In the epic the Odyssey by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald) one of the most descriptive and best written passages in the entire epic is The Slaying of the Suitors (book 23 lines1-62). This is a good passage for many reasons, one of these is that it is a part of the story that has been built up and anticipated by all. Another is the vivid imagery used by Homer. There is one more reason, this being the tone of the passage. The tone of this passage is very important to it and adds very much to it.
One of the most talked of conflicts in the Odyssey is the suitors ravaging the possessions and house of Odysseus. They were able to do this because he was presumed dead and they didnt worry about him coming to protect his house and family. The impact of the passage in question is so important because it is when Odysseus returns to his home and kills the suitors. This is a large part of the final resolution, it al begins with this, for once the suitors are gone Odysseus is free to reclaim is post in society. It also gives the reader a great feeling of elation that the suitors who are terrorizing the house of Odysseus. A quote that really gives a good idea of the overall impact and resolution that this passage gives is as follows You yellow dogs, you thought Id never make it home from the land of Troy. You took my house to plunder, twisted my maids to serve your beds. You dared bid for my wife while I was still alive. Contempt was all you had for the gods who rule wide heaven, contempt for what men say of you hereafter. Your last hour has come. You die in blood. (page 410 lines 37-43). This quote gives a good impression of the closure that is given by this passage, included for this purpose, because it give Odysseus his revenge, the suitors will die in disgrace, Odysseus has finally returned to claim his place. The dominant impression created by this passage is summed up in the quote above, vengeance, elation at the deaths of the suitors and the felling that Odysseus is back and hes not going to stand for what the suitors have done. This point of Odysseus not standing for what they had done is further driven home by the fact that Odysseus immediately turns away a bribery attempt made by a groveling Eurymakhos.
There is also a great amount of imagery in this passage that adds very much to the overall impression of the passage. Homer uses a great amount of imagery that creates a vivid image of the vengeful slaughter that took place in that hall. This is symbolized in several pieces of the passage, one of them being Now as they craned to see their champion where he lay the suitors jostled in uproar down the hall, everyone on his feet. Wildly they turned and scanned the walls in the long room for arms; but not a shield, not a good ashen spear was there for a man to take and throw. All they could do was yell in outrage at Odysseus. (page 410 lines 22-27). The vivid picture painted by Homer in this passage is enhanced by the choice of very descriptive words and phrases for example the first part of the above quote. The description of the suitors craning to see their fallen champion and jostling the room into an uproar paints a picture that one can easily see with little effort. There is another quote that gives an even clearer image to the reader than the last As they all took this in, sickly fear pulled at their entrails, and their eyes flickered looking for some hatch or hideaway from death. (page 410 lines 44-46). This quote gives amazingly high quality mental pictures to the reader, especially when Homer uses phrases like, sickly green entrails, or their eye flickered. The image is so strong of the suitors becoming mortally afraid and frantically looking the entire room over for some refuge from this force that they had never dreamed would come back. Shock and amazement, mortal fear, these are the images conjured by the words used to describe the beginning of the battle between Odysseus and the suitors.
The tone of this passage is serious, very serious indeed, the tone has many aspects in this passage. The first is vengeance, the tone of vengeance is one of the strongest in this passage, and this quote accurately portrays that tone of vengeance So much for that.Your clean-cut game is over (page 409 line 5).This overtone of vengeance is carried throughout the passage by Odysseus, nearly everything he says is said in a way such that he seems to be happy to finally see to it that the problems his family suffered through in his absence would finally be destroyed. The other tone is one of fear and shock, this tone is mainly exhibited by the suitors, being that their worst nightmare has seemingly come true. A quote that shows the shock and fear that the suitors experience is As they took all this in, sickly green fear pulled at their entrails, and their eyes flickered looking for some hatch or hideaway from death. Eurymakhos alone could speak. (page 410 line 44-47). The suitors are so shocked that they cannot even speak, save Eurymakhos, and they are so frightened that they desperately seek some sort of hiding place, this seems to add a bit of urgency to the selection. The attitudes and feelings that the characters in a passage exhibit give the passage its tone, and in this passage we see shock and fear, maybe some urgency expressed by the suitors and revenge from Odysseus. Those are the tones of this passage, they give it more life, a more vivid realization of what is happening, they add to this passages impact immensely. Giving a feeling of elation to see the suitors finally meeting their end and a feeling of urgency to this passage.
In conclusion, the passage is made infinitely better by the amount of imagery used by Homer to create a vivid picture in the mind of the reader. The tone of this passage is also very important to the overall effect that the passage is meant to have on the story as a whole. The tone is very important because it gives the passage yet another dimension that gives it even more impact in the entire book. The passage is very important in the book because it gives a beginning to the end sort of situation, the killing of the suitors prepares the reader and Odysseus for the end of the book. Where Odysseus comes home and reclaims his glory, vanquishes his enemies and ends his odyssey, that is why this passage is important to the book. This passage is enhanced by the tone and imagery used and in the end the magnitude of the events taking place are expressed very expertly by Homer.