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Lecture 36 Notes.docx

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McGill University
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

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 strength 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) o The belly, gaster, is a prominent organ in the Odyssey  It is the impetus for wandering and motives the action o The thumos is the fundamental force behind Iliadic action o A lion is an heroic animal  Odysseus is compared to a lion whose gaster goads him to hunt  Many lion similes in the Iliad  The lion often has a thumos o The gaster is physiological, while the thumos is spiritual and metaphysical  Iliad and Odyssey: o Odysseus’ belly, as is Achilles’ rage, is the engine of heroic action  His belly is emblematic of his heroism, whereas the thumos – the spirit, the drive, the emotions – is emblematic of Iliadic heroism  Donning an Iliadic Character: o Irus, another beggar inside the palace, insults Odysseus  Antinous (foremost of suitors) encourages them to fight  Offers a full gaster (belly) to the victor  Odysseus not inclined to fight, but his gaster impels him o Telemachus replies: If your thumos compels you…  He has changes the motivating energy from gaster to thumos  The masking and unmasking of Odysseus o Double persona o Fights as an Iliadic hero  Odysseus dispatches Irus with one jaw-shattering blow  After Twenty Years…: o Penelope is urged by Athena to go into the main hall to show herself to the suitors (and Odysseus)  Looks radiant (due to Athena)  Chides Telemachus for the poor treatment of the beggar Odysseus  Recalls her instructions from Odysseus to remarry if he dies or does not return  Disgusted with the suitors’ behaviour o This is the first Odysseus sees Penelope  He is proud and happy through her speech  Preparations: o Odysseus and Telemachus hide all the arms of the main hall o Disguised Odysseus meets with Penelope  Tells another Cretan lie  Claims to have known Odysseus by describing what he wore  Penelope tells the beggar what she has done while Odysseus has been gone o Penelope and the cunning ruse of the shroud: she agrees to marry one of the suitors after she finishes weave a shroud in memory for Odysseus, but would
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