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.

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.