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Personification in The Odyssey

Homer’s The Odyssey and other Greek tales often use personification more than any other kind of story. Concepts, animals, and objects were thought to be the gods taking earthly form, therefore personification was used to embody the gods on earth. The most common uses of this literary device in The Odyssey are the personification of fate, death, dawn, and sleep.

Personification Examples in The Odyssey:


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"the ships themselves understand what it is..."   (Book VIII)

Alcinous personifies the ships in his fleet, suggesting that they have both minds and memories and "know" everywhere the men go and how best to get there. This implies that the Phaeacians are singularly good sailors, a fact which in itself might suggest that they have a special relationship with Poseidon, the god of the seas.

"it groans again..."   (Book X)

Notice how Homer uses personification here to make the house groan with plenty. Personifying such things as tables or houses this was is commonplace in Greek literature.

"I shall no longer be held in any sort of respect among you gods..."   (Book XIII)

Notice how Homer depicts Poseidon with almost childish envy as he approaches Zeus. Portraying the god in this way demonstrates another another example of the anthropomorphism with which the gods have been characterized throughout the tale.

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