The 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by U.S. army General Tommy Franks, began under the codename "Operation Iraqi Liberation", later renamed "Operation Iraqi Freedom", the UK codename Operation Telic, and the Australian codename Operation Falconer."
K'Daffy was not Muslim enough for Obama...and he wasn't threatening Israel every other day, hence the need for enforced change and a new red dawn for the desert country.
Obuma devised this liberal-speak, faggy name for the Libya war operation, there's no doubt about it in my mind.
Sorry, I was thinking of something else. Yes, yearning is youthful. I remember yearning to be older so I could do anything I wanted, unfortunately I never did take heed when told to enjoy the freedom of youth. Today I imagine I’m one of many, yearning to breathe freely again, which won’t happen until he gets out of office and even then I’m not sure it will change. We were sold out decades, a century ago, centuries, or on another sphere, since Eden. When I remember I turn it over to God but am relentless at taking it back.
Obama likes communist/fascist-style logos and posters to define him. Recall his campaign poster....the stark head-portrait done in blood-red and black-stroked Andy Warhol/Stalin/Big Brother style, defined in critiques as stark, unsmiling, arrogant, half-artsy, half creepy....reminiscent of a totalitarian dictator whose rule is enmeshed with a seductive cult of personality.
An original copy of the Obama campaign poster is now in the Smithsonian. How cool, edgy and 1930's USSR-ish!
Don't even get me started on Obama's personal pepsi-style logo which he and his propaganda ministry have substituted for the presidential seal.
Perhaps this is where you get the Christian idea of sin incarnate: Lucifer, described as the morning star. Seeming illumination through sex or the erotic.
Thus, the drop of Pepsi to number 3, behind Coke and Diet Coke! Bowbama's fall will be as precipitous!
i like the part of the story where he comes home in disguise after 10 years and the only person who recognizes him is his ancient and broke down hunting dog.
then he goes to lunch where a bunch of losers are hitting on his wife. she says she will marry the guy who can string O’s bow and shoot an arrow thru axe heads. no one can, until they come to O, he does, shoots the axe heads, and then all the posers at the lunch.
end of story.
One of his servants also also recognizes him. Pretty good video of his return home starts at 2:20:00.
good vid, but i didnt see the dog. that bummed me. its my fave part of the tale.
that was good. also i thought the bow scene was good. although my dim memory of the book was it wasnt thru the holes but the axe heads themselves, but i guess that was either wrong or just totally undoable in film.
you know, I hadn’t thought of it before but The One and his staff came into the WH thinking he was Apollo, able to drive the Chariot of the Sun.
Instead, he was more like Phaeton whose ego drove him to attempt the leap to Godhood and drive the Chariout.
The horses whinnied and stomped impatiently and, as the bar was dropped, they tore through the clouds. “Oh no,” Phaethon gasped, “we’ve already started.” The horses were immediately out of control since the weight they were pulling was feather light and Phaethon wasn’t able to hold the reins firmly so the bits were barely noticeable in their teeth. The horses ran wild, leaping through the air, fighting against each other for the lead and bumping and tossing the chariot like a toy. Phaethon turned pale in fear. He had only begun and already the horses were out of control and he was thoroughly lost.
Terrified by the height, Phaethon’s stomach hurt as he saw the earth far, far below. It all seemed like a bad dream. He broke into a cold sweat and the reigns became slippery in his hands. He started to faint. Why hadn’t he listened to Apollo?
“No, I can’t give up” he said. It took more concentration than he had ever used, but he managed to gain his composure again and remain conscious. He quickly surveyed his course. He had already covered a huge distance, but there was more to cover ahead. He had no idea what to do or where to go. Then he saw in horror that he was traveling directly toward the beasts of heaven. Immediately ahead he saw the Scorpion, its tail and stingers spread across the sky like a trap. Phaethon was close enough to see black, poisonous venom dripping from the monster’s body. In absolute terror he dropped the reins.
As soon as the horses felt their reins lying on their backs, they broke loose, flying faster yet across the sky and running over the stars. They ran wildly up to the top of heaven and then down near the Earth. The Earth burst into flames. The heat dried up and cracked the land and evaporated lakes and rivers. Meadows and fields turned to ashes and the forests became a raging inferno. Cities were consumed in firestorms and it seemed to everyone on earth as if civilization were coming to a blazing end.
Phaethon saw the Earth in flames at every corner of the globe. The sweat poured from his brow as the chariot grew white-hot beneath his feet, and the air, filled with ashes and whirling sparks, was so hot he choked as each breath burned his lungs. The sky was completely shrouded in dense, hot smoke which grew so dark he could see nothing. He lost all sense of direction as he was swept along by the uncontrollable will of his flying steeds.
The fiery chariot raced low over Asia and lower yet over Africa. It was then that the fields and forests of northern Africa became the Sahara Desert. The Nile, attempting to protect her source, hid her mouth far below the surface in a deep corner of the continent. The glacial polar ice-caps evaporated and turned into fountains of steam. The oceans boiled and the fish, seals, dolphins, whales and all other sea creatures, suffocated from the heat.
