25 April 2018
The Odyssey is the epic that lives it life through ages, has been read over many time, digging its way into our hearts, becoming an instant classic. Odysseus and the adventures of his homecoming create a much different tale than Homer’s other work, the lliad, provided. The story is not just about an epic man trying to get their power forces on kleos, but a man with uses his intelligent not an armament to fight.
The Odyssey is not only a great adventure of epic, romantic, but truly showing its realistic in its depiction of human nature and a brilliantly story teller. Homer lays out has a unit way that today we could learn how his plot and each character play a role in his lay out. Most of Homer work are composed almost several thousand years ago and that mean our mind of sensibilities have change over time. The key to understand this story is that you must putting yourself in the ancient mindset and understanding it. Once you start to understand how Homer’s lay out you find it not so difficult to understand that it not so ancient at all. It eventually absorbs you right into the tale.
Homer’s story is way ahead of his time in a way of telling the story. The most standard approach to an epic story is to start in medias res in the thick of the story, as the same author does with the Iliad. This story Homer does not set off Odysseus at the fall of Troy and picking up at the end of Iliad, but he starts at the end of the story.
We’re shown the state of Odysseus’s home and family, with suitors for his wife Penelope despoiling his estate. His son Telemachus is sent by the gods to find his father. The emotional growth in the paralleling stories of Telemachos and Odysseus holds a key to Homer’s storylines. When Telemachos travels to Sparta he meets Menelaus, Odysseus’ friend from the war. When Menelaus mentions Odysseus, Telemachos first tries to be strong and continued to hide about his identity but breaks down and cries, showing that he has lots to learn from his father. Telemachus receive a message about his father Odysseus is still alive and believe it was a fake rumor and state that “Eurymachos, there is no more hope of my father’s homecoming. I believe no messages any more, even should there be one, nor pay attention to any prophecy, those times my mother calls some diviner into the house and asks him questions” (413-416). Telemachus end up knowing that his father is been on the island of the Calypso. With the help and hindrance of various gods, Odysseus escapes from the island, but end up washed up in to another island where he stays anonymously.
Here where are the adventures start of: visiting the land of the Lotus-Eaters, fighting the Cyclops, escaping the cannibals, descending into Hades, outsmarting Circe who turned his crew to swine, evading the Sirens who lure sailors to their death, passing between the monsters Scylla and Charybdis, being captured by Calypso (Peter T. Struck, 2009). The rest of the tale concerns the homecoming of Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, and his bloody revenge on the interlopers. Plus, a little extra excitement at the end as a civil war erupts before the gods can impose a peace. It’s all exciting stuff. But significant too in how it depicts a hero. Odysseus is not just an honest, just, god fearing action hero. He’s crafty, a trickster. Odysseus was a man of wit and courage, one who was unfortunate enough to anger the god “Aias, son of stately Telamon, could you then never even in death forget your anger against me, because of that cursed armor? The gods made it to pain the Achaians, so great a bulwark was you, who were lost to them. We Achaians grieved for your death as incessantly as for Achilleus the son of Peleus at his death, and there is no other to blame, but Zeus; he, in his terrible hate for the army of the Danaan spearmen, visited this destruction upon you.”‘ (Books 11, 553-560). Even with his unlucky fate of a long homecoming, he was blessed with a loyal and loving family, a family that highlight the various aspect of his personality. All of these characters molded Odysseus, just as he molded them though the events of the Odyssey. They reflect his growth as a character with their own trials and tribulation. Odysseus displays the vengeful anger and self-righteousness that mixed with promiscuity, greed, and single-minded self-interest—and tenderness, especially in regard to his wife and son. It’s a complex mix but it works. Much more interesting than the more completely self-righteous characters of the Iliad. One of the confusing but also a nice thing about this tale is, in a contrast with the Iliad, is that god is really relax. Apart from Athene, who gives Odysseus a hand now and then, most of them are not constantly interfering. They leave the mortals to work out their problems in their own bloody and lovable ways. The tale Odyssey have put many other off guard is how Homer’s use stock phrases, like how Homer describe the water is always “the wine-dark sea”, and some character arrive with the same adjective before their name. Not all homer’s translations retain this repetition, but if it ever shows up in the stories, bear in mind that it means to be recited, and perform an image to the story teller and the audience’s impression.
Peter T. Struck. “Timelines of Homer’s Odyssey” Greek and Roman Mythology, 25 April 2018. http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/homer/index.php?page=timelines
H. L, Havell. “The Odyssey” Gutenberg eBook #13725, 12, October 2004. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/13725/13725-h/13725-h.htm
Heather Sebo. “Ajax” La Trobe University, 25 April 2018. https://www.latrobe.edu.au/marketing/assets/podcasts/subjects/mds1ang201317.pdf