Hell In The Odyssey

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An invocation to the Muse, a conference of Gods, games and banquets, heroic encounters, and epic similes—these are some of the characteristics that compose an epic poem. In Paradise Lost, Milton echoes images and passages of Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, which he deepens and elaborates, creating a masterpiece that overshadows the silhouettes of the classics. The fashioning of the underworld is one quality that Milton, Dryden and Pope use to make their own versions of the epic. John Milton’s description of hell is a classical depiction of the underworld. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus visits the land of the dead, of “No flesh and bone…none bound by sinew,/since the bright-hearted pyre consumed them down—/the white bones long exanimate—to ash” (Homer 248-52). The emphasis on hell’s “bright-hearted pyres” as devouring the flesh is a chilling image that Milton mimics to describe the pit of hell as a burning reign, a place of sultriness: “A dungeon horrible, on all sides round/ as one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames/ no light,…show more content…
Shadwell’s Heaven is a Hell, where “About thy boat little fishes throng, / As at the morning toast that floats along…” and “…scattered limbs of mangled poets lay;…/Martyrs of pies, and relics of the bum” (Dryden 49-50 and 99-101). The tiny “fish” (presumed to be infected with salmonella), swim the Thames polluted waters that boil and crackle with mankind’s waste, as the cobbled streets above reek of ignorant fools who use old “relics”—books—as toilet paper. This description glorify a London that Dryden exaggerates for satires sake, a realm that Shadwell believes as being a haven, but is in fact humankinds fall from

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