Throughout The Odyssey, Homer uses epic similes to intensify the heroic nature of a certain event to create an aesthetically pleasing image to relay the story as well as to give insights to the nature of characters. This can be seen through an example in Book V, “An octopus, when you drag one from his chamber, comes up with suckers full of tiny stones: Odysseus left the skin of his great hands torn on the rock-ledge as the wave submerged him.” (Book V, Line 443-457) Instead of simply stating Odysseus tore his hands on the rocks, Homer romanticizes the event by comparing the incident to dragging an octopus off a surface. One can almost hear the sound of flesh against rock and see the blood being mixed in the water. Along with this idealized image, Homer subliminally reminds his audience of Odysseus’ problems with the sea; by comparing him to an octopus, a natural sea creature, he proves Odysseus to be not welcome in the ocean. Through his poetic similes, Homer conveys a deeper and more picturesque nature of his characters.
In Books I through VIII of The Odyssey, the gods are portrayed as psychological forces through their actions. For example, Penelope’s first interaction with Athena comes as a dream. This can be interpreted as Athena coming to Penelope to indirectly give her ideas, hopes, and bravery. It is in this fashion that the gods meddle with the lives of mortals. Athena’s indirect directions to Telamakhos, sending him to Pylos and Sparta, also prove her willingness to help man in a psychological manner. These appearances, however, are unpredictable so that Odysseus, Telamakhos, and Penelope can make their own decisions and map out their own fates. It is in these ways that the actions of the gods are shown as psychological forces there to help move along the history of man.
Unlike the general belief that gods dominate all humans and natural powers, The Odyssey records a journey where supernatural forces frequently assist Odysseus and his son, Telemakhos. They act as spiritual supporters for the human race and regularly appear in mortal disguises. In book I, Athena taking camouflage as Mentes, approaches Telemakhos with advice. At the end of their conversation, “Mentes left him as a bird rustles upwards” (Book I, Page 11, Line 369) enabling him to realize a god had been his guest. The incident gave Telamakhos new spirit and encouragement for the pursue of his father. As a psychological aspect of hope, the gods are prayed to oftenly. For example, in the course of Odysseus’s cruise home, he on numerous hopeless occasions sent his prayers to Athena, Zeus, Poseidon and the river god for rescue and usually new alternative choices were granted to him. The sacred presence of gods provides a small possibility of reversing a doomed destiny therefore associated with hope. Moreover, the existence of Greek gods serves to distinguish righteous and sin. Unethical behavior is severely punished through hardship and death while honesty is encouraged. Over time, humans learn to fear the punishment of justice. Like during the meeting, the crowd gapes speechlessly in anxiety at a pair of eagles, which is recognized as “a deathly omen”, (Book II, Page 23, Line 161). The pair of eagles, as a symbol of Zeus foreshadows the fate of the suitors thus arising fear.
“When the bard Demodocus sings of the fall of Troy and of the slaughter that accompanied it, Odysseus weeps and Homer says that his tears were like the tears of a wife on a battlefield weeping for the death of a fallen husband. His epic simile continues:
At the sight of the man panting and dying there,
she slips down to enfold him, crying out;
then feels the spears, prodding her back and shoulders,
and goes bound into slavery and grief.
Piteous weeping wears away her cheeks:
but no more piteous than Odysseus’ tears,
cloaked as they were, now, from the company.
Even to-day, three thousand years later, as we channel-surf over so much live coverage of contemporary savagery, highly informed but nevertheless in danger of growing immune, familiar to the point of overfamiliarity with old newsreels of the concentration camp and the gulag, Homer’s image can still bring us to our senses. The callousness of those spear shafts on the woman’s back and shoulders survives time and translation. The image has that documentary adequacy which answers all that we know about the intolerable.”
—from Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “Crediting Poetry”, 1995.
Throughout the beginning of The Odyssey, Telemakhos, being naive and powerless is completely passive to the cruel behaviors of the suitors. It was only after the arrival of Athena in Book I did he begin attempting to fulfill his responsibility as a man and Odysseus’s son.
Undoubtedly, most of Telemakhos’s maturation in character is brought by the assistance of Athena. At their earliest encounter, Telemakhos was still positioned under the shadow of his father’s tales of valor instead of making his own decisions. For example, rather than considering his future actions, he stated: “If he returned, if these men ever saw him, faster legs they’d pray for”. Instead of bringing justice to the suitors, Telemakhos, still an immature boy awaits Odysseus’s return. However, Athena aroused his sense of justice when she declared: “A sensible man would blush to be among them”, and by further support and persuasion (with the story of Orestes) guided Telemakhos to his destiny.
