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The adventures of odysseus in homers the odyssey

In the Greek tradition, the war lasted for ten years. Odysseus then spent a further ten years getting home in the face of hostility from Poseidon, god of the earth and sea.

Cunning and courage

He finds that young men from the local vicinity have invaded his house to put pressure on his wife Penelope to marry one of them. A stalemate exists, and it is only resolved by a bow contest at the end of the poem, which then leads to a slaughter of all the suitors by Odysseus and his son Telemachus.

  • In many ways Odysseus and Penelope are models of the sorts of things that Athena represents;
  • Wikimedia The quest of Odysseus to get back to his island and eject the suitors is built on the power of his love for home and family.

Peace on the island is eventually restored through the intervention of Athena, goddess of wisdom, victory and war. Penelope, waiting on Ithaca. Painted by Domenico Beccafumi circa Wikimedia The quest of Odysseus to get back to his island and eject the suitors is built on the power of his love for home and family. This notion of love conquering fear and hatred is a common theme in Greek quest mythology.

The Odyssey, like the Iliad, is divided into 24 books, corresponding to the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet.

Returning from war

Within the middle section of the poem BooksOdysseus describes all the challenges that he has faced trying to get home. These include monsters of various sorts, a the adventures of odysseus in homers the odyssey to the afterlife, cannibals, drugs, alluring women, and the hostility of Poseidon himself.

These challenges resemble those of earlier heroes like Heracles and Jason. In the Iliadthe hero Achilles faces no such challenges, indicating that the Odyssey has a very different idea of heroism.

He and his men enter into the cave of the Cyclops, get him drunk on some seriously potent wine, and then stick a large burning stake into his eye. Polyphemus is blinded but survives the attack and curses the voyage home of the Ithacans. On the last leg of his return he is entertained by the Phaeacians on the island of Scheria perhaps modern Corfuwhere Odysseus, his identity unknown to his hosts, rather cheekily asks the local bard Demodocus to sing the story of the wooden horse, which Odysseus had used to hide the Greek soldiers and surprise the city of Troy.

Odysseus resists the Sirens. His reaction to the bard prompts his host, the king Alcinous, to ask him who he is and what is his story? Odysseus can rightly claim to be the conqueror of Troy based on his creative thinking in dreaming up the idea of the horse in the first place, not to mention his courage in going into its belly with the other men. His role in breaking the siege at Troy is a precursor to breaking the stalemate in his own house.

His heroism is characterised by these two elements — his cunning intelligence, and his courage in the darkness of confined spaces. This kind of heroism is very different from Achilles in the Iliad, whose renown is built on his use of the spear and shield in single combat in the bright light of day. Achilles never sees the fall of Troy because he dies beforehand unless one watches the film Troy.

Just as Odysseus is too clever for the Trojans - and the suitors - so his wife Penelope is a model of cleverness and circumspection.

  1. Odysseus resists the Sirens.
  2. His heroism is characterised by these two elements — his cunning intelligence, and his courage in the darkness of confined spaces.
  3. These challenges resemble those of earlier heroes like Heracles and Jason.
  4. The Odyssey, like the Iliad, is divided into 24 books, corresponding to the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet.

She tries to avoid re-marriage and delays the event by a clever ruse: The suitors agree to this, but little do they know that she weaves the shroud by day, and un-weaves it by night. She is eventually betrayed by one of the maids in the house, and forced by the suitors to complete it, although the ruse does last for three years.

Penelope keeps her suitors at bay by spinning a shroud for three years. Painted by Pinturicchio circa Wikimedia The Greeks had no illusion that the characteristic cleverness of Odysseus had a sinister aspect to it, not the least in the way that he deals with the Trojans after the war. Some of the atrocities at Troy, notably the killing of the young boy Astyanax son of Hector and Andromacheare sheeted home to Odysseus by the poets.

Likewise, the Roman poet Vergil in his Aeneid Book 2 emphasises the dark trickery of Ulysses the Roman name for Odysseus in getting the Trojans to drag the Wooden Horse inside the city walls. Even within the Odyssey there is a significant contrast between the careful and clever return of Odysseus, and that of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, who is murdered as soon as he gets home.

The gods are far less prominent in the Odyssey than the Iliad, although Athena in particular has her moments.

In many ways Odysseus and Penelope are models of the sorts of things that Athena represents. Wikimedia The Odyssey also has a more elaborate structure and chronology than the Iliad. The first four books deal with the situation of the house invasion on Ithaca, and the travels of the young Telemachus to mainland Greece.

  1. In a lot of ways, some of these same things have happened to you. You too have shared a bed with the wrong woman.
  2. Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks, knows that only one man has the courage and intelligence to complete the tasks set by the Olympians. In many ways Odysseus and Penelope are models of the sorts of things that Athena represents.
  3. Modern interpretations The rich variety of mythical narratives in the Odyssey especially his wanderings through a world of wonder and mystery in Books 9 to 12 has meant that the cultural history of the poem is astonishingly large, whether in literature or art or film. Wikimedia The Greeks had no illusion that the characteristic cleverness of Odysseus had a sinister aspect to it, not the least in the way that he deals with the Trojans after the war.

Athena takes Telemachus from the female space of the house to the outside world of male politics. The folktale world through which he travels in Books 9 to 12 is told indirectly by Odysseus on his journey home to a Phaeacian audience, rather than directly by the poet.

This notion of Odysseus as tale teller is central to the Odyssey. In many ways the Odyssey is the most renowned literary work from Greek antiquity, even though some people would say it lacks the radical brilliance of the Iliad. The story of the Odyssey is a quintessential quest that relates to the passage through life and the importance of love and family and home.

Modern interpretations The rich variety of mythical narratives in the Odyssey especially his wanderings through a world of wonder and mystery in Books 9 to 12 has meant that the cultural history of the poem is astonishingly large, whether in literature or art or film.

Whole monographs have been written on the reception of Odysseus in later periods. Creative re-tellings of the Odyssey in a modern context include films such as Odysseus, moreover, probably influenced the early comic book superhero Batman in the late s and 40s, just as Greek demigods, such as Heracles and Achilles, help to inform the extra-terrestrial background of Superman.

As a human bat, Batman uses disguise to good effect, as Odysseus does, and he thrives on conducting his challenges in the darkness of night. Bob Dylan cites The Odyssey as a major influence. Dylan wrote a lecture in honour of his Nobel victoryfocused on some of the literature that influenced and affected him. In a lot of ways, some of these same things have happened to you. You too have had drugs dropped into your wine.

You too have shared a bed with the wrong woman. You too have been spellbound by magical voices, sweet voices with strange melodies. You too have come so far and have been so far blown back. You have angered people you should not have.

And you too have rambled this country all around. The Odyssey of Homer, Richmond Lattimore.