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CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Odyssey 5, Chiastic Structure, Odysseus

Course Code
Timothy Perry

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Lecture #7 Page 1
Week Seven - Odyssey 5-12
Monday, February 22, 2010
IN-CLASS ESSAY: Monday, March 8th
o Have 60 minutes
o 5 topics will be known, 3 will be on the test
o Choose 1 out of the 3 available
o Write 5-7 pages
o When studying come up with a structure/outline for each essay
o Marked on:
Proper essay structure (have into, conclusion, etc…)
Spelling and Grammar
o Topics:
Consider the myth of Prometheus as told by Hesiod in the Theogony and Works and
Days. Comment on the use that Hesiod makes of this myth in the two poems and the
significance of the similarities and differences between the two versions.
Talk about content
Both mention Pandora, theft of fire
Sacrifice features in Theogony, not Works and Days -- Why?
Pandora's jar of evils features in the Works and Days, is absent in
Theogony -- Why?
Theogony: about the rise of Zeus and the various challenges he has to face,
Works and Days: concentrating on the miserable human condition
Don't summarize the two versions of the stories
2. How do the divine characters in the Iliad and the Odyssey resemble human characters?
How are they different? What is the significance of these similarities and differences?
Anthropomorphic nature of the gods
Compare to Hesiod, deities part of the universe and that are
Social arrangement of the gods: "one big family"
Ruled over by a King like Homeric society
Marry each other, related to each other
Key Differences
Gods are less morally accountable for their actions than their human
Therefore act more frivolously
e.g.) deception of Zeus by Hera in the Iliad, Ares and Aphrodite in
No lasting punishment
Relationship to Fate
3. The Iliad and the Odyssey were part of an oral tradition. How did this influence the
composition of the poems? Discuss with relation to at least two features of orality
found in the poems.
Look at the various features including formulas, type scenes (aristea, arming
scene), similes, ring composition, repetition, etc

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Lecture #7 Page 2
All allow originality through variation as well as gives the poet a break
4. Consider the actions of EITHER Achilles OR Hector in the Iliad. Do the actions of this
hero conform to the heroic code? How does he succeed and/or fail as a hero?
Define the Heroic Code
Look at the potential of a hero to help and hurt their communities
Argument with Agamemnon
Avenging of Patroclus -- Does he go too far?
Meeting with Andromache
Decision to face Achilles in Book Twenty-Two
5. Consider the depiction of women in the Odyssey. How do female characters serve as
obstacles to Odysseus' nostos? How do they help him achieve it?
Calypso, Athena, the Sirens, Nausicaa, Circe, Penelope
Book Five:
o Calypso wishes to marry Odysseus and make him immortal
This is the first of several female threats to Odysseus' nostos
Odysseus never forgets Ithaca or Penelope and maintains the desire to go home
o The gods send Hermes to demand Odysseus' release
Hermes tells Calypso to release Odysseus
Odysseus builds a raft, sails for several days and is shipwrecked and washes up on an
unknown shore and falls asleep
Book Six: Odysseus meets Nausicaa
o Opens with a brief description of the inhabitants of the land he has shipwrecked onto: the
o Marriage a recurrent theme throughout Odyssey 6
Athena in disguise appears to Nausicaa, a local princess, in a dream and persuades her
to wash at the sea because she is now at an age where she is marriageable
o Nausicaa and her handmaidens do the washing, start playing a game with a ball but it drops
in a river, they shout in distress and Odysseus wakes up
o Odysseus is stripped of all signs of civilization
"Man of misery where have I ended up now?"
Wants to know if he is in a civilized country or a savage country
Odysseus emerges naked with a branch to cover himself; marked by a simile
Simile heightens apparent lack of civilization of Odysseus
The lion in the simile (Odysseus) is opposed to the homestead (civilization)
See the uncivilized appearance of Odysseus
Irony that just a few lines before Odysseus was wondering if he was ina civlized
or savage land
Appearance belies reality
His lack of civilization is only appearance
Odysseus retains his intellect
Opposition between appearance and reality also appears in the Iliad
Odysseus is contrasted in the Iliad between what he looks like and the
reality beneath
"But when Odysseus sprang up….his eyes fixed on the ground, never
shifting his scepter back and forth….clutching it still like a mindless
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