In Book II The Hero’s Son Awakens, Telemakhos held a meeting during where he rebuked the barbaric behaviors of the suitors. “Expel them (the suitors), yes, if only I had the power, ” Telemakhos said, he showed first definite signs of protest publicly but although he is not absolutely successful, this was his first awakening to his potentials. However, the intention of searching for Odysseus was strongly suppressed by the suitors and Telemakhos, only just demonstrating capability of taking control withdraws back into his unconfident self. During Telemakhos’s helplessness, Athena, disguised as Mentor once again came to his aid. “You’ll never be a fainthearted or a fool Telemakhos, if you have your father’s spirits” reassured Athena, not only did she point him to his future course but she also organized the crew for his journey.
With the assistance of a goddess, Telemakhos finally sets sail for news of his father. Only at the start of the journey did he truly become a man. His polite but bold interlocution between Nestor and Menelaos in Book III and Book IV contrasts to his adolescence and despairing impression in Book I, displaying his growth in both intelligence and personality under the influence of Athena.
In Books I through VI, Homer shows Telemakhos’ slight transformation from boy to man through his actions. When we first meet him, Telmakhos is introduced as, “a boy, daydreaming.” He does indeed treat Athena, disguised as Mentes, to a culturally expected welcome as any polite boy would, but none more than that. Up to this point, he has done no more to rid of the suitors than aspire for them to leave. However with the benefit of Athena’s aid, Telemakhos is inspired to call a meeting, shadowing his father; the last meeting having been held twenty years prior. The title of Book II itself points to the maturing of Telemakhos, being headed, “A Hero’s Son Awakens.” The growing boy shows leadership by calling the meeting, as seen in Aigyptios’ small speech: “Who finds occasion for the assembly, now? … The man has vigor, I should say; more power to him.” After Telemakhos’ own speech and outburst of emotion, many men are shamed and others motivated to help the boy find news of his father. This proves his use of language is much like that of his father’s, making Telemakhos follow even farther in his footsteps. Even after his departure of Ithica, Telemakhos is easily spotted out as Odysseus’ son, which both demonstrates his potential to become a great man like his father and boosts his confidence to think so. Through the first four books, Telemakhos matures quickly due to his uplifted confidence from the positive interactions of others through his journey.
Please write one paragraph of an essay that responds to this question:
In Books I-IV of The Odyssey, how does Homer show us that Telemakhos is changing from a boy to a man?
You may discover three or four ways in which Homer does this; I want you to write about only one of them. For example, you may find that Homer uses the motif of green cheese: every time Telemakhos shows signs of maturity, green cheese is mentioned. In your single paragraph, focus on just the one method that you choose to write about; do not write an entire essay in which you analyse all the ways in which Homer indicates that Telemakhos is growing up.
Your evidence must consist of details from the text.
Due: Monday. I will give you tomorrow’s lesson to work on it.
Submit your paragraph as a post on this blog; I have emailed your login credentials to you.
the character of Odysseus
is a greek hero,King of Ithaka, son of Laertes, husband to Penelope, father of Telemachos, favorite of Athene, nemesis of Poseidon, and inventor of the Trojan horse. he’s the main character in this book. he is known as a master in every contending. meaning that the is good at everything.
however he is ever better at story telling, or in other words lying. in some cases the lies he tell are completely unnecessary,yet in others it’s what saved he’s life.
he went to the trojan war when being a father to a young child, coming back to his home after 20, where his only child,Telemachus is a man now, every thing changed .
odysseus is loyal, in a few situations in the book we see how all his shipmate are acting with recklessness, caring about nothing else but themselves and their needs, however, odysseus is the only one that doesn’t eat the cattle. he was as hungry as any other man in the ship but he didn’t eat it. from this example you can see that odysseus is loyal to the gods. on the other hand he isn’t rally loyal to his wife, penelope.we cheats on penelope a few times in the plot. some might say that he is loyal to his wife because he had a few opportunities to stay and get married and forget about home. it happened with the princes Nausicaa, where her father, the king, offered odysseus to marry his daughter, but odysseus replied saying that he must go back to his wife and son. it also happened with calypso, she offered his internal youth and immortality, but he dais no. when we think of these two offers we don’t understand how fool is he to say no to to be young forever , to live forever, to be a king of a magical place, where war doesn’t exist.
Odysseus turns down these offers because his bee to heeds, he was in the land of the death, he saw all these awful things, so as soon as he leaves hades we realizes how important life is and all he cares about is getting home.
Odysseus’s quick thinking helps him out of some very tough situations-as when he escapes from the cave of the Cyclops in Book 9, or when he hides his slaughter of the suitors by having his minstrel strike. he is also very convincing- foe example, he convenes Nausicaa and quickly wins her trust.
Odysseus is a hero, but many times it doesn’t feel like he is really a hero. like the gods need shaping him for what will benefit the most from the situation. they give him more strength, and a weak hero won’t need strength help from anyone. a true hero won’t need help.
Greek gods are not the same as for example the one christian or catholic god. There are a variety of greek gods, some are nature gods who control the elements of nature for example Poseidon, the god of the sea. Others are psychological gods who control things such as love and other emotions.
