Synopsis Exposition A mosaic depicting Odysseusfrom the villa of La OlmedaPedrosa de la VegaSpain, late 4th-5th centuries AD The Odyssey begins after the end of the ten-year Trojan War the subject of the Iliadand Odysseus has still not returned home from the war because he angered the god, Poseidon.
Study Questions 1 How does Homer portray the relationship between gods and men in the Odyssey? What roles do the gods play in human life? How does this portrayal differ from that found in the Iliad?
In the Iliad, the gods relate to human beings either as external powers that influence the lives of mortals from without, as when Apollo unleashes plague upon the Achaeans, or from within, as when Aphrodite incites Helen to make love to Paris or when Athena gives Diomedes courage in battle.
In the Odyssey, the gods are often much less grand. They function more as spiritual guides and supporters for their human subjects, sometimes assuming mortal disguises in order to do so.
The actions of the gods sometimes remain otherworldly, as when Poseidon decides to wreck the ship of the Phaeacians, but generally they grant direct aid to particular individuals.
In a sense, the change in the behavior of the gods is wholly appropriate to the shift in focus between the two epics.
The Iliad depicts a violent and glorious war, and the gods act as frighteningly powerful, supernatural forces. The Odyssey, in contrast, chronicles a long journey, and the gods frequently act to guide and advise the wandering hero.
Does he develop at all? Odysseus does not change remarkably during the course of the narrative, especially in comparison to Telemachus, who undergoes a rite of passage from naive adolescence to manhood.
Odysseus, already a famed soldier at the beginning of the Iliad, continues his role as the most intelligent and courageous of all the Achaean heroes. But this is not to say that Odysseus exhibits no signs of growth.
Just as Achilles is confronted in the Iliad with the problem of balancing his honor with his pride, Odysseus repeatedly faces situations in which self-restraint and humility must check bravado and glory-seeking. In his early adventures, he often fails these tests, as when he boastfully taunts Polyphemus, enflaming Poseidon.
As the epic progresses, Odysseus becomes increasingly capable of judging when it is wise to reveal himself and when it is appropriate to exult in his accomplishments. At Scheria, he prudently waits until late in his visit before declaring his identity to the king and queen.
By the time he reaches Ithaca, he can endure the insults of the suitors for the better part of two days. The ability to hold his passions and pride in check make his swift and total revenge upon the suitors possible.
How is hospitality established as a key value in the epic? Traveling between those settlements involves facing both natural and supernatural perils, as well as logistical problems like shortages in provisions. The code of hospitality operates as a linchpin that allows individuals such as Odysseus to undertake these kinds of journeys at all.
It is a set of reciprocal expectations and obligations that not only mitigate the privations of travel but forge and reinforce bonds of friendship and goodwill.
Not surprisingly, the Odyssey doles out harsh punishments to those who do not respect this sacred social code. Polyphemus, the suitors, and the Achaean soldiers at Ismarus all suffer for violating it. By the same token, individuals such as Eumaeus and the Phaeacian royalty prove their worth to Odysseus by showering him with selfless generosity and kindness.
Within the Odyssey, adherence to the code functions as a kind of imperfect currency. If one acts in accordance with the rules, one will generally, but not always, be rewarded.The Odyssey Summary Homer.
Download The Odyssey Study Guide Subscribe now to download this study guide, along with more than 30, other titles. Get . by: Homer Homer ’s 8th century BCE oral narrative of a warrior’s decades-long quest to return home defines epic poetry. Together with its companion poem The Iliad, The Odyssey describes the action and aftermath of the Trojan Wars, andis the model for the heroic quest.
The Odyssey is an epic poem, attributed to the ancient Greek poet Homer, most likely composed in the late 8 th Century B.C. It is the second-oldest known work in Western literature (the oldest being The Iliad, also attributed to Homer; The Odyssey is in many ways a sequel to The Iliad and is considered a more complex and mature work) and has had a singular influence on writing in the Western.
Homer's Odyssey: A Commentary by Denton Jaques Snider on Project Gutenberg; BBC audio file. In our time BBC Radio 4 discussion programme.
45 minutes. The Meaning of Tradition in Homer's Odyssey in English; The Odyssey Comix A detailed retelling and explanation of Homer's Odyssey in comic-strip format by Greek Myth Comix; Núria Perpinyà ().
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer.
The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second--the Iliad being the first--extant work of Western literature. Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Homer's The Odyssey.
Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Little is known about Homer's life.
Many people believe no such person ever existed, and that "Homer" is a pseudonym uniting the works of.