The Odyssey – Personal Response

Similar to all the ancient Greek literature we’ve covered in this course, I really enjoyed reading The Odyssey. Fitzgerald’s translation of Homer’s epic poem was very fanciful and melodic, making for a pleasant and insightful reading experience. The continual themes of hubris and the consequences of rejecting the gods have been a driving force that pushed a religious narrative I hadn’t expected but surprisingly enjoyed, despite not being incredibly religious. But the topics I enjoyed most prominently were Odysseus’s wisdom, his deception and trickery.

Throughout the story, we’re told that Odysseus is the wisest man on earth. His abilities only get shown off later in the poem. One of my favourite examples of this is Odysseus’ escape from Polyphemos. Odysseus sets up a very clever trick where he lies to the Kyklopes about his name, calling himself Nohbdy. Later, when Polyphemos calls out for the help of other Kyklopes, the following occurs, “Out of the cave / the mammoth Polyphemos roaded in answer: / ‘Nohbdy, Nohbdy’s tricked me, Nohbdy’s ruined me!’ / To this rough shout they made a sage reply: / ‘Ah well, if nobody has played you foul / there in your lonely bed, we are no use in pain / given by great Zeus. Let it be your father, / Poseidon Lord, to whom you pray” (p. 157). This is one of the first big examples of Odysseus’ trickery and certainly not the first time he’s hidden his identity.

Watching Odysseus enter a new environment throughout the poem is one of my favourite aspects, as we get to watch his mindset evolve. Passages where he creates lies to hide his identity or discern what move is the best one to do in any given situation like when he chooses not to embrace Nausikaas knees are incredibly amusing to watch.

She faced him, waiting. And Odysseus came, debating inwardly what he should do: / embrace this beauty’s knees in supplication? / or stand apart, and, using honeyed speech, / inquire the way to town, and beg some clothing? / In his swift reckoning, he thought it best / to trust in words to please her—and keep away; / he might anger the girl, touching her knees. / So he began, and let the soft words fall: / “Mistress: please: are you divine, or mortal? (p. 103).

This thorough consideration before making a move is really entertaining and reminds us that Odysseus is human. He has to think through his actions, he doesn’t just automatically know what to do.

I know that the Oddessy is going to be a poem I’ll remember for the rest of my life, even if I never get to read it ever again. I can say with confidence that I’m going to continue to reflect and bring new meaning to the story as I grow up, whether I like it or not. I believe this of all the greek literature we’ve covered. I know that someday in the far future when I’m stuck on a film project, unsure of where to take it, Odysseus will help me through it the journey, even if I lose some men along the way. It’s a comforting thought.

Grudges, Fear, and Misogyny in The Odyssey

I enjoyed Homer’s The Odyssey because of its commentary on topics that are still relevant today. The depictions of attitudes towards women and relationships between men and women are still applicable today. This is conveyed through both symbolism and spoken dialogue.

A prominent example of misogyny can be found on page 212, “…a newborn whelp’s cry, though she is huge and monstrous. God nor man could look on her in joy.” (pg. 212). The quotation describes two female beings, one a whirlpool, and one a six-headed, man-eating monster. Both of them are bent of harming Odysseus and his men. This symbolizes “female paranoia” by males. This chronic fear of women is deeply rooted within The Odyssey. This depiction is a primary example of this fear. Women, symbolized by a man-eating monster, are painted as manipulative and faithless beings. Further, not only are women portrayed as manipulative, but also used as pawns of both mortal men and gods. Poseidon, the god who Odysseus had angered, uses female entities as a tool for his spite towards Odysseus. This passage exists as an example of male gods asserting their power over female gods, furthering misogynistic aspects of the poem. Another prominent example of misogyny occurs in the shade of Agamemnon’s speech, “But that woman, plotting a thing so low, defiled herself and all her sex, all women yet to come, even those few who may be virtuous.” (pg. 199). This quotation of course refers to Klytemnestra’s betrayal and murder of her husband. Perhaps the most infamous example of misogyny in The Odyssey, Agamemnon openly discusses his fear, grudge, and distrust against women. Agamemnon makes broad generalizations against all women, based on the actions of Klytemnestra. For cultural context, many women were seen as property by their husbands in Ancient Greece. The feeling of distrust and betrayal stems from Agamemnon’s conformity to this belief. As a result, the notorious speech slanders women, not exclusively because of Klytemnestra’s actions, but because Agamemnon is insecure. According to social norms of the time, men were supposed to be dominant in their marriages. This cultural context, coupled with the faith Ancient Greek afterlife, in which you gain immortality through being remembered for your actions, Agamemnon will be forced to feel shame for eternity. This shame evolves into anger, which becomes misdirected, and thus manifests as resentment, fear, and anger towards women.