Through out the Odyssey traits of these Greek gods are demonstrated. They are shown to be both ruthless but also can demonstrate compassion. In parts of the book the gods are shown to actually love themselves as they know they are of higher standards than humans. Poseidon went to watch a celebration in his name, demonstrating that gods can be self-centered, which led to Zeus and Athena being able to help Odysseus. Gods are also often shown to be ruthless and unhesitant if they feel offended. An example of this is when Helios god of the sun requested that Zeus would kill all of Odysseus’s men for they had eaten his cattle, so Zeus created a storm as they were out at sea which killed everyone but Odysseus. Athena is the main demonstation in the Odyssey that gods are not just cunning and ruthless but also compassionate. In the poem Athena helps Odysseus get back home by requesting favours from Zeus and disguising herself so she can give Odysseus instructions. Not only that but she also helped his family by given them instructions and hope of Odysseus’s return.
The gods personality traits are also depicted of what kind of gods they are. Poseidon for example the god of sea, is ruthless and unforgiving, just as the sea is. The sea is rough and unpredictable, which depicts the kind of god Poseidon is. Athena and Aphrodite and both Psychological goddess’s. Athena controls wisdom and Aphrodite is the love goddess. These things are often viewed as positive things, which also depicts the kinds of goddess’s that they are, kind and compassionate.
In the poem, gods are depicted to be unforgiving. If a god gets offended by a mortal or even another god, they are shown to hold grudges for a long period of time. This is a trait that gods do not share with humans. The reason for this is that gods are immortal. Therefore gods can be mad for as long as they want without the concern that they might die angry and full of hate. Humans on the other hand don’t want to die infused with hatred and angry, therefore we are more likely to forgive.
The Greek gods know that they are of higher power than humans and this has caused them to be self centered and controlling. The gods expect humans to treat them with respect by giving them sacrifices and throwing celebrations in their honor. Because of this gods are easily offended and this has caused then to be ruthless and unhesitant towards humans. But gods can also have a connection to humans which can lead to them watching over them helping them, just as Athena helped Odysseus.
In the Odyssey, by Homer and translated by Fitzgerald. We meet a lot of Greek gods. Here are examples of the gods in the Odyssey:
The nature of the gods is split into two main groups. Nature gods and psychological gods. In this group we sort the gods by their “power”. For example Aphrodite is a psychological god, since she has the ability to make people to fall in love. Another example is Poseidon. He is a nature gods, since he is the god of the sea. Homer compares the cyclopes with Poseidon, since they are uncivilized and rough creatures.
Zeus, is represented the ‘lord’ of the gods and he has the power to do what he wants. Example is, after the shipmates of Odysseus eating Helios’s cattle, Zeus creates a storm that kills everyone except of Odysseus, whom is washed up on calypsos island. Here is an example of how power full Zeus is and nothing can stop him. In the Odyssey Zeus is being symbolized by the appearance of eagles. This symbol represents Zeus character in the book, since he looks down on all the humans and what they do.
There are also stories about the gods, where the moral represents what happens with some of the characters. for example the moral in the story of Artemis and Aphrodite, the moral is that there is will be a punishment in some form either in humiliation or by death. Humiliation is in the story, since the gods are immortal, which means that they can not die. The moral of this story links with the action of Clytemnestra. Where she is unfaithful to Agamemnon and where her punishment is death. She gets punished by having an affair with Aigisthos and murdered her husband on his homecoming.
Odysseus is the Character in the Odyssey who is strong willed and he is a human superhero or as known back then, a warrior. Odysseus was a curious man and wanted to explore the world so he decided to gather his men and sail off to sea. Unfortunately Odysseus got unlucky and was punished several times on the path way of trying to get home.
One of Odysseus’ punishments was Poseidon having rage against him and making sure that Odysseus had a tough battle on coming home, Poseidon then became Odysseus’ worst enemy. However having a goddess on his side helped him get through most of the battles. This goddess is known as Athena the god of wisdom, she disguises herself every time her and Odysseus meet because gods are something the human eye could not see or bare to see.
Odysseus is loved by many and hated by few. In his home Ithaka he has his wife Penelope, who is loyal to him by saying to the suitors that she shall marry after she finishes something she is working on. Where as at night Penelope unwinds her work and starts over in the morning.
Another person who loves Odysseus dearly is his son Telemakhos who gathers some sailors and heads off to sea to seek news of his father. Odysseus is the type of person you either hate or love, there is no in between and he is looked up upon as a human god because of his strength and intelligence. However Odysseus is also seen as just a typical human because he makes mistakes and is unfaithful at times, also he is able to be punished for his mistakes.
Even though Odysseus did have everything at calypso’s island he chose to want to go home to Ithaka for his wife which shows that Odysseus would do anything for Penelope. “Odysseus, master of land ways and sea ways”- Son of laertes who speaks so highly of odysseus. Many spoke about Odysseus because he was a story worth telling.
