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Thread: Paradise Lost

  1. #1
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    Paradise Lost

    I'm making my way through Paradise Lost and I'm having trouble figuring out what 2 particular lines are referring to:

    1019 Or when ULYSSES on the Larbord shunnd
    1020 CHARYBDIS, and by th' other whirlpool steard.

    I'm trying to figure out what the "other whirlpool" is. Charybdis IS the whirlpool in the Odyssey. Perhaps it's a syntax thing I'm missing.

    The 3 Glosses I could find are really of no help:

    Hughes: Charybdis is the whirlpool on the larboard side, with the still more frightful Scylla apparently on the other side.

    Kerrigan: Charybdis- dreaded whirlpool just opposite Scylla

    Dartmouth PL website: Charybdis. Whirlpool opposite Scylla, the more treacherous whirlpool.

    The Dartmouth page seems to possibly refer to a "more" treacherous whirlpool, suggesting there are 2?


    Thanks for any help,
    NathanK

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    Sorry, I can't help as I haven't read Paradise Lost but I have always wanted to.

    Anyone interested in doing a stanza by stanza discussion of Paradise Lost? That will motivate me to read it. I have difficulty understanding verse as it requires a bit more concentration.

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    Scylla was the other hazard there. Read the Odyssey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    Scylla was the other hazard there. Read the Odyssey.
    Right, but Scylla wasn't a whirlpool. So is "shunnd CHARYBDIS, and by th' other whirlpool steard" some kind of poetic image implying that Scylla was "like" another whirlpool? That they "steard" from one literal whirlpool into another metaphorical whirlpool?

  5. #5
    I believe Milton took some liberty with the original story in the Odyssey to make it fit better. That's really the only explanation I can think of since Scylla wasn't a whirlpool as you say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank View Post
    Right, but Scylla wasn't a whirlpool. So is "shunnd CHARYBDIS, and by th' other whirlpool steard" some kind of poetic image implying that Scylla was "like" another whirlpool? That they "steard" from one literal whirlpool into another metaphorical whirlpool?
    Scylla and Charybdis are a pair of hazards, that was originally a sea monster, while the other was a whirlpool is of no consequence. Milton ws describing someone steering between two great perils, steering between Scylla and Charybdis. Scylla simply became a metaphorical whirlpool in those lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    Scylla and Charybdis are a pair of hazards, that was originally a sea monster, while the other was a whirlpool is of no consequence. Milton ws describing someone steering between two great perils, steering between Scylla and Charybdis. Scylla simply became a metaphorical whirlpool in those lines.
    While I agree, personally I always felt Milton was taking it one step further in that not only were they both hazards but hazards which will pull one down and in. An imagery of being drawn into murderous depths, if you will.
    “"Begin at the beginning,", the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
    ~"Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There" by Lewis Carroll

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    Wow, those are all fantastic interpretations! They really give me something to chew on for that section.

    Wouldn't it be fascinating if we could go back in time and ask long dead authors what THEY were trying to do?

    Thanks again,
    NathanK

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    Wikipedia says:

    "Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer... Scylla was rationalized as a rock shoal ... and Charybdis was a whirlpool ..."

    Maybe Milton thought - why not rationalize Scylla as another whirlpool? Makes the line scan better.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Between..._and_Charybdis

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank View Post
    Wouldn't it be fascinating if we could go back in time and ask long dead authors what THEY were trying to do?
    I think we'd find out that most of the time we were WAY off in our interpretations from what the authors themselves were trying to relate.
    “"Begin at the beginning,", the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
    ~"Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There" by Lewis Carroll

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Culpepper View Post
    I think we'd find out that most of the time we were WAY off in our interpretations from what the authors themselves were trying to relate.
    Undoubtedly! I find it almost comical that some people are so insistent regarding "their" interpretations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank View Post
    Undoubtedly! I find it almost comical that some people are so insistent regarding "their" interpretations.
    As do I. Good to know I'm not alone in that regard.
    “"Begin at the beginning,", the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
    ~"Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There" by Lewis Carroll

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    Registered User ralfyman's Avatar
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    You're right! There's supposed to be only one whirlpool.

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