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CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Patrilineality, Laestrygonians, Anax

Course Code
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

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CLAS203 Lecture 36 Notes
Continuing of Odysseus in Ithica:
o Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, goes to Eumaeus’ hut
Tells a Cretan lie
Claims to have met Odysseus, will return soon
o Athena urges Tlemachus to go back to Ithaca
o Eumaeus shares his life story with Odysseus
Story reveals the precariousness of identity and status once one leaves
the security of the oikos (household, identity)
Kingship, wealth, and authority require the stable structures of the oikos
Comparison: The Iliad and the Odyssey:
o Iliad:
“That man *Odysseus+ is hateful to me *Achilles+ like the gates of death,
who says one thing but hides another in his heart.”
Achilles voices contempt for Odysseus as rhetorician
o A man who achieves victory by cunning speech, not
o Odyssey:
“That man *any man+ is hateful to me like the gates of death, who,
yielding to poverty, babbles deceitfully.”
Odysseus, saying this to Eumaeus, is about to lie in order to
discover if kith and kin have kept faith with him
o Iliadic resonances in the Odyssey
First recognition:
o Telemachus approaches Eumaeus’ hut
o Athena transforms Odysseus into his true, godly, shape/form
Telemachus mistakes Odysseus for a god
o Telemachus recognizes his father, Odysseus
o They plan the mnesterophonia, the slaughter of the suitors
Second Recognition:
o Telemachus goes to the palace
Steps over the oudos, “threshold”
Thematic import of the threshold as a separating border between
home and exile
o Odysseus approaches the palace
Argus (Odysseus’ dog, left as a puppy): recognition of Odysseus, barks
once, then dies
Suggestive of the more general decline and malaise of the oikos:
o Healthy and vigorous when Odysseus departed, now
abused and sickly
Uses of Gaster and Thumos:
o (gaster, belly) vs. (thumos, spirit, seat of the emotions)
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