The primary reason for my liking of this epic poem is how many of the poem’s key components are still relevant and applicable in the modern world. Many of these same gender hierarchies still exist and thrive in modern society. The Odyssey shows that this hierarchy is like a tough, gritty weed that must be pulled from the root. The longevity of these beliefs and hierarchies is demonstrated in the poem, through both literary devices and dialogues. The Odyssey may be an example of outdated gender roles in literature, but it also gives us an insight into the roots and mediums of this harmful attitude. Moreover, as a result of the glimpse into the past the epic poem proves, we find a road map to which we can find solutions for these very same problems that still plague our society. Combatting outdated gender hierarchies requires effort and change-oriented mindsets, but is not only doable, but a necessary metamorphosis we must undertake to assure future generation do not repeat the same three-thousand-year-old mistakes.



PR. The issue of life

The issue of life

After reading the Odyssey, I was fascinated by the journey Odysseus must take, only to find back home. Every time he nearly found back to finish is journey, he fell back to zero. Several times, the Gods tried to thwart his plans and put rocks in his way. After all the years, all the sacrifices he gave and all the people he saw dying he finally got back home to his wife. The absurd amount of time it took him makes me question, does he fulfilled his live purpose?, did he achieved full experience of life? . Well, he went through heaven and hell after 10 years of war to find out that his mother past away during it. What is the purpose of life if you take it from others?. The problem with questions like that is, they don’t have a universal answer. Every human being has to ask themselves what their purpose of life is, and Odysseus purpose was to get back to his beloved wife at home. If you would ask me what my life purpose  is, I couldn’t give you a clear answer, I didn’t achieve anything significant yet. Questions like that demand much life experience. I want to finish my personal response with a quote from Dalai Lama: “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

The Odyssey PR: Xenia

The Odyssey written by Homer was an enjoyable read for me. The main issue that interested me was the Greek value of hospitality. When reading The Odyssey, we can always determine whether someone is a good guy or bad guy based off their kindness and hospitality. Giving the guest the seat of honor, feeding them, letting them wash up is all considered hospitality, afterwards you are able to ask the guest questions. When the guest leaves, you are also expected to give them a gift as a sign of respect. Xenia, meaning kind offering protection and hospitality to strangers is an important aspect to Homeric society. Everyone loves to receive gifts. For some it makes them feel special or important and I really admire this key theme and believe that hospitality should always be present for anybody who enters your house. Respect and kindness are qualities everyone should have, treating a guest at your home with a warm welcome and friendliness creates principles and admiration for your good deeds.

Furthermore, I really liked what Aeolus does for Odysseus and his crew. When Odysseus and his crew escape from the Cyclops they seek refuge with “the wind of god” Aeolus. Great symbol of xenia is showed here when Aeolus shows the value of hospitality when he lets them all stay on his island for a month. Aeolus assists Odysseus and his men on their journey to Ithaca. Odysseus is also gifted a bag of winds to ensure safe passage for home. Honestly, I could not pick up anything I did not like when I was introduced to Aeolus. Aeolus’ value of hospitality is commendable, and I respect what he did. Moreover, The Odyssey exemplifies xenia, the Greek ways of hospitality, generosity towards travelers who are far from home. From all the places Odysseus visited, a lack of hospitality was shown for Odysseys. However, when Aeolus shows his value of xenia, it created respect for his character. Ultimately, Greek value of hospitality mandates respect and generosity for any visitor, whether a friend, a guest, or a foreigner we can all show hospitality.  

There and back again.

An Odyssey is an adventure of epic proportions, like any adventure it eventually comes to an end. You slay the dragon, reach the highest peak, and now you must return home. This is a question raised by Oddessy when after everything, do you want to return home? After all that Odysseus is offered, he still wishes to return home. The paradise the Phaeacians offer him, the eternal life and youth calypso offers him, he still wants to return to the wind-swept rock he calls home. There are two reasons for this. First, home is comfortable and familiar, which is nice but can get boring. That is why we go on adventures. And Secondly, home is where the things you care about most are and happen, the loss of those close to you. For example, Odysseus learns the consequences of his adventure. The loss of those you call friends, the loss of his mother, who he will never be able to see in the flesh again. The change of places that you knew before, The overtaking of your home with strangers, disruption of the peace. Both of these reasons, I think, are Odysseus’ main motives that keep him wanting to return. Likewise, I want to go on an Odyssey and see and impact the world. We all go on an odyssey and leave home to go on an adventure, whether at university, a job, or travel. When you leave the nest of youth and to go out into the world to leave your mark, you will one day return home to the comfort and familiarity of it. And just like Odysseus, when we land on Ithica and do not recognize it, everything is smaller and different than we remember when we first left home for our adventure through life, but we still like to come back.

The Odyssey PR: Life and its real meaning

The Odyssey is one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read because of its relevant themes that affect society nowadays, such as temptation, hierarchy, faith, death, family, and mortality. All of these themes and many more are highlighted by Homer in this book, yet one that has been on my mind since day one is the meaning of being alive, as it is a philosophical question that everyone has been trying to decipher for thousands of years.

