Essay on The Influence of Storytelling Archetypes in Homer’s Odyssey

702 Words Oct 17th, 2011 3 Pages
The Influence of Storytelling Archetypes in Homer’s Odyssey By Sam Thomas Odysseus' tale of his encounter with the Cyclops, which he recounts to the Phaecians in Book 9 of Homer‘s Odyssey, is one of the most famous stories ever told. It is deeply rooted in the classical literary consciousness and is yet familiar to even those modern readers who have never studied ancient texts. Why does a nearly three-thousand year old piece of epic poetry maintain such an influential presence in modern culture? The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jeung's theory of archetypes asserts that there are certain archetypes which have been present in literary works since the beginning of recorded history. Furthermore, Jeung's theory suggests that these …show more content…
At the return threshold the transcendental powers must remain behind; the hero re-emerges from the kingdom of dread (return, resurrection). The boon that he brings restores the world (elixir)." Based upon this definition, one can easily make the claim that Odysseus' s journey is typical of the archetypal Hero. The particular tale describing his encounter with the Cyclops, then, presents Polyphemus as an example of a severely threatening force that tests Odysseus and forces him to utilize his heroic traits in order to overcome an intimidating obstacle. Odysseus' well-executed escape from Polyphemus' cave in the guise of a sheep is an example of two of Odysseus’ often epithetically referenced characteristics, namely his cunning and his industriousness. An audience could be expected to be impressed by this display of heroic guile and wit. A layer of complexity is added to the tale after Odysseus and his men have escaped the cave. In response to the blinded giant's furious throwing of boulders at his escape vessel, Odysseus reveals his own true name to Polyphemus in taunting the Cyclops, who then prays to his father Poseidon to exert vengeance on the fleeing hero. In light of the anteceding events that have Odysseus undergoing numerous sufferings as per the will of Poseidon, Odysseus' vain decision to reveal his identity to

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