1-27-14 Notes - The Odyssey

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Seth Schien

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• In other indo-european languages, Slavic, and Germanic, and indic languages, you see similar types of poetry at the end of oral poetic tradition. • In greek, epic poetry is not the only tradition that existed o There were lyric poems (melic – accompanied by music) • Epic hexameter o The iliad – warriors killing and dying in the pursuit of glory – willing to risk death as part of a process of transcending effects of a single lifetime. The poet is the way for people to achieve kleos (greek for glory and the medium of poetry granting this glory) o Nostos – return poem – poetry about war veterans trying to get back home after the war o The returns (nostoi) – group of poems - where many heroes and what we hear about the return of Agamemnon and Nestor o The Trojan war has to underlie the odyssey o The theogony means “birth of the gods”  Accounts for how the universe got to be the way it is o Didactic literature and wisdom literature  Poet presumes to teach the readers and listeners about the way life is and how it should be lived • Not just a matter of meter and style and the kinds of themes but what the poet does with it. o Moral themes o They perished by their own moral blindness o Justice  Being paid back for your actions  Almost everyone in homer pays for their actions (except Helena: queen of Sparta) • Sparta is not a regular sort of human existence o Nepenthe is administered so that there will be no pain or sorrow • Juxtapose the places and societies • They never die. Menelaus is not adhered to the human condition. • Part of reading the odyssey is to do so analogically and think about juxtapositions o Homer is not logical but analogically o SEE CHART • To forget your return means you stop striving for it • Odysseyus stayed with kalypso, why wouldn’t he want to stay there? o There’s nothing there except the landscape of dead trees (cypress) o The very name kalypso (pun meaning conceal) o Odysseyus (causes
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