What does it mean to be alive? What do we live for? Before entering the dark, unnerving Gate of Hades, Odysseus wants to give up. In other words, he wants to die. After all, why is he enduring so much pain just to go back home? But, when he arrives there and meets Akhellieus- the greatest fighter of all time- and his mom, he realizes that death is not an easy escape, it is an eternal prison. He remembers Penelope, awaiting him in Ithaka; his father, whose hopes to see his son have been completely crushed by grief.

He, now, has something to live for. He knows the hardships and conflicts he faces will be worth it because he will be rewarded with feelings of joy, comfort, and safety. That is the same for us. Most of us have faith that our adversities will turn into blessings after we undergo them. Life is meaningless until we find something worth getting up from bed for. Odysseus finds meaning in his life when he realizes he has a limited time to spend with his loved ones. He is not a god. Neither are we. And that is exactly why we need to cherish and be grateful for insignificant existence.

Paradise and Death: Personal response

“For Odysseus, for everyone, unconsciousness is death.” (p. 17) is what MacKnight stated in his work “Paradise and Death”. In this essay, MacKnight talks about the temptations of Odysseus, and how, even after 3000 years, human nature is so complex to understand yet so simple to predict that we can still apply the temptations of the bravest, wisest man of Greece into our current lives. There are six opportunities in which Odysseus can escape, in which he can forget all of his problems and perhaps live happily ever after, just like in fairy tales. We have the Loto Eaters, Kirke’s island, the Sirenes, Kalypso’s island, the three tormenting days caused by Poseidon, and Phaiakia. The Odyssey would be half of the pages it is if he had just picked to stay on the beautiful island of Kalypso, or perhaps decided to drown in his own suffering and please Poseidon with his death. Death has always been appealing to us, even to Odysseus; an unsolved mystery that once you find out of, you never come back to tell the rest about it. So, why is it that he refused over and over again to take his last breath on Earth?

Odysseus had no rush in coming back home from Kirke’s island. He was living comfortably, and felt safe after most of his men were killed because of his curiosity. But, as MacKnight says (p.4): “Odysseus has not yet been to Hades, the land of the dead, where he learns the importance of home and reality.” Odysseus, once entering the world of Hades, understands why Akhilleus would give anything to go back to the living; why his mom died because of grief. “For Odysseus, apparently, home has remained until this moment a timeless place in his imagination.” And that is true, not only for Odysseus, but for us too. How many times have we been curious of death, yet inevitably scared by it as soon as someone close to us passes away? How many of us have truly appreciated life after being so close to death? Funny enough, refusing to die is a type of death itself. Refusing to die means we are ready to live in the present, such as Odysseus when he decides to ignore the Sirenes and their song of Troy. We have all been caught in the feeling of nostalgia at one point in our lives. That bittersweet feeling; it brings us happiness; it brings us certainty; it reminds us we can control the past. But for the future? What does it behold for us? As Socrates would say, the only thing we know is that we know nothing. Yet, in living in the present, we are accepting our human nature: that we don’t know anything, yet we are still thriving for a future. In living fully, we will experience grief and sorrow, but also their opposites: happiness and fulfillment. We find something to live for, something to long for. Odysseus is able to overcome the temptations because he has something to live for: home. We are able to overcome our own temptations because we believe in something, regardless if it’s our home, our religion, our ethics, etc. Furthermore, Odysseus refuses to die because he wants to live his life consciously. For what is the purpose of life if it was not limited? He, and we, would not have any goals due tomorrow. We could postpone them, and at some point, forget about them. For us, unlucky mortal beings, life is a ticking bomb. We do not know when it will be over, but we can hear it all the time in our head, repeatedly, telling us it will eventually end.

Sadly, many humans, in modernity, are deaf to the ticking bomb that life is. They have succumbed to many of life’s temptations. “And how much they remind me of myself and other privileged North Americans: obsessed with sports from the time we can toddle across the room after a foam-rubber football […], and remaining deeply naive about the desperately serious struggles of people who are trying to feed themselves, defend their families, simply staying alive.” We are blind to our own privilege. We get bored with comfortableness. Life is not being lived. Current entertainment has killed human consciousness. We are not living in the present, we are living in automatic mode. Pain is currently avoided at all costs. And, who are we to blame them for wanting to avoid it? But, by avoiding these emotions, we also avoid the blissful ones. Perhaps, living with consciousness is a gamble. An endless 50-50 gamble until we die. But that is exactly what makes life so precious, and what it makes it worth living for. Homer knows this. Homer knows consciousness is wisdom and the greatest gift to life, and I, too, agree with him.

The way MacKnight is able to captivate me from his first opening sentence in the essay shows his impeccable way of keeping the readers hooked to the text. I deeply appreciated how he transitioned from topic to topic smoothly, it made the reading easy and enjoyable. The way questions were raised, even after they were answered, shows this is a good piece of literature that has an impact on whoever reads it. It is a valuable essay that definitely helps anyone who has, or is reading, The Odyssey.

