Homer’s “The Oddyssey” 11/3/2012 10:04:00 AM
There is a council of the Gods.
Zeus is son of Kronos
He is saddened by the death of Aigisthos (done by Orestes). Aigisthos
had married the wife of Atreus’ son = Agamemnon, and murdered him on
his homecoming. He was warned not to 1) marry the wife and 2) murder the
former husband by Hermes (Zeus’ messenger).
We find out immediately that Oddysseus was detained by the queenly
nymph Kalypso, who wanted him as her husband.
Also, Poseidon plays a part (as god of the sea) buy making Odysseus’ travels
very troublesome. Zeus recalls the unfortunate event of Aigisthos. Athena’s
greater concern though is for Odysseus who she feels is deserving of some
help for a safe homecoming. She wants to send Hermes to the nymph to
have Odysseus released. Athena has now decided to go visit Odysseus’ son,
Telemachus, but in disguise as a Taphian. She is disguised as a man
named Mentes. Telemachus sees Mentes and invites him to stay for supper,
while saying that afterwards he would like to know who Mentes is, his
purpose, possible news of Odysseus through Mentes, etc. Mentes instructs
Telemachus to stand up for himself and devise a plan to banish the suitors
from his household.
Telemachus is told to: Have an assembly in which he will tell the suitors to
leave. If his mother desires marriage, then to have her go to her father’s
household and have the father (Laertes) choose a husband for her. Gather
a ship with crew to search for Odysseus by word of mouth (through a
possible whisper of Zeus to a mortal) and will travel to Sparta.
When we first see Penelope she is upset at one of the suitor’s playing a
tune of the Achaians’ bitter homecoming from Troy, which ironically Athena
(Mentes) had inflicted upon them. The singer is Phomeios and is said to
have a voice of an angel. Telemachus shocks Penelope by reasoning that the
song is not one to be upset about, but rather The suitors are a bit suspicious
of the quick encountering of Mentes at the household. Telemachus says he is
a friend of Oddysseus’. Mentes is described as a Taphion, as mentioned
above, and describes the Taphian people as “oar-loving”. We are introduced to Eurykleia, daughter of Ops the son of Peisenor.
She is the nurse to Telemachus and was at one point something of a similar
figure to Oddysseus. She is with Telemachus when he retires to his
Telemachus wakes up and is prepared to start the assembly.
First to speak: Aigyptios (good man, not a suitor). He is an old man, whose
son, Antiphos the spearman, was the last to be killed by the Cyclops
(Odysseus immediately after kills the Cyclops). Aigyptios is surprised by the
set up of an assembly because it hadn’t been performed much since
Odysseus departed (reminiscent of Odysseus through Telemachus as a man
now). He shows that he has faith in Telemachus.
Next to speak: Telemachus. He explains the grief of his father’s absence,
including the frustration of his valuables, food, animals being consumed
without any payment.
Next to speak: Antinoos.
He is one of the leaders of the suitors. He explains to Telemachus
why they are not going to leave: Penelope had promised that if the
suitors would be patient, while she simultaneously would weave a
web of threads, then after the weaving would be finished, she
would choose a husband. She is making the web to cover her father
Laertes whenever his eventual death occurs. It is at that point she
would choose a husband. Antinoos explains that once the 4 thyear of
waiting arrived, they found out thru one of her servant women that
in daytime she would do the webbing, and then at nighttime would
torch it with fire and undo it. Antinoos wants Telemachus to send
Penelope to her father and have her be married to any man her
father chooses. If she however stays and continues to
psychologically torture the suitors, then they will continue their wild
acts around the house. Telemachus says if they stay then he will
call on Zeus. After hearing this, Zeus sends two birds who upon
arrival in front of the assembly attack one another then flee. An aged warrior, Halitherses, Mentor’s son, thinks that this
signifies a close return of Oddysseus. He says that his prediction
should be considered accurate because his previous prediction long
ago that Odysseus would come hom