For the most part, I enjoyed reading The Odyssey by Homer. It was hard to understand at first because of the many new characters and their part in the story. Later on, it got easier as their storylines became clearer.
The part of The Odyssey that I liked the most was actually the end when Odysseus returned to Ithaka and killed all the suitors that had been chasing his wife Penelope in his absence. Most people didn’t believe that he was Odysseus at first because he had been away for so long and looked weathered and gaunt. This part was the easiest for me to understand I think because there were no new characters introduced. In the last chapter, I also knew that all of the suitors were going to be killed by Odysseus so I was expecting it.
The rest of the book was difficult for me to understand because there were so many characters and so much going on. I also thought that the chapters were jumping between characters and that also made it harder to understand.
In blood and dust he saw that crowd all fallen, many and many slain. [421.432-433]
This quotation is right after Odysseus killed all of the suitors. There were hundreds and he killed them all with his bow and arrow. A couple of them pleaded not to be killed claiming they were innocent but Odysseus didn’t believe them. This is also a good example of imagery in the poem as it put a vivid image of bloodshed in my mind.
The setting of the poem is somewhat like our world and somewhat not. For example, we do not have an island with Kyklopses nor do we have any Seirenes. This quotation about the Seirenes is from Book 12:
Listen with care to this now, and a god will arm your mind. Square in your ship’s path are the Seirenes, crying beauty to bewitch men coasting by. [210.46-49]
Other than a couple of things I think that the setting is sort of similar to our world. In the poem, wars are fought with men in boats who have also left loved ones behind.
Sometimes the story would shock me a little like when the Kyklops started to eat all of Odysseus’ men instead of holding them in their cave.
The language of the book was written in an older language and with a different word order than what I am used to. Sometimes I feel that this made the story a little harder to follow.
We are from Troy, Akhaians, blown off course by shifting gales on the Great South Sea; homward bound, but taking routes and ways uncommon; so the will of Zeus would have it. [152.281-284]
I feel if more common English would have been used in the translation, it would have made it easier to understand.