Paradise and Death personal response to the essay

Paradise and Death The Temptations of Odyssey by Eric MacKnight had me thinking about modern concerns in the world revolving around temptations.  This essay summarizes the parts of the book that we have read with detail and it was very helpful to get over the plot of the story. It was easy to follow along and carried out its own observations on the topics like: drugs, living in the past, self-awareness/consciousness; which I believe are so important to our society as to this moment. Today we live in a world filled with information. We are surrounded by so much that we don’t often realize how much we are consuming; our brain understands that it cannot process this much, and it results in binging. Feeling stressed, anxious and burned out, it is very hard to complete daily tasks without a struggle. Even getting homework done right after school after a long day, seems impossible.  So instead you go on your phone and get lost in the endless scrolling, thinking it will take a couple of moments before you feel ready and more energized. But we never do, we become aware when we check the time to see that more than 20 mins has passed since, unlike your routine that needs catching up. It is so tempting to get back to scrolling, the short lasting satisfaction with a long term consequence.. Just like any other drug. Whether it is the Lotos, or the Kyklops, we need to be more like Odysseus; always think about the aftermath and distract yourself from the temptation, and replace (scrolling for example) with a better activity, like mindfulness and yoga.

Thinking about how we could have made a better choice, we can easily get caught up in even more unpleasant emotions.  We often tend to come back to our memories, and relive them, finding comfort and peace in the past. This is because we lack these emotions in the present, we miss the “good old days” back when everything seemed so “right” and we never valued these moments enough, until all we can do is remember. But we need to question ourselves: why aren’t we with these people anymore? They sure would be in your life today, right? Everything happens for a reason.  We need to start living in the present. Creating (new) memories, making those special moments ourselves, letting ourselves be happy in the moment.

-“It is what it is, it was what it was, it will be what it will be” 

Reading the 18 page essay, I was amazed by the structure of the writing. Managing to include so much detail and not repeat the same points over and over is something I am looking forward to achieving when writing my own work. I also learned that not every “sentence” has to have a proving point/evidence with the quotations from the text. Some things are so well explained, that the quotations would not be necessary. The essay included the numbers of the pages, and did not have line numbers, which I will take in notice as well.


As I read the essay of “Paradise ad Death” by Eric Macknight, I realized how many opportunities Odysseus had, to run from all the trouble and all his problems and every time he faces his problems he escapes close from death. After reading the essay  by Eric Macknight, I have a new perspective about all of Odysseus adventures and apart from that I reflected his decisions and adventures with my own live.

The essay is very well written. I like the simplicity of the sentences and the way he used quotes out of the book. “Paradise and Death” by Erik MacKnight  showed me how many mistakes I made while writing essays and now I know how to provide them. The essay has many good examples and very good quotations out of the book. Over all, I really liked the essay.

Paradise and Death Personal Response

Paradise and Death, by Eric MacKnight is an intriguing interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey. One component that garners my attention is, “the unpleasant constants of the human condition-suffering, aging, and death, and our attempts to understand, escape, or overcome them”(pg.2).  Not only is this a meaningful interpretation of the epic poem, but also a deeply thought-out comparison of what it means to be human, and a common ground to which we can all relate. Further, recognizing that humanity as a whole shares a common experience places the most inflated ego, alongside an innocent and harmless individual. The notion of everyone being shaped by the same constants is not only a deeply personal connection everyone can make to the poem, but is also a remarkably humbling experience by itself. Moreover, after Odysseus’ encounter with Achilles and his late mother in their shade forms, he is offered a new perspective, “The visit to Hades gives Odysseus the strength to resist all temptation ahead of him”(pg. 4). A perspective that is not tainted by his sense glory or incompressible wealth, but a perspective that is choked full of regret, and is wholly self-critical. This encounter with his late mother and fallen comrade is a turning point for Odysseus. This is a personal subject for many. Who hasn’t lost a family member or someone they were close to, after falsely assuming they would be with you forever? In Odysseus’ mind, his mother, son, father, and wife would greet him as he returned home, nothing unchanged. After this point, he realizes that he must get home, and fast, at any cost. This reminds me of something I once read, “A person has two lives, and the second begins when you realize you only have one”. Not only do we witness a rapid transformation of Odysseus’ guiding principles, but through the poem and essay, we are able to relate to exactly what Odysseus is feeling, and complete this change alongside him. This relates to the quotation, “no matter how miserable life may be, it is better than death”(pg. 5). Not only does Odysseus feel a pang a regret, and a need for change regarding what he really wants, but he also grasps at sincere gratitude. After his conversation with Achilles, he recognizes that his time is sacred and precious, as it is representative of how long he has before the remaining people he cares for meet the same fate as Achilles and his mother. For this, he feels gratitude for not only his life, which he previously considered ending to avoid suffering, but also for the time he has, and the potential to spend it with the people who made his suffering worthwhile. This is precisely the reason why Odysseus’ character has been admired for thousands of years. The fact that a fearless soldier, who endured nearly 20 years of hardship on his journey home, can also be vulnerable, and experience the same come-and-go feelings of gratitude, regret, and grief. This humanizes this almost immortal man, and allows us to view him as a “human superhero” in the sense that we can possess strength and perseverance, while still maintaining the piece of us that is essential to the human condition.

