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Comparison of Homers Odyssey and Atwoods Siren Song

Once upon a time In a story not quite like Disneys The Little Mermaid, was a

beautiful, fair maiden lying up on the rocks near the seashore. Having golden locks of

honeycomb strands, a pasty flawless complexion, and dark blue eyes that reflected the sparkling

waters of the reef, she could not be missed. Fore, she was the most beautiful creature any man

could lay their eyes on. Lucky enough, one sailor got the chance to meet this enchanting maiden

as he passed along the ocean shore. Spotting the sailor, the maiden flapped her tail in glee and

sang her melodic tunes to get the mans attention. Turning his head toward the direction of the

noise, it is almost as if it was love at first sight. Drawing his ship toward the young maiden, it

feels as if its a wonderful, trance-like dream, only pulling him and his new found lover closer.

But keep in mind, this is not a Disney tale. His dream lasts only momentarily, before the sound

of a plummeting splash ends the story happily ever after. Unlike the classic fairy tale of a

Mermaid who falls in love with a sailor, this is the Sirens tale. Beautiful and enchanting, as they

may seem, they are monstrous creatures in disguise who lure sailors with their voices to drown

them in a shipwreck. Homers Odyssey and Atwoods Siren Song are two popular retellings of

these deceitful creatures. Although they are two different versions of the story, altered in some

aspects; the stories are very similar to each other. In both texts, Homer and Atwood use strong

diction, imagery, and tonality to illustrate the antagonistic portrayal of the Sirens.

First of all, the tone and diction in both texts demonstrate how alluring and enchanting

the Sirens are portrayed as. An example shown in Homers Odyssey is when the Sirens spot out

Odysseus and his ship passing by their waters. Out of all of the crewmates aboard the ship, who

are just hustling about and going on with their usual duties, these creatures pick out Odysseus,
whom is the only one tied to the lugger and also has no beeswax, blocking out sound from his

ears, the Sirens use this opportunity to get his attention, Come closer, famous Odysseus-

Achaeas pride and glory- moor your ship on our coast so you can hear our song (lines 14-15,

Homer). The tone used in the text reveals the Sirens to have a playful and mischievous nature.

The diction used, like in their first phrase, Come closer, Odysseus- Achaes pride and glory

demonstrate how the Sirens poke fun out of Odysseus, overriding his status and making it seem

like he is not really Achaes pride and glory. By doing this, it should furthermore gain

Odysseus attention to notice them and prove his self-worth. An example from Atwoods Siren

Song is when the Sirens try to get a unknown sailors attention by promising him some

information in return, I will tell the secret to you, to you, only to you. Come closer (lines

19-20, Atwood). The tone of this text also reveals the Sirens to be very persuasive in their

actions. The Sirens will agree to telling sailors a secret but they must come nearer to them. In

general, both texts use alluring tones and diction to express the Sirens welcoming and openness

to everyone.

In addition, the tone and and diction in both texts show how the Sirens are trickers and

devious in their own manners. For example, in Homers Odyssey, when the Sirens attempt to

persuade Odysseus into listening by promoting the so-called benefits, ...once he hears to his

hearts content sails on, a wiser man (line 18, Homer). The diction shows that Sirens like to

trick sailors with their sly words and flattering admirations. They use this technique to get the

sailors to listen to their lethal melody. For instance, in Atwoods Siren Song, when the Sirens

give their guest a hint about the reason why they sing, they say, Alas it is a boring song but it

works every time (lines 25-27, Atwood). The tone shows that the Sirens get easily tired of the
song since they seem to be constantly doing it. Mastering their art due to many practices, the

Sirens claim that their strategy works every time. To conclude, both texts use tone and diction

to prove how troublesome the Sirens are.

Lastly, diction and imagery in both texts show how the Sirens song is frankly, the last

thing one would ever wish to experience. For instance, in Homers Odyssey, when Odysseus

attempts to listen to the song without any ear blockage, Homer writes, I signaled the crew with

frowns to set me free- they flung themselves at the oars and rowed on harder, Perimedes and

Eurylochus springing up at once to bind me faster with rope on chafing rope (lines 21-24,

Homer). The painful tonality of the text shows how much misery Odysseus faces when hearing

the Sirens song. Once one has heard just a snippet of the melodic tune, they are trapped in a

endless suffering that feels as if it can go on forever and ever. In Atwoods Siren Song, it

reveals how listeners of the Sirens song end their misery, Atwood writes, ...forces men to leap

overboard in squadrons even though they see the beached skull (lines 4-6, Atwood). The text

uses imagery to express the Sirens wicked actions of luring sailors to their death. The diction

that is used, such as forces, squadrons, and beached skull all bring about a negative view

against the Sirens. Overall, both of the texts use gloomy choices of diction and imagery to

illustrate the Sirens sinful actions.

In conclusion, both versions of the mythical Greek creatures are different due to many

retellings of the story throughout generations and generations. However, they are both

comparable to one another. Using the figurative language of diction, imagery, tone, both text

shows how Sirens are monstrous creatures who lure sailors to jump overboard to their deaths.

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