Fires raged across the continents as stampeding creatures fled for their lives, racing to beat the walls of flames. The Earth cracked and her crust shrank until deep crevices split the globe and it looked as if the fires of Hell had broken through the surface and were consuming the planet in a fiery apocalypse. Demeter cried for the loss of everything she loved, but even her tears evaporated in the intense heat.
“Oh Zeus,” cried Atlas, “the Earth has grown as hot as the sun upon my shoulders. I can’t hold it any longer.”
Earth and Demeter screamed out in pain. Poseidon and the Naiads cried for the destruction of their oceans and creatures. Finally Eros warned that if the sea and land and sky were annihilated, the universe would return to chaos.
Zeus listened to the gods and watched the heavens smoking from pole to pole. He climbed to the highest peak of Olympus and raised his arms. Always before, when he did this the clouds would part; but now there were no clouds for they had all been burned or evaporated. While the thunder rolled across the hills, Zeus grabbed a lightning bolt and hurled it through the smoke filled sky, straight into Phaethon’s heart. The bolt flew with such force that it knocked him from the chariot. His burning body fell through the sky like a meteor and the smoke trail traced his descent until he fell to earth into the waiting arms of the river Eridanus. The kindly Naiads retrieved his body and placed it in a tomb. On the tomb’s marble gate, they wrote, “Here lies Phaethon. He drove Apollo’s chariot.”
Then Zeus placed Eridanus in the stars as the River of the Sky, and he placed Phaethon’s brother Cycnus as Cygnus, the swan. Because the Scorpion frightened both Phaethon and his horses, Zeus severed its claws and transformed them into the scale of justice called Libra, and Zeus said, “These stars will remind everyone that ego can destroy the balance of the universe.”
Those old Greeks had a teaching myth for every human frailty. Too bad the voters were sold that they were getting Apollo but instead got Phaeton.
I give Odysseus the benefit of the doubt here. What good would it do to warn them of the terror that was to come (Scylla and Charybdis)? They are travelling the way they must in order to achieve home, warning them, might cause them to cower.
Also, mark the grief with which Odysseus relates his tale to Alcinous and the Phaeacians...He is a broken man by journey’s end...wiliness has given way to wisdom.
Yep, I have a hard time believing the choice of name is an accident. Whoever came up with it likely knew he could sell it with it’s fancy-schmancy poetic ring, especially to someone so superficial as Pres. Obama and his ilk.
I wonder what those liberals who know their Greek Lit think of it.
“Instead, he was more like Phaeton whose ego drove him to attempt the leap to Godhood and drive the Chariot.”
Good one but was Phaeton being an egotist or just challenged by such an adventure (not unlike many a young man today) while Apollo was a full-blown narcissist who could suddenly turn into a vindictive sadist. There was no way Phaeton was going to outdo the self-absorbed Apollo - who also had the most male lovers of all the Greek gods. The similarities are leaning toward Apollo...
“Earth and Demeter-Ceres screamed out in pain.”
Hillary the masochist.
“Poseidon and the Naiads cried for the destruction of their oceans and creatures.”
Hillarys partner Poseidon-Neptune was a god who showed avoidant tendencies in his desire to hide away in the deep parts of the sea with his mermaids - some say to avoid Demeter.
“Finally Eros warned that if the sea and land and sky were annihilated, the universe would return to chaos.”
Al Gore. :)
Perhaps someone here who remembers their Greek could consult the original text and determine if these formulae were of archaic or contemporary construction.
Might as well throw in an ode to Michelle:
"Wanna tell you a story
'Bout a woman I know
Ah, come to lovin'
Ooh, she steals the show
She ain't exactly pretty
Ain't exactly small
Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six
You could say she's got it all!"
Can the rosy fingers of the “rosy-fingered dawn” be a euphemism for bloody fingers? Since the “rosy-fingered dawn” is the beginning of trials, tribulations, and death, it’s a possibility.
Homer prolly meant something a little different.
" So spake he, and in them all aroused the desire of lament, and rosy-fingered Dawn shone forth upon them while yet they wailed around the piteous corpse." Iliad 23
Czech this out.
"The rose bore the values of the spiritual world."
Oh sorry. I thought we were applying the metaphor to current events. The meanings of “rose” in ancient literature are different issues entirely.
Roses to me? They just remind me of my late mother, who had a green thumb when it came to all things growing, and she was most successful with her beautiful roses.
I have a black thumb, so can we explore the nuances of ebon?
And I covered that in "I like the way you think". I thought. I think.
so can we explore the nuances of ebon
That was last month...
Next time, ping me last month. ;-p
Zeus’ judgement was that ego was the motivation. I’ll go with Zeus.
Agree in the literal context but the main point of the thread was to compare with current events. I was seeking discussions and information from others more knowledgeable in this field of study as it’s not my forte. It would have been interesting perhaps to have gone a little deeper and linked with the other “dawns” and gods but I see there are some others who are confused as well. My fault, as I should have explained it better. Anyway, I give up. Thanks for your input.
Thanks again for your interesting and informative #5 post.
Food for thought - thanks.
Now how’d I miss that celebration.
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