Another reason why this essay is riveting is that fact that it clearly demonstrates not only the essential ideas, analyses, and arguments; but also does so in a way that is so easy to follow, easy to comprehend and process, and most importantly, keeps the reader engaged. A personal connection to the clarity of this writing is the structure and organization. Personally, I have always struggled with making my arguments flow neatly and clearly. This can be attributed to my habit of writing with the “quantity over quality” mindset, as well as my lack of usage of transition words. Further, the vocabulary is so broad and varied, while still being precise and easy to understand. Each verb carries an emotional weight that somehow manages to fit the tone of the paragraph or passage perfectly. This phenomenon that the language used in the arguments seems to compliment the mood of not only the poem, but the essay as well. Not only does this make the essay riveting and profoundly engaging as a reader, but additionally contributes to the emotional baggage of each quotation and reference.

Paradise and Death – Montana’s Personal Response

Paradise and Death made by Eric MacKnight really showed me another perspective to reading The Odyssey. It has served as an incredibly well-detailed and summarized version of the topics we covered in class, as well as raising new interpretations of Homer’s poems. In particular, what stood out to me was the notion of getting stuck in the past. It reminded me of a mini-series I watched years ago on Youtube where a cast of characters served as the different aspects of the protagonist’s personalities (Morality, Logic, Anxiety, etc.). In one of the climaxing episodes, Morality got quite literally stuck within their own nostalgia and longing for the past so much so that it caused a breakdown. I found that episode so interesting at the time, and now I’m being faced with the same topic once more.

As someone who commonly finds myself going through the never-ending spiral of “What if”‘s, trying to not get stuck in the Seirênês’ song would’ve been possibly the most challenging temptation for me, had I been in Odysseus’s place. Although, I do think I’ve surrounded myself with a very loving crew of people that would not listen to my begs to untie me. Whenever I do find myself in one of these episodes, I have a handful of people who I can count on,  my crew, who will help me return to my right mind.

As for the structure of this essay, it’s easy to follow and doesn’t bore me like some essays in the past have. I noticed there aren’t nearly as many quotes as I would expect in 18 pages. Maybe that has something to do with the length of the essay itself? Or perhaps I need to rethink the number of quotations I try to put into my essays. Nonetheless, the flow of it is something I strive to accomplish.

Paradise and Death Personal Response

“Paradise and Death” written by Eric MacKnight has me pondering over my own ideas of escape and its constant lurid temptations. Much like Odysseus’s many encounters that would inevitably let him escape his troubles I too have options for escape. My troubles may seem trivial when compared to those of the great Odysseus, he had to fight in a war that lasted 10 years, while I just have too much homework. However, this essay proposed the idea of escape, Odysseus never actually had to go home, there were many options in-between. In fact, some of the opportunities he faced as a means of escape were too good to be true. Why would someone turn down an eternity of love with a very beautiful woman, or a chance to live in the past? Both are options I would take without hesitation. My life is in no way similar to Odysseus’ yet I am constantly looking for a way to escape my troubles. Take school for an example, a never-ending struggle of education, starting when you are four and ending when you graduate, either high school, college, or university. There is always that pressure to get the highest level of education possible. After education than what? You are working until you are 60 and that is if you are lucky. I have thought about this a lot and there are several escapes that tempt even the most ambitious of us all. The most obvious of them all is to drop out of school. Why do all this work, only to continue working for the rest of your life? However, the difference between me and Odysseus is dropping out of school is frowned upon whereas Odysseus’ escapes are according to the essay “a kind of paradise”(pg.1). So why? Why don’t I just drop out of school and why doesn’t Odysseus take these simple escapes? Because life is harder than the easiest way out. An education gives life purpose, a job gives life purpose, so do the many other challenging aspects of our life, all of them give us something to live for. For me to live without school would be the most boring this ever and for Odysseus to live without felling, that is to cave into temptation, is a life not worth living. This is perfectly summed up in the last paragraph of the essay and possible my favorite sentence, “For Odysseus, for everyone, unconsciousness is death, and the only life worth living is that peculiarly human life, that life which is pain”(pg. 18).

