Siren Song Odyssey Essays

Homer’s epic poem Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus’ encounter with the Sirens and their deadly song which is shown in Margaret Atwood’s poem “Siren Song.” When comparing each text, it is found that the Sirens are portrayed as temptresses that trap you with their beautiful, “honeyed voices.”

The tone in the epic poem is bright in the beginning when Homer writes “Helios’ burning rays” and “the sun at high noon.” As the poem progresses, it takes on an ominous tone that shows Odysseus’ self-control as he “stop[s] the ears of [his] comrades one by one” with beeswax. He also has his men “[bind him] hand and foot in the tight ship…lashed by ropes to the mast.” These two examples show Odysseus fighting against his desire to listen to the Siren’s song.

When Homer writes “and the heart inside me throbbed to listen longer” it shows how very hard it is for Odysseus to ignore the Siren’s call. In Margaret Atwood’s poem, the tone that is set is one of bereavement. The three Sirens understand that they are beautiful and that their call is tempting to every man but they consider the song as a “cry for help.” The Siren that is speaking in “Siren Song” refers to her trio as “fatal and valuable.”

Imagery is used in both of the texts to portray the Sirens as beautiful women. For example, from Homer’s first-person point of view, they have “honeyed [and] ravishing voices,” and from Atwood’s first-person point of view, the Siren speaks of the trio as “picturesque” and “mythical.” The Siren that is speaking in Atwood’s poem refers to her trip as “feathery maniacs.” The imagery in this poem makes you pick up a subtle tone that the Sirens are like temptresses. They reel in the men with their gorgeous, tricky call even though the men can see the “beached skull” which symbolizes their fate of death. Their song may be “boring” but, in the Siren’s words, “it works every time.”

The Odyssey vs. Siren Song Essay

625 WordsMar 24th, 20103 Pages

Mónica Callava
February 9, 2010
Mrs. Pedroso Period 2
The Odyssey vs. Siren Song

Some people have one inanimate object in their lives that they find so enticing that they are incapable of withstanding. One object that lures them into a deep trap not giving them any chance to resist. In Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” as well as Homer’s The Odyssey the one inanimate object all men cannot seem to resist is a Siren calling them in. In “Siren Song” we see a portrayal of this irresistible lure by one Siren’s song as merely a taunting boredom, while in The Odyssey the Siren is seen as a toxic desire. Both these poems portray these characteristics of the Siren through point of view, tone, and imagery. Homer’s The Odyssey is a narration…show more content…

She manipulates and flatters men by telling them “Only you, only you can.” She tricks the men by telling them only they can free her from her boredom. Through the imagery of both Homer and Margaret Atwood we see the difference in the Siren’s attitude in each poem. In The Odyssey, the Siren says, “honeyed voices pouring from our lips.” This imagery is a seductive tactic used by the Siren to lure the men closer. Odysseus tells us that his heart wanted more. This shows how the desire to get closer to the Siren was toxic. In “Siren Song” the Siren uses imagery to mock herself and make the reader feel bad for her. She tells us that she is “squatting on the island looking picturesque and mythical.” It is inferred that she is simply unhappy and bored where she is. The portrayals of the Siren in The Odyssey and “Siren Song” can be compared through point of view, tone, and imagery. In Homer’s poem the Siren is seen as an irresistible desire, a toxic aspiration that manipulated and captivated men to come closer. In “Siren Song” the Siren is portrayed as merely a taunting boredom. She herself tells us that to her it is boring, “But it works every

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