My favorite IOP’s were the ones about Joy Luck Club and The Odyssey but that may be biased because I like that book and poem respectively. The IOP’s were very descriptive and it went in detail. The questions at the end were interesting because it made the presentations more interactive and the presenters got to show their personal view. I realized that after doing my presentation, I needed to make it more interesting and speak more clearly. I went over time by a lot and will need to time myself more clearly next time. The presentations that were the most interesting had visual representations of what they were saying that were in bullet point form and short and to the point. I felt that the best presentations were when the presenter could answer the questions naturally at the end because it shows that they know their story inside out and has done a lot of background research.
In short, I enjoyed this book. Initially I was concerned that the expression of emotional scenes would not work out (by some sort of loss through iterations and changes in the oral tradition), but then the part of Penelope and the analogy of the dreams seemed pretty sad.
I find it interesting in this case is how Penelope has not truly written off the worth of supposedly false dreams. Though she laments and says she has lost hope, she describes them as “ivory” and as “glimmering illusion”. This would indicate that they are valuable to her, that they do give her hope and that though at this moment she laments them, she is glad for them, considering that her life has been as much pain as Odysseus’s has.
This book, I think is quite about Odysseus purity, as much as about the strandedness. Through all the struggles, Odysseus only becomes more faithful and willing to see the goal of getting home for his wife and son. Odysseus is unable to get home when the foolish are in his party, the foolish who open bags of “treasure” impatiently, who take drug-like substances as a compromise and lack restraint. It highlights who Odysseus is: Uncompromising, patient, cunning and strong. To me this leaves question as to the original purpose of the tale: Was the tale purely for enjoyment, or was it supposed to give people a model to strive to be in lieu of any actual model with these qualities.
Before we started reading “The Odyssey” I was worried about the language of the book because of the rumors I had heard about it from friends that have previously read it as part of their course. However now that I have read it and I look back on it, I actually really enjoyed the book. All the unusual names of the people and the islands did confuse me at first, but the sheet that Mr. McKnight gave us helped a lot with understanding the book as a whole. Even though I didn’t understand the text word for word, I was able to interpret what was said through certain key words; therefore the language didn’t cause any big problems. I did however make a few misinterpretations of what was being said, which was clear through some of my quiz answers, however the feedback I got from the quizzes helped me correct my mistakes and put me on the right path. In conclusion I really enjoyed the book and I recommend those who have not read it yet to go down to your closest bookshop and buy it. It’s a must read! And that’s coming from someone who hates reading.
I thought this essay was pretty well laid out. It was easy to understand and to the point. Averil liked it a lot I think…
Erm… I guess the most interesting part was that there were 3 ‘paradises’ and ‘temptations’. I never thought of it this way, and it shows how Odysseus goes through different stages of learning. I also liked how it was later referred to normal humans and how it could be linked. Reading this essay was kind of like looking at Odysseus from a distance so I think I was able to seem notice him in a new way.
Mr Macknight wrote that people would be tempted to try the lotus eaters at least once. I thought of this kind of like drugs / smoking / alcohol in our life. Who wouldn’t want to try it just once, and then give it up afterwards.
I honestly thought that this essay was very interesting in terms of the points it raises. We were discussing about it in class, and Charlie brought up the point about the essay taking a morbid point of view on the whole poem. While it is true that the essay is about the issue about life and death, and that does seem pretty morbid, I feel that it is more about someone finding his way after having fallen down countless times. This essay on Paradise and Death tells us about the pure meaning of life, and how we are given countless chances to pick ourselves up and carry on, looking at life with the right perspective. Just like odysseus, who made mistakes and all, and had a final wake up call when he visited Hades. Only then did he turn his life around and started having a great outlook on life, never giving up. Even with the right attitude, he still faced challenges. Even more terrible and difficult times lay ahead, but he never gave up, never thought of letting go.
Yes, it is kinda morbid now that I think about it further. However, arn’t we all morbid? Do we not think about life and death as well as ways and means to escape the lives of pain we live? Life is a pain, and pain’s the only way we know that we’re living. I think this part was really interesting too. It shows us a very real perspective of life, one that we’re very uninclined to see. I feel that this essay very aptly puts together all the main points of the poem, analysing what we can see through Odysseus’s trials and sufferings.
I really honestly quite enjoyed reading this essay. (and i’m not just saying this because Mr MacKnight wrote it).
I agree with many of your points for example the fact that the Odyssey really displays a lot on human nature and how it hasn’t changed over 3000 years even though much of the world and society has changed. We no longer have the etiquette rules that we perform to strangers and no longer give gifts out the random people. However, we still exchange gifts to show peace and wishes for alliance. So many things have changed and yet we still don’t seem to change at all at the same time. It sounds contracdictory but I don’t know how else to explain it.
My favorite part about this essay is “he is fully conscious of life’s sorrows will he be fully conscious of its joys.” Even though I think this might not be the reason he decides to give up the temptations I can see the reasoning behind it.
I learnt a lot from this essay and not just about the Odyssey but also how to structure an essay and the transitions. I’ve always had a hard time with writing transitions and now I understand more about how to make them sound more natural and fit into the essay.
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.
