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Week 7 - Odyssey Books 5-12

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Timothy Perry

Epic feb 22, 2010 The Odyssey, 5 – 12 In-Class Essay: − questions posted on Blackboard th − monday march 8 everything we have done so far, up to next week!!! − 1 hr → 5 topics, 3 will be on test and pick ONE to write (prepare 3 to make sure its on test) − proper essay structure → intro, conclusion, paragraphs etc − questions are two part Questions: 1- Consider the myth of Prometheus as told by Hesiod in the Theogony and W&D. Comment on the use that Hesiod makes of this myth in the two poems and the significance of the simliarities and differences between the two versions. − differences/similarities in content → pandora, theft of fire, sacrifice in Theo but not W&D (why?), jar of evils emphaisesed in W&D and not mentioned in Theo (why?) − don't simply summarize → just enough to create context − theo = rise of zeus, rule, obstacles overcome, prometheus is one obstacle − W&D = misery of human condition etc, jar is pertinent − justice theme of both poems → theft of fire 2- How do the divine characters in the Iliad and the Odyssey resemble the human characters? How are they different? What is the significance of these similarities and differences? − Similarities: − anthropomorphic nature of the gods − may compare with Hesiod → sometimes anthropomorphic but sometimes just representations like earth, sky, etc − large family of gods → parallel to humans (marriage, etc) − zeus as king − differences: − more frivolous actions, no reprecussions for actions (hera and zeus, ares and aphrodite) → gods do get some punishment but not lasting − relationship between gods & fate vs humans & fate (Iliad especially) 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. − more technical questions, poetics − formulas, type scenes (sacrifice, feasting, arrival, arming, aristeia), similes − ring composition − lists, catalogues − focus on how they aid the poet, don't just list the aids → memorisation, allow originality 4- Consider the actions of EITHERAchilles 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? − may contrast with any other hero relevant, but focus onAchilles or Hector − define Heroic Code before explaining whether hero adheres − Achilles → argument withAgamemnon; avenging of Patroclus (go too far? Treatment of Hector in final books maybe dubious?) − Hector → meeting withAndromache (wife); facingAchilles in book 22 − look at ambiguous nature → benefit community and harm community 5- Consider the depiction of women in the Odyssey. How do female characters serve as obstacles to Odysseus' nostos? How do they help him to achieve it? − Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa (obstacle but also helps) − Athena, Penelope The Odyssey return to Odysseus in book 5 Calypso entreats Odysseus to stay, but he desires to return home gods sent Hermes to demand Odysseus' release → he cannot escape without divine help he builds raft to leave, sails several days and is shipwrecked and washes up on unknown shore Odysseus meets Nausicaa: − bk 6 opens with brief description of the Phaeacians − Athena in disguise appears to Nausicaa, persuades her to do washing by the sea → marriage as reasoning, she is old enough to be considering marriage − marriage a recurrent theme throughout Odyssey 6 − girls and Nausicaa do washing, play ball game, lose ball, Odysseus wakes up − Odysseus emerging from bush with branch to cover nakedness − marked by simile: emphasise as important → pg 172 − Odysseus stripped of all signs of civilization → appears wild and savage, simile epmhasies lack of apparent civilisation; compared to wild animal − wild lion contrasted to homestead − irony: appears savage, but has just been wondering before this if they are violent, savage, lawless → appears this way himself − complex relationship ebtween savage and civilized − but appearance belies reality − Odysseus soon shows he has not lost wits → lost appearance of civilization but... − he retains his intellect − contrast between what he looks like and reality beneath − Iliad: book 3 → standing still, would think him a great fool, but when he spoke no man alive could rival Odysseus → difference between appearnce and reality − speaks to Nausicaa → reveals true character − flattery: wondering aloud whether this is a goddess he is adressing − marriage: mentions it twice → assumes that marriage is Nausicaa's greatest desire − women operate in domestic sphere → marriage to good husband is greatest goal − odysseus like athena is influencing Nausicaa thorugh desire for marriage − Odysseus also likely expressing own desires → trying to get home to his wife and peaceful life Book 7 → reaches palace of the Phaeacians, KingAlcinous (father of Nausicaa) − hospitable reception → doesn't reveal who he is, just a nameless stranger − Alcinous suggests that Odysseus could stay → temptation of marriage like Calypso to replace marriage with Penelope; woman put in Odysseus' way to be overcome − Nausicaa has helped him previously, but turned to an obstacle Book 8 → episode in which Phaeacian bard entertains Demodocus' Song: − Sings of the love affair ofAres andAphrodite (pg 200) − Aphrodite wife of Hephaestus: makes net to catchAphro &Ares in bed − cf with seduction of Hera & Zeus in Iliad → sexual theme − Gods depicted acting immorally − sharing human vices: seduction, adultery, deception − not a particular serious matter: taken seriously by Hephaestus and Poseidon, but other gods are amused and make light of situation →Apollo − but no serious consequences → neitherAphrodite norAres seem to suffer much: no lasting punishment or moral stigma − reflects heroism of the Odyssey: guile/cunning overcomes martial military prowess − Odysseus is a cunning hero Book 9 – 12: Odysseus takes over as narrator − Alcinous gets Odysseus to reveal himself, Odysseus describes what has happened to him since he left Troy – flashback as part of In Media Res structure of poem Odysseus and Polyphemus: − landed on Goat Island just off island of Cyclopes − colonization of Mediterranean → description as perfect place to establish new colony − contrast between civilized and savage
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