Mitchell-Boyask's Odyssey Study Guide (click on his name). He has
written this for students who are reading the entire text - sometimes he
asks questions instead of giving answers. But you should be able to follow
along after you have read the synopsis in your text. Particularly useful is
the chronology he provides.
You are required to read
Books 9-12 of the
Odyssey (this link goes to MIT).
my notes for you:
Odysseus' outstanding qualities: intelligence, greed, curiosity, pride,
Trials of the voyage - not just
physical obstacles...also temptations.
disconnect from reality: squalor
focus of interest
offers perverse hospitality: anthropophagy (also
life of ease and indulgence
reality: a fantasy, at the expense of his men
Underworld another focus of interest for us
Sirens tempt him to live in the past
reality: offers death
the island of Thrinakia, and the immortal cattle
reality: he languishes
Odysseus chooses the human
condition - struggle, disappointment, death
Death is also tempting, a way to
escape from current problems, but he visits the underworld and abandons
thought of death as repose. Achilles; "Better to be a slave than ruler of
the dead." Life! Embrace life!
End of Odysseus' voyage: he finds
faithful son and wife, a son worthy of him, knowledge of a gentle death. He
punishes the suitors with death.
The Homeric gods express the
disorder of the world they live in (Judeo-Christian concept of God emphasizes
those aspects of the universe which imply a harmonious order. Man is to
blame for disorder).
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