Today in class we read Mr. MacKnight’s essay on the temptations of Odysseus that come up throughout the Odyssey. The essay does a great job at giving the reader insight into the mind and personality of Odysseus. One of the descriptions of Odysseus that I most liked was the one of him being a man who wants to try and experience all that the world has to offer. I would, for the most part agree with this description of Odysseus. From this Mr. MacKnight goes on to connect this to the notion that living unconsciously is synonymous with death and that it is for this reason that Odysseus chooses to live life to the fullest. Not only is this analysis befitting for the Odyssey but it also mentions a philosophy that can be held in the lives we live in the real world. However there is a contradiction to the belief that Odysseus wants to experience absolutely everything. When Odysseus comes to the island of the Lotus Eaters he is shown as having no temptation to eat the lotus. Mr. MacKnight writes, “How many of us would not be tempted to try the lotos, just once?” Surely a man wishing to live life to the fullest would have the same thought. Therefore, there are some restriction that Odysseus imposes on himself – on his supposed philosophy. This is understandable because such recklessness could lead quite easily to death and it is Odysseus’ objective to get home – or so it seems at various times… Another point completely which is also addressed in the essay to some extent.
I’m pleased with myself. I actually liked this book. Plus, it wasn’t even written in ‘proper English’! Oh yeah, and it was a poem, not novel! I think there are different things that we notice when reading it by ourselves and in class. When I read it I just thought of it as really cool. (Especially the second half of it.) Odysseus is such a great hero, he’s loving and he seems to be pretty perfect at almost anything, such a lovable character. (To me anyway.) I didn’t really notice too many flaws either.
Yet, when we talk about it in class and discuss it further, other things are found. Why would Odysseus stay at Kirke’s island for 1 whole year? How could such a great hero get his own shipmates into trouble with the Kyklopes? Why would he lie so much? Although I did notice some of these things when I was reading by myself, I might have tried to ignore them! Anyway, it’s interesting because there are many possible answers to why Odysseus did these things. However none of the answers seem 100% correct, as these mistakes he makes seem so unlike the Odysseus that is known to the world. Such a famous person, yet he makes small obvious mistakes.
I also liked how Odysseus seems like such a great person, yet he still has things to learn. How he learnt about death in Hades, for example. It is probably because he is so adventurous that he would be able to become such a hero though. Without all this experience and emotion, would he have been able to become such a great man? Odysseus weeping (and Telemakhos) is quite personal to me. I think I quite like this way that people can be open about their crying and it isn’t really seen as a weakness. I thought the book showed strength in a whole different aspect. Since having fame is one of the most important things, Odysseus tries really hard to go on all these crazy journeys to gain it. Ah- This is just, I don’t know how to say.
When I first thought about all these ‘dumb’ things Odysseus did, I was quite disappointed in him and my image of him broke a bit. Now thinking about it from a distance, this might actually be good. I mean, it seems more realistic and achievable? It’s as if it’s giving people hope, telling them how people make mistakes and even heroes are not perfect. Maybe it emphasizes how even with these problems, people still like Odysseus so much. (Gosh, if such a hero was this ‘bad’, I don’t want to know what the ‘normal’ people were like.)
The Odyssey has been amazingly interesting. It has been interesting seeing how Odysseus travelled home and how he finally reunites with his family. Originally, I thought that the entire story was centered on his reaching home rather than the journey itself. But now I realise that the poet, Homer, focused more on the journey than the actual end point, even though the ending was a magnificent one where Odysseus is the hero and kills all the bad guys (suitors and wayward maids). Perhaps it’s just my own interpretation, but as I think about The Odyssey, I feel that it very closely relates to present day life, where the journey is more important than the end point.
Odysseus makes many wrong decisions (in my opinion), choosing to stay at places with beautiful goddesses who offered him immortality. However, after he visits Hades, Odysseus fully appreciates the value of life. He no longer considers suicide, and works on getting home as soon as possible.
I really like the whole poem. It touched me on a personal level. The whole story of Odysseus getting home was interesting, and through his actions and decisions, I learnt a lot. The whole issue of gender inequality and fate was fascinating too.
After finishing the Odyssey by Homer, I’ve discovered several interesting points that I wasn’t aware of before reading the actual version of it.
Firstly I’ve found the weeping of Odysseus particularly interesting. He is constantly portrayed as sly, clever man who has the support of Athena, even seeming like a demi-god. Odysseus’ strength and tactic is clearly shown by the scene in which all 108 suitors are killed by Odysseus and his proponents. However, on Calypso’s island and with Phaikians, Odysseus weeps without hesitation, which contrasts with his bold character. Also, when he sleeps with Kirke and remains on her island for a year we can see that he can be moved by the women. Even though he is persistent and seemingly unconquerable character, I could see his humane aspect through these events.
