english midterm essay

english midterm essay - Stephanie Zombek EN 251, Section 5...

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Stephanie Zombek EN 251, Section 5 Midterm Essay November 3, 2011 Part I: Love in the Words of Homer and Plato Love is one of those things that seems to be brought up everywhere: in the movies, on the radio, in books, within daily conversation, and discussed in classes. The definition of what love really is, is truly decided on by the person that it applies to. Love is a word that is extremely ambiguous in meaning and is difficult to come up with one specific concept of love. Within The Symposium , by Plato, and The Odyssey by Homer, love is shown through the speeches and actions of the characters. Within The Symposium, the concept of love is debated upon by a handful of speeches by certain characters in the reading. Two of those speeches that dissect the interpretation of love and it’s components are the speeches by Phaedrus and Pausanias, which can be comparable to the relationships between Odysseus and Penelope, Odysseus and the various Goddesses, and the relationship between the suitors and Penelope. Within the speech made by Phaedrus, he comes to the conclusion that love is one of the most ancient gods, and is something that is extremely honorable within the supernatural realm. He tells stories of various people who sacrifice themselves in the name of love (or for their lover) such as the tale of Alcestis and Admetus. Alcestis was willing to sacrifice herself for her lover, Admetus in the name of love. Because of this selfless act, she was graciously rewarded by the gods to make her return back from Hades. Phaedrus believes that sacrificial love is extremely respected by the gods, and they will reward those who sacrifice themselves for love. Within the
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story of The Odyssey , the type of love shared between Odysseus and Penelope is obvious sacrificial love. It is safe to assume that the love shared between these two would be highly respected by Phaedrus, and that he would consider it the type of sacrificial love that he discusses. While Odysseus is traveling back to Ithaca, he is faced with many dangerous encounters. These include one with the Cyclops, where some of his men were furiously eaten, and he barely escapes; he is almost destroyed by the laestrygonians, who are vicious cannibals; and he is basically taken hostage by a slew of goddesses. Even throughout all of this turmoil, his love for home and his beloved Penelope remain strong. The only thing that gets Odysseus through all of these events is his love for Penelope; her and Ithaca are the only things on his mind. It is this kind of sacrificial love that Odysseus has for his wife, that pleases the gods (especially Athena who assists him throughout his 20 year long struggle). The simple fact that Odysseus leaves every one of his goddess lovers, shows how important his love for Penelope is (even though one could argue that infidelity cancels this out). This could be contrasted with the “love” that the suitors have for Penelope, who all die in the end and do not even come close to ending up with
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This note was uploaded on 12/18/2011 for the course ENGL 251 taught by Professor Roberts during the Fall '09 term at Cal Poly.

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english midterm essay - Stephanie Zombek EN 251, Section 5...

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