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Visiting the Kingdom of the Dead: The Odyssey Essay Sample

Visiting the Kingdom of the Dead: The Odyssey Pages
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And I saw Tantalus too, bearing endless torture.
He stood erect in a pool as the water lapped his chin – parched he tried to drink, but he could not reach the surface, no, time and again the old man stooped, craving a sip, time and again the water vanished, swallowed down, laying bare the caked black earth at his feet – some spirit drank it dry. And over his head leafy trees dangled their fruit from high aloft, pomegranates and pears, and apples glowing red, succulent figs and olives swelling sleek and dark, but as soon as the old man would strain to clutch them fast a gust would toss them up to the lowering dark clouds.(11.669-680)

I chose this passage because I thought it had great imagery. I also thought that this passage really showed the torture the spirits in “The Kingdom of the Dead” had to go through. Tantalus wants to drink water, but every time he bends down to drink, the water would evaporate. Then, if he tries to reach for a pomegranate or a pear from the fruit tree, the tree would move the fruit to where he could not reach it. It seemed like an interesting passage to make a representation out of.

The setting is significant to the theme in that it shows temptation. Temptation is shown through the whole book for example when Odysseus and his crew sail pass the Siren’s sweet song where Odysseus wanted to crash his ship on their island. Another example is Odysseus boasts to Polyphemus and he seems reluctant to leave Calypso’s island.

I designed the setting to where you can tell Tantalus is in the Kingdom of the Dead (the flames surrounding him show it) and I made it where Tantalus is trying to drink, but the water is receding so he cannot drink water. Also, I made a fruit tree of to the side to represent the fruit tree he was trying to grab fruit off from. This all shows the temptation of Tantalus to drink water and grab fruit even though he knows he cannot reach the fruit or drink the water. I used a shoebox and cut open a side to easily show the setting I’m representing.

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