Secondly I’ve thought about the question that we’ve talked about in the beginning: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In Greek mythology, it seems as if the gods’ decisions have major impact on one’s life. For Odysseus and Telemakhos, Athena is always beside them and guides them throughout the whole journey. However, Odysseus pierced the eye of Poseidon’s son Kyklops and displayed hubris. So even though he is a great hero and is good-natured, he still goes through hardship because of god’s dislike. But gods were powerless in front of the death: they couldn’t bring back dead ones, and the greatest character that distinguishes human and god is mortality and immortality. This raised up a question of whether Hades (god of the underworld) has ability to control deaths and hence is the most powerful god in that sense. Moreover, I could see the importance of fame and how hubris resulted from it. Since human are mortal beings, they want to gain fame in order to be remembered by others eternally- the only way to live forever. When people gain more fame, it’s prone for them to display hubris, making them sound as if they are more than what they actually are or even surpassing a god. This seems to be the reason why hubris was regarded as one of the biggest sins.
Therefore, Odyssey really broadened my knowledge of Ancient Greek society and culture. It also taught me various details of the Odyssey I was previously unacknowledged of.
I enjoyed the Odyssey a lot. The aspect that I most enjoyed was the language and artful poetry that tied the story together. This made the book very pleasant to read and some particular passages are still ingrained in my mind because of how striking and vivid they were. One such passage was where the Kyklops was nom nom nom’ing on some of Odysseus’ men and it was described how their brains and broken bones spattered and crunched out of the mouth of the Kyklops. The story surrounding the Kyklops was perhaps my favorite in The Odyssey because it was exciting and it illustrated a lot of Odysseus’ best qualities: intelligence, caring, courage, strength and also his hubris. Another great scene was, of course, where Odysseus slays the suitors with Telemakhos and company. The whole story is leading up to this event and there is foreshadowing aplenty. Needless to say, the scene is full of bloodshed and lives up to expectations.
When I was younger I read a shortened version of Odysseus’ adventures and this book left out the story of Telemakhos. The story of Telemakhos is also a great part of the Odyssey because we see Telemakhos go out into the world to find his identity and become a man. In essence it is a simple coming of age story but it proves to be, in some ways, even more meaningful than the epic adventures of his father Odysseus.
After finally finishing the story of Odysseus and his 20 year journey to finally get home, I was a bit surprised to see how short it was. Of course, a 400 page poem is not ‘short’ but to think that a 20 year journal can be summed up like that is pretty scary. Also, most of it was description of quite similar things so it makes it more scary.
My favorite part of the book is definitely wen he gets back from Phiakia because I think his plan to find out who is the good and the bad is quite clever but at the same time I don’t really understand some of the things he does. For example, I don’t understand why he can’t tell Penelope before he kills all the suitors. Isn’t Penelope supposed to be the smartest woman at that time? So, shouldn’t Odysseus trust Penelope enough to tell her?
Overall, I really enjoyed The Odyssey (surprisingly) and it has changed my view on greek mythology.
I really enjoyed the story about Kyklopes. Where Odysseus’s cleverness and caring self is shown even more. I thought this story was really familiar, I think I heard it somewhere before. It was so cool to have ‘know’ what was going on, or being reminded of it again. Odysseus is just so clever! I also liked the description about how he had to watch his his companions being eaten, while he couldn’t do anything about it. This made me think about heroes more. Even though he couldn’t do anything, the feeling that he felt must have been good enough to be that of a hero’s. It was so interesting to see that Kyklopes was Poseidon’s son! Now everything made sense!! It was also amazing to see Odysseus shout out his true identity to Kylopes afterwards. It’s just so cool!
Kirke’s story was a bit weird. I guess it was okay though. A bit disappointed in Odysseus, for staying there for a year, it’s kind of ridiculous. Poor Penelope… The story of Hades and the shades was not that interesting. However, after we talked in class it seemed more useful. Now that Odysseus had been to the dead side, he felt more to life, and didn’t give up so easily anymore. The part about Seirenes and Skylla was fine… Odysseus tried to save people, but couldn’t, that’s a bit sad. If only other people weren’t so weak….
In these books, Odysseus is finally near getting home. Odysseus’s ability is seen more and more. How Alkinoos just says that he can marry his daughter Nausikaa. As Mr Macknight said, Alkinoos is either a stupid guy, or Odysseus is an amazing guy! The other part I noticed was Odysseus’ crying. This is very interesting, as Telemakhos was also crying at the assembly he opened. I learnt that in this culture it was not embarrassing or ‘wimpish’ to cry. I thought it was pretty cool, and liked me like the Odysseus character more. He was strong, but was able to show his weaker side as well. It proved how much he missed his family.