Not only did this essay have me thinking about life’s choices it was extremely well written. The use of through analyzation, evidence, reasoning and clear writing all contribute to make a truly awe inspiring essay. When I say I do not normally like reading essays I am telling the truth, however this essay had me turning the pages faster than a novel. The one thing that makes it particularly easy to read is clear writing. Each sentence is written with one topic in mind, not overly complicated, and has plenty of evidence to support it. An example of this is on page twelve, “However, we cannot stop at remarking that life in Phaiákia is trivial, or that the Phaiákians are naive.” This is a clear topic sentence that directly outlines what will be said in the following paragraph. One thing my writing is lacking is clarity. I often have an idea in my head and then write it on the page, most of the time the idea that was in my head is only partially translated into words and clear ideas. However when I read over it all I can see is the ideas that are still in my head. Therefore this is one aspect of my writing that I could improve upon and which I have learned from reading this essay. Another thing that I could not help but notice is the amount of analyzation in a single essay. There is almost eighteen pages of it. I find this incredible and another compelling reason to read the entire essay. Analyzation is another big part of writing an essay and I would like to incorporate it as much as possible into my next piece of formal writing.

Paradise and Death Personal Response – Mahad Cheema

Paradise and Death written by Eric Macknight, made me realize how many opportunities Odysseus had to escape from all his troubles. Yet, when Odysseus encounters these problems, he escapes death every time. The contrast between paradise and death differs with the opportunities presented in front of him. Odysseus intends to kill Polyphemus, however, he realizes that it would bring his own death as well, so in order to escape death, he must allow the cyclops to live. This again occurs with the cattle of the sun god, when Odysseus is told that if he kills the cattle of the sun god his crew will surely die. There is the repetition of death and how he has escaped it countless of times. Before reading Paradise and Death by Eric Macknight, never once did I feel like paradise came towards Odysseus, only death. “The pleasures of paradise are fleeting—“a summer joy,” “the flower of life.” Our delight in them depends upon their novelty, their contrast with our usual experiences.” (pg. 16) The analyzation on Odysseus’ speech to Alkínoos at the beginning of Book Nine can be seen as paradise. 

Furthermore, apart from the fact that Paradise and Death, talks about all these important points, the writing itself is eloquent. The simplicity of the sentences and examples used are extremely easy to follow through and it delivers the points across. Additionally, followed through with assertions to support these points, and examples it overall makes everything easier to comprehend. As well, with the proper formatting in this essay, the proper citations for quotes and the organizational structure of the writing makes everything very lucid. Most importantly, writing short concise sentences really makes a difference in writing and how much easier it well be for the reader. My biggest problem in writing is constantly elaborating on things I talk about. All of this results in confusion or complexity in my writing. When reading Paradise and Death, all the points were straightforward, with easy-to-read explanations. Writing unnecessary points, and using redundant phrases is not a persuasive style of writing. Moving forward, using the things learned I will apply it to my writing, and it will benefit me with improvements.

Paradise and Death Personal Response

“Paradise and Death” written by Eric Macknight, provides a new perspective on Odysseus’ adventures. I found the comparisons of life and death to be very thought-provoking and it caused me to reflect on my own life. I find that when life is hard it is easy for me to get caught up thinking about simpler times in the past. But this does not allow me to progress into the future. And with no future, there is no life, only death. Another comparison that the essay had me reflect on was the notion of immortality and death. We talked about this construct in class and surprisingly I was thinking about it for the rest of the day. Kalypso (a death goddess) offers Odysseus the chance to be young forever. In one manner this can be perceived as her offering death to Odysseus because his life will never progress past that point, and he will never see his family again. This concept of immortality of being young forever is very prominent in pop culture today. Many young people including myself have the idea that being young forever with no responsibilities would be ideal. But now having read “Paradise and Death” and discussing it in class I have a different perspective on what it means to be young forever. Odysseus’ ability to escape death countless times is an admirable character trait. He is offered an easier way of life with no hardships like living in the past only and being young forever, but he does not accept these offers.   

Not only does “Paradise and Death” bring up intriguing points it is also exemplary written.  Reading this essay, I learned new things about how to write an essay correctly. I now know that it might be a good idea to explain what is happening in the text before inserting a quote from the text. This way the quote does not seem awkwardly placed in the essay. As well as providing organization and clarity to an essay, transition sentences are very helpful. A clever example of this in the essay is “It is after these traumatic misadventures that they arrive on Kirkê’s island” (pg. 4). Here we can see a transition sentence that helps move the essay from one point to another. Another point about quotes that I learned was it is not necessary for every paragraph to have a supporting quote from the text. Sometimes when I am writing a response, I try to force quotes that don’t belong into my writing because I thought they were necessary. Overall, after reading “Paradise and Death” I gained knowledge on how to write an essay and I hope that this improves my writing skills.  

Odyssey Reflection

When reading The Odyssey, by Homer, I appreciated Homer’s use of minor characters used to build the identity of the major characters. He does this often in his books; and a time I could appreciate it was with Nausikaa. She is a very significant character to the story’s plot, but one of her main purposes is to show all the traits of Odysseus. We see his charm and wit as he wins her over, and then we see his planning and foresight as he uses her to make a plan to get himself home. This is just one of the ways that Homer uses his clever technique.

