Gesture Odyssey

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The epic The Odyssey by Homer depicts the grueling journey that the glorious Odysseus must undertake to return to his home of Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War. “An Ancient Gesture” written by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a poem that is written in a present time setting with many references to Homer’s The Odyssey. Although The Odyssey works as a primary source for Millay’s work, Millay chose to put importance in other literary devices than the ones Homer chose to make up much of his work. Millay’s adaptation of "An Ancient Gesture" defers from the primary source in that there is a greater focus on the charter development versus the importance put on plot and action in the original material, the change in point of view, and the tense in which…show more content…
Lines five to seven of in “An Ancient Gesture”: “Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight; And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light, And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.” provide an insight of just how physically and emotionally exhausting was the work that Penelope faced. While in The Odyssey there just get a short description of what Penelope was doing to hold off the suitor. Millay also takes importance in showing how emotionally arduous this task is because she is trying to stop the suitors even though her husband may or may not be dead, she has no idea where he is or what happen to him. For Penelope these are the questions she faces everyday. While Penelope deals with this all that Homer shows is the journey that Odysseus faces. Aside from the difference in the focus of plot and character development, another big difference between the two works is the point of…show more content…
“An Ancient Gesture starts as first person then changes to second person in line three and later changes back to the first person on line ten. The point of view of each work has a big effect on the tone, the focal point, and how the characters are perceived by the reader. An example would be the heroic viewpoint of Odysseus in The Odyssey while in Millay’s work there is a colder approach to him, this is seen when the poem when it says that: “Ulysses did this too. But only as a gesture,-a gesture which implied To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.”, in saying this she is saying that Odysseus only cried because it was the right time to cry, because it would add to the effect. All this implies that he did not cry because he suffered like Penelope did for the ten years., he cried because it was what he should do at that time. All of this comes from the point of view of this woman who has also lost her husband. While this same encounter between Penelope and Odysseus is seen as a happy reunion because of the point of view of the narrator in The Odyssey. The tense of both works also plays a huge difference as did the point of view and focal

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