Chapter 9~12 describes Odysseus’s journey after the Trojan War such as encountering Kyklops and visiting Kirke’s island. If the first few chapters have built up the image of Odysseus through Telemakhos and the rumors that he heard about Odysseus, these chapters described the actual experiences of Odysseus and acknowledged readers about his qualities and talents. The part that intrigued me the most was when Odysseus referred to himself as “Nohbdy”. Even though Kyklopes was less intelligent, it still showed Odysseus’ talent of deception. Also, I’ve found it interesting how gods are helping Odysseus’ journey out. For example, Hermes helps Odysseus to not be charmed by Kirke’s portion, and goddesses like Kirke advises him of his future courses to reach Ithaka. Even though Odysseus is mortal, he almost seems bold and flawless. For example, he drags his crews who were attracted by lotos eaters back to the ship. However, some gods or goddesses, even though they are immortal and omniscient, seem to have flaws. (ex: Aphrodite and Ares’ affair) This seemed to show how gods and humans are similar.
In The Odyssey from books nine to twelve we see Odysseus tell the tale of how he came to the Phaiakians. The stories about all of the different islands him and his men found include very supernatural and mystical occurrences. I book 9 Odysseus begins telling of his journeys when questioned by Alkinoos. Therefore, most of the content of the books 9 to 12 is simply Odysseus reciting his story orally. Because of this I wondered whether Odysseus could have simply made up the whole journey. In class we discussed how Odysseus tells a lot of false tales in The Odyssey (usually upon first meeting a stranger) so as to keep his identity a secret until he fully understands his surroundings. With the Phaiakians Odysseus tells his stories so as to collect lots of gold and other treasured goods to take back with him to Ithaka. This makes it all the more likely that Odysseus could have made up the stories. However, we as readers can never know so we must simply take the adventures explained in books 9-12 for what they are – really good stories.
The Odyssey has been pretty interesting so far. I still get very confused with the gods and goddesses, the mortals, who’s the good guy and bad guy. As a whole, I enjoy how straightforward the book is, in the sense that the main story line is Odysseus getting home and he’s telling the story of how he what he goes through on his way home. It’s kind of confusing, especially when we see how we’re reading a story within a story.
I’m really bad with the different names of places and people. I should probably get down to drawing a mindmap of sorts to get all the names and places down.
One thing I find really intriuging is that Odysseus cries openly. I will say straight off that I don’t think it’s wrong for guys to cry, and crying does NOT make a guy a ninny. It’s good that he is able to express his feeling. However, in the poem, Odysseus weaps a number of times into his cloak. It seems a tad too dramatic and unnatural for a great leader of men, a warrior to cry again and again. So far, this is the only part that really gets me.
Overall, book 5-12 have been a pleasure to read, except for the names and my bad memory!
In these 3 books, we learn more abut the culture difference and how it differs from our society but at the same time certain aspects still continue on to our society now. For example, the etiquette that they practice to strangers is not common nowadays because it seems over friendly and people are more guarded. However, presents that act as a peace offering can be seen in certain cultures now and it is commonly accepted as a universal peace sign to exchange gifts. Also we see that certain colours represent different things. For example, purple represents royalty as we can see now in Thai culture. The people also introduce themselves as so and so’s son or daughter which is to keep their parent’s name alive. This is to make sure that a person is not forgotten. However, this can only be done because the population was small compared to now. Now, we have family names to identify ourselves as part of a family. Also today when we talked about fame being because of a person’s ego. I don’t think it is necessarily true. I think we have similar purposes as they did in Ancient Greece. Some may want to be remembered after they are dead. This can be argued to say whether it is because that person has a big ego or they have insecurities. Is this not true for the warriors in Ancient Greece? Wy is it that people can be remembered now after they die as opposed to in Ancient grecian times?
We also read about the Phaiakian’s and I see it as sort of a utopia in Ancient Greece. However the fact that its so perfect and paradise-like makes the journey from there back to Ithaca seem dream-like. We also see how Odysseus is very clever when he solves his problems. But at the same time some of his actions confuse me. For example, he turns around and tells Kyklopes what his name is. THat seems kind of stupid to me because if he hadn’t done it, then he would have gone home safely and Poseidon wouldn’t really have found out.
So far, its a really good book, or poem to be more specific and hopefully it will end on a good note too.
So like Anita, when i heard we were going to be reading the Odyssey this year, I was filled with dread. A story about some guys life? did not sound interesting in the slightest!! However, since starting it, I do have to say I am finding myself enjoying it. I’ve been reading it in bed, on buses, in the bath, just generally reading it and re-reading the parts that didnt make sense the first time!
The names of the characters utterly confuse em, so i’ve found myself giving them really generic names (things like bob, tom, fred etc), which is helping me understand the book a little more, although I get worried I’ll end up writing about them instead of using the actual characters name!
I’m enjoying the story, as I said, yet I’m also quite amazed by the gods and goddess’s and their ability to rule the mere mortals.
Okay so I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book at all. However, I must admit – it is pretty good. Well, better than I thought anyway! (Luckily). Phew. So the main thing is that I found out if you don’t pay attention to what your reading, you won’t understand anything. Especially with this book. I read one chapter half sleeping… And didn’t understand anything of it. Thus I have to pay attention to things now. The other point is that there are so many names. I’m serious, it’s better now, but at the start of it, I was like ‘what? Who’s that?’ at every name. I bet if they took out the names of characters, this book would be half the length!