However, not everything in the Odyssey was as clever and interesting as that. For example, the first three books of the Odyssey include no such characters as well as being extremely boring in their content. The first three books are crucial to set up the whole ending of the story; but the same amount of content could have been written in two less books. This is unenjoyable because it sets a boring mood for the rest of the story. Which, for the first ten books I couldn’t get rid of as I was just expecting them to be boring. If Homer had written a shorter beginning to the story I would have enjoyed it significantly more.

On the other hand, I was surprised by how stupid Odysseus seemed to be for the ‘smartest mortal to ever live’ by a margin of two. When I say stupid I don’t mean dull, witless, or useless. What I mean is that Odysseus would often have his journey prolonged from things that wouldn’t make sense to someone whose only want was to make it home. Some of the things that prolonged Odysseus were his meaningless trips on to various islands that would often results in trouble. I think the reason Homer makes Odysseus like this is as a satirical joke at how stupid men can be. When I realized this I was less surprised and understood the joke more, however, it was still surprising.

Personal Response to Homer’s Odyssey

What did you enjoy the most about The Odyssey, and why?

While reading The Odyssey, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed discovering Odysseus’ character. We see him through many perspectives which gives us insight on who he really is and the type of person Odysseus is. We read about his successes, his downfalls, his suffering and at last, his peace and how he came to finally being king again. Furthermore, seeing Odysseus’ hardships and how he adapted and persevered, made me like his character more. For example, looking back at the moment Odysseus’ men opened the bag of winds, Odysseus wanted to give up and stated “Should I go overside for a quick finish or clench my teeth and stay among the living?” After suffering so much Odysseus still kept going and showed utmost strength. This showed what kind of character Odysseus really was and showed his endurance and determination. I also enjoyed analyzing the book in class and getting the full picture. It allowed a more in depth analysis which led to a deeper understanding of The Odyssey.


What did you enjoy the least about The Odyssey, and why?

I did not enjoy the beginning of the book (around 1-3) where least action and adventure took place. It was more about assembling a crew/ship to find lost Odysseus and Telemachus going to the Red Haired King for advice. I find these parts less interesting because I found Odysseus’ adventures and stories throughout the middle and rest of the book to be most enjoyable and compelling to read. Additionally, during the first couple of books I was still unfamiliar with the characters which made me question many roles and their purpose in the book. 


What surprised you the most about The Odyssey?

What surprised me the most was definitely Odysseus’ adventures and the characters involved, as well as understanding how gods and mortals existed among each other, since I had not read anything like The Odyssey before. There were some concepts between gods and mortals that I had questioned. An example would be how the mortal characters would know a god that showed up in the form of a human was interacting with them? Like they just had a feeling and knew it was a god sending them a message in mortal form. The one eyed Kyklops, the witch “Kirke ”, the ship swallowing whirlpool “Charybdis’ ‘, and the sea monster “Scylla” were all characters that appeared in Odysseus’ adventures that surprised me and I did not expect those characters to appear. They all had interesting parts in the story and most created conflict and obstacles for Odysseus in returning to Ithaka.

Response to “The Odyssey”

What I enjoyed the most about The Odyssey was how the author is presenting the story because it makes it more interesting. Starting with Telemakhos searching for his dad with characters along the path who tells him what they know about his father, Odysseus. This made me be intrigue of what is going to happen as there are clues and Odysseus comes up later instead of starting with the main character narrating the story. Adding up with Athena being involved in the events, this creates the connexion between the gods and Odysseus’ story. Following with Odysseus narrating his story, this immersed me into the storyline. Finally, Odysseus getting in Ithaka and the author making pauses with stories from the past and conversations between the characters, had me wanting to end the book and compelled to keep reading.

What I enjoyed the least about The Odyssey was the beginning and the introduction of characters because it got me confused. There are a lot of characters and family trees that are introduced, the storyline goes slowly at the beginning explaining what is happening and there are events that already happened before Odysseus went missing.

What surprised me the most is all the things that Odysseus needed to do and did so that he could come back home safe, from sailing home, to being in Ithaka and waiting the right moment to reveal himself to kill the suitors.

Personal Response to Homer’s Odyssey

Homer’s Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic poem that chronicles the 10 years of absurd and fantastical adventures that befall war hero Odysseus, is an extremely famous historical work that most people are at least somewhat familiar with. However, due to the density of the text, not many (myself included) consider it for casual reading. So when I ultimately picked up a copy of The Odyssey for the first time, there were a few elements that came as a surprise. The most notable of these was the extremely prominent dissonance between the cultural values of the time The Odyssey was written and those of modern society. Of course, this was not entirely unexpected, as the inequalities of ancient Greek society are rather well known. Still, the dramatic clash was a bit of a shock for me, particularly the attitude towards vengeance and justice, which in this poem are presented as synonymous.

