The Odyssey

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Birds Symbol Icon
Several bird omens foreshadow the final battle between Odysseus's men and the suitors. Early on in the book, two eagles tear each other to death; later, an eagle kills a goose (as in Penelope's dream); and toward the end, an eagle flies by with a swallow in its mouth. As the scene of the revenge draws closer, the birds that symbolize the suitors become smaller and weaker: the suitors' deaths become more and more inevitable. Birds, in The Odyssey, are transient messages from the gods. Athena herself takes the shape of a bird on several occasions; birds represent her sly and gentle take on divine intervention.
Get the entire The Odyssey LitChart as a printable PDF.
The odyssey.pdf.medium

Birds Symbol Timeline in The Odyssey

The timeline below shows where the symbol Birds appears in The Odyssey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...their crimes. At that moment, Zeus sends an omen of the revenge Telemachus describes: two eagles that come down from the mountains and tear each other to pieces as they fly... (full context)
Book 3
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...sleep on the ship and leave for another land at dawn; she turns into an eagle and flies away. The king is amazed; he tells Telemachus that he will never be... (full context)
Book 15
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...Telemachus to leave for home with Pisistratus. When Telemachus mentions Odysseus in his good-byes, an eagle with a goose in its claws flies by: a good omen. At Pylos, Telemachus loads... (full context)
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
...while he goes to Eumaeus farm. As he leaves the ship, they all see a hawk with a dove in its claws. Theoclymenus interprets this omen to mean good things for... (full context)
Book 19
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
Glory and Honor Theme Icon
...resumes his conversation with Penelope. She asks him to interpret a dream in which an eagle flies down from the mountains and breaks the necks of twenty geese in her household,... (full context)
Book 20
Fate, the Gods, and Free Will Theme Icon
Piety, Customs, and Justice Theme Icon
Cunning, Disguise, and Self-Restraint Theme Icon
...contest. Odysseus ignores another insult from the goatherd and speaks briefly to the cowherd. An eagle flies by with a dove in its claws, and Amphinomus convinces the suitors to stop... (full context)