Telemakhos (‘Tacos’ for Averil), is a pretty cool character. I find that I can kind of relate to his feelings, although I do know who my father is… Just the feeling… How he has to live up to Odysseus, how he hardly even knows who his is father by heart, he only heard about it from other people. It’s quite sad, and I like sad stories, so this is good. It’s pretty crazy how’s he’s only 20 and going on this journey already. It just makes him seem even more heroic! How a poor little kid — (transforms)–> hero! Great story so far. Got to get use to the vocabulary and language though. Plus the concentration needed to get through the pages!
I am enjoying this book more than I anticipated. One thing that sticks out to me is how the gods don’t seem all-knowing , all-powerful (hence how Proteus was defeated) or all-seeing (hence how Athena has decided to help Odysseus w)hile Poseidon is in Africa). It also sticks out that they’re not all portrayed as benevolent (Poseidon).
Book 1~4 of Homer’s Odyssey outlines Telemakhos’ attempt to search his father Odysseus who failed to come back to Ithaka after the Trojan War. I’ve discovered some traces of oral literature which are repeated phrases in the story such as “grey-eyed Goddess (p. 3)” and “When primal Dawn spread on the eastern sky her fingers of pink light (p.19)”. I ‘ve thought that there would be significance to these phrases, but ultimately discovered that these are just repetitions to emphasize the characteristic of protagonists in the poem or to make the following content more memorable. Also, the cultural aspect shown in the Odyssey was foreign to me. There is certain way to greet strangers: offering them food, asking their background, and giving presents. I found this greeting very intriguing since it’s hard to show such hospitality to total stranger from the contemporary perspective. Furthermore, people’s various response towards Gods raised the question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Some parts suggest that God is omniscient such as Athena who knows where Odysseus is, and disguises as the Leader. However, some parts reveal that even Gods are powerless in front of death. Hence, book 1 to 4 not only provided background information about Telemakhos and Odyssey, but also introduced some themes that are shown throughout the poem.
i was actually quite worried when we started reading the odyssey, because i have heard many rumours of it being a nightmare of a read. However once we started reading it, i realised its actually not that bad of a book. The Greek names of the cities and the people really confuse me, however the sheet we were given in class helps me understand the book as a whole a lot more. I would be wrong to say its an easy book, however i thought Dante’s Inferno was a lot more challenging. However i dont really see the point in writing a story in the form of a poem, it doesn’t make me think of it any differently. Overall im happy with the book we chose
The Odyssey has about a dozen names I can’t prounounce, let alone remember. I think this poem isn’t really as terrible as I thought it was as it actually tells a story. It’s interesting to read a story through a poem, thought I dont get why it couldn’t just be written as a story to begin with. I dont think it’s sensible to say that ‘The Odyssey ‘ is an easy read, but it’s definately easier than Dante.
I’m really enjoying how the goddess change into different forms. It’s like magic. And it’s also really interesting to see how there’s this whole story behind each character. It’s more like studying and memorising history than it is reading english.
I am really enjoying The Odyssey thus far. I have really taken a liking to the style that it is written in and how it has the feel of a story being told orally. There are numerous parts in the language that signify this with the repeated introductions to characters like ‘grey eyed Athena’ or ‘rosy fingered Dawn’. As far as the actual story goes, it is developing nicely and I am looking forward to the introduction of Odysseus and how he and Telemhakos will meet up.
The Odyssey is actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. At first, hearing someone say it was a gigantic poem about 400 pages long just doesn’t exactly sound appealing to everyone but the characters are interesting and its nice to see that even though as times change there are some characteristics that stay the same. For example, Telemakhos is actually just a child that wants to gain the aproval of his parents and it is especially difficult when both his parent’s are such amazing people that are seemingly able to do anything. It is especially hard for him to relate to his father because he has never met him yet everywhere he goes people say that Telemakhos looks like his father and tells him tales of his father’s great heroic deeds. However there are also certain aspects that are unfamiliar to those that do not live in that generation. For example the notion of inviting in strangers with proper etiqueet without knowing even their names. Nowadays people say things like, I know this about him, yet I don’t even know his last name. But in the times of Odysseus, people offered strangers food, drinks and baths to strangers and they don’t know their names either. The oddest thing is that this was considered normal and proper etiquette. It also seems very odd to me how Telemakhos or Penelope doesn’t just close the door and not let the suitors in or just kick them out. In reality, it wouldn’t really be that hard to physically move them out.There are also certain things that some of the characters do that puzzle me. For example, why does Helen drug them just to tell them all her secrets and recap what she did wrong? Just don’t tell them in ther first place if you want them to forget!! Maybe there’s a reason behind that but who knows.
My thoughts on these first 4 books is that the names absolutely boggle me. There are so many different names and nothing is similar; I am following the story better with the use of our name sheet. This is my favourite book so far since it is not a “chick flick” and there will be action later on. So all in all I hope I don’t get confused with the order of the books.