Putting aside the cultural dissonance, there were quite a few things about the poem that I genuinely enjoyed. The writing style, for one, I found very appealing, though this is more likely a factor of the translation rather than the text itself. The characterization of Odysseus I also appreciated. Rather than a flawless hero, the poem’s emphasis on his cunning (demonstrated throughout), his penchant for weaving complex lies, and his apparent lack of remorse, combined with genuinely positive attributes such as unwavering determination and love for his family, make him a much deeper character. Odysseus himself is the main standout of The Odyssey.

While there was a lot of good in The Odyssey, there was one main aspect of the poem that slightly soured my experience. Again, I probably should’ve expected this, but I was quite disappointed by just how little time was devoted to Odysseus’ iconic homeward voyage. Following along with his journey throughout the various monster-inhabited islands of the Mediterranean Sea was easily the most interesting part of the story, and I do wish we were treated to a more detailed account.

Homer Odyssey

The thing that I enjoyed most when reading The Odyssey was the way they created Odyyseus to not necessarily be all good, but be cunning and sly as well. The creativity of the general poem was very entertaining and interesting to read as well. The reason why the poem was so entertaining, was because of the use of different figures of speech that added more life to the writing.

The Odyssey was an overall enjoyable read, but it could get confusing at times. The writing is a translation so at times it was difficult to make sense of. Also, the poem: The Odyssey, is a higher level of writing than I typically read and am used to. Another thing that bugged me while reading this translation of The Odyssey, is that it took upon an opinion of religion, mostly Christianity.

Something that surprised me while reading The Odyssey was the use of the gods. An instance for this would be Athena following Odysseus around during the poem, but during those times, the Greeks would see someone that is wise, as somebody well-liked by Athena. This brings back how the Greeks thought and their interpretations of people being super strong, smart, athletic, fast, etc…


Odyssey Response

I enjoyed reading books 8-12 of the Odyssey more than the rest of the poem. It was full of action and was a detailed explanation of what happened in Odysseus’ experiences. I also enjoyed reading the last few books because there was a build up of tension until finally Odysseus became king once again. it is interesting how Athena seems to be toying with the suitors and people in the story for her entertainment. I could tell that Odysseus was never going to be that hurt or that he was going to die. In some many stories there are sad endings where a main character dies but I could tell that this was not the case for the Odyssey.

The parts that I enjoyed the least about the Odyssey were the build ups like at the beginning of the poem. The parts where nothing was really happening and where Odysseus had not been introduced yet were boring to read. There was no action in these parts.

The parts that surprised me about the Odyssey were that everyone except for the suitors were nice to beggars and homeless people. These days people usually avoid people like this. The Odyssey tells us a lot about Ancient Greek life and how people were excepting of each other and always kind and generous.

The Odyssey response

The Odyssey was quite amazing for me. The thing that I really enjoyed most about the poem is that at the surface, the story can be so dramatic that I feel like there is always something amazing awaiting for me in the next chapters, like I never know what will happen. Also the journey of Odysseus is meaningful, in the sense that there is always something we can learn about his long journey and learn something for ourselves. Last but not least, The Odyssey gave me a big picture about the drama of Greek mythology and I have learnt how intertwined the characters can be, as well as the characters and gods, goddess presented in the story.

However, the poem did make have some hard time, especially in trying to always stay on top with every little details and the relationship between characters, which can often make me feel discourage from reading the book. Also, sometimes understanding sentence structures can be a major issue for me as well.

The thing that really surprised me most is how massive the story plus the history of Greek can be. This is mostly due to the fact that everyone seems to be playing some role in a bigger picture and sometimes navigating around it can feel tricky, too.

The Odyssey Response

The part of The Odyssey I enjoyed the most was in Book 8 when Odysseus participated in the series of athletic contests. I really enjoyed this part because it was very entertaining and interesting to me to learn about the “first Olympics”. I also enjoyed it because the games are quite similar to the games we play now for the Olympics as well, like boxing, wrestling, racing, and the throwing of the discus. Another part of it that I liked was when Odysseus was able to prove Broadsea and the other Phaeacians by easily winning the discus and beating them all. Book 8 was the best book in The Odyssey overall in my opinion. 

The part of The Odyssey I enjoyed the least was book 1 when everything was starting, it was kind of slow and boring in my opinion. I also could not understand everything that was being said and what was happening because I did not know the gods names or what they did, who they were, etc. As the poem went on it did get easier to understand who everyone was, and understanding the words everyone used.

I was most surprised by the part in The Odyssey when Odysseus got angry and acted irrational towards Cyclops Polyphemus the son of Poseidon. Odysseus is commonly known as a calm man who is able to think on the spot and make the best decisions but, after blinding Polyphemus as they are sailing away he yells at him, stating his name and angering Poseidon even more. This was quite surprising as it was so out of character for Odysseus, after discussing this in class it was clear that he was this upset because he had angered his own crew and some of them had been killed because of his own mistake. He had blamed himself for everything that happened on that island.