He Who Hears the Siren’s Song

willmurai
Art: Pinterest

“First she said we were to keep clear of the Sirens, who sit and sing most beautifully in a field of flowers; but she said I might hear them myself so long as no one else did. Therefore, take me and bind me to the crosspiece half way up the mast; bind me as I stand upright, with a bond so fast that I cannot possibly break away, and lash the rope’s ends to the mast itself. If I beg and pray you to set me free, then bind me more tightly still.” Homer, The Odyssey

The hero’s tale is a dark and dangerous path…or is it really so?

“These dark and dangerous women are the hero’s opponents and, unlike other females, they often play a major part in the story for they have broken out of the domestic sphere and are loose in the wilderness. They threaten the hero’s rationality, self-control and purpose. They try to divert him from his goal, tempting him to linger in sexual dalliance with them. Often, like the wicked witches in fairy tales and the beautiful spies who serve the enemy in the James Bond stories, they threaten his very life.” Margery Hourihan

siren
Art: Pinterest

“Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.” Franz Kafka, The Silence of the Sirens

 

Homer’s Odyssey: Adventure Time Style.

Featured art by whaddyawant on deviantart.

I’m currently rereading Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey as part of my prep work for the GRE Subject Test in Literature. The exam is only in April (ONLY she says) but between my MA degree completion and filling out the necessary paperwork for the PhD scholarships  I’m applying for (in various exciting new countries- can’t wait to see where the Fates take me)…April seems like tomorrow in my land. I came across this fabulous artwork (above) on deviantart showcasing Homer’s characters in Adventure Time style. Need I say more?

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You can bet reading the poem is now going to be a bag fill of funpops for me. Somehow, Polyphemus doesn’t seem so terrifying anymore, right?

Out of all the characters though, Calypso is the one that steals my heart. Calypso, the devastatingly beautiful. Calypso, the cunning enchantress.

“I am all compassion,” she lies (5.212)

Calypso…the misunderstood (as far as I’m concerned). Okay, maybe witches/ goddesses/nymphs get a bad rep…

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But they can be useful…

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…when they want to be. Well…if you don’t get on their ‘ I want to destroy you.painfully.slowly.when you least expect it.’ list.

If I could rewrite The Odyssey, I’d probably keep Odysseus captive on the island of Ogygia with poor Calypso, and let her turn him immortal. However, hearts are rarely true, and so Odysseus abandons her for the greater good. Morals are important after all, and mixing mortal men with creatures of the Other side will never end well. Unless you’re Arwen and Aragorn I suppose.

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For those of you attempting the GRE Subject Test in Literature, a cheat sheet to the characters in Homer’s The Odyssey and The Iliad can be found in : Cracking the GRE in English Literature Subject Test 6th Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) by Princeton Review. But finding Adventure Time drawings to help you makes it eezy peezy livin breezy 😉

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NB Exciting new updates next week for those interested in graduate study in the U.S. I’ll share some of my tips and the general application journey one can expect (mine is from a South African point of view but I’m sure the tips can apply across continents). For any readers from Commonwealth countries, later in the year I’ll be taking a look at the UK scholarship process.

Happy writing, reading and crazy daydreaming!

poca

 

All GIFs via Giphy.