Response- Paradise and Death

After reading “Paradise and Death”, I’ve realized a lot of details that are linked to death and paradise. For example, the Phaikians just seemed like amiable people who welcomed Odysseus and sent him back to Ithaka. However, I’ve learnt that the Phaikia might be an example of Paradise which tempts Odysseus. Alkinoos suggests Odysseus to marry his daughter, and even himself admits that “there is no boon in life more sweet (p. 145)”. However, the Phaikians are not conscious of ‘pain’: they have no internal conflicts and thinks that war is caused in order for an interesting story to be made. This in fact suggests that the reason why Odysseus is willing to give up all pleasure of immortality, deities and heavenly life is to bring back his fame and to be eternally remembered by others. Odysseus also cherishes Penelope and his hometown Ithaka more than any other places he went since he realized that everything mortal would eventually disappear and die.
It was also new to me that there were ironic qualities within this poem. Odysseus chooses Penelope over Kirke and Kalypso, the immortals, because Penelope will eventually die. Also, he is offered immortality by Kalypso. This actually means death since living a god’s life with limitless time and without pain is equal to death as a mortal.

However I’ve felt that the Odyssey is overcomplicated by various analysis of the poem. However, it might be because the culture and inner thoughts of the poet is already reflected within the poem. Since comtemporary readers are not aware of the past Greek culture and thoughts completely, we need analysis in order to appreciate and sympathise with the events and characters within the poem.

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