Setting as a poetic device to enhance character in the apologos of Homer's Odyssey
Holt, Timothy James
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This thesis will look at the use of the description of setting as a means to enhance and define character in the apologos of the Odyssey. The approach to this study will be two-fold. First, the descriptions of the various locales in the poem help establish a first impression of the characters that dwell within them. Second, and more importantly, the characters’ reaction and response to that setting further defines their character-traits, revealing their inner self to the audience. While this phenomenon is most commonly found with characters in their own setting, it can also be quite informative for characters in a foreign setting. The main type of description on which I will focus is that generally found at the beginning of each respective episode. These descriptions are marked by a break in the narrative and set the scene for the remainder of the episode. I consider only descriptions longer than the formulaic noun-adjective combinations or the epithets found throughout the poem. While the latter two types are important, I will mention them only in comparison with the former type. In Chapter Three I will focus on this relationship between description and character with regard to the Cyclopes and Phaeacians, although other scenes will be mentioned. In Chapter Four I will focus on the Lotus-Eaters, Sirens, Calypso, Circe, the Nymphs on Ithaca, and the realm of the afterlife.