THE ODYSSEY by benbenzhou


									THE ODYSSEY

         Greek Culture
 Gods advised the mortals
 Hosts always gave gifts to their
 Guests asked host permission to leave
 Gave food to beggars; helped
 Bathe feet of guests
 Nicknames
 Pray to gods after awakening
    Greek Culture (cont.)
 Gods wore disguises when visiting
 Fighting is sport
 Consulted prophets (Tiresias)
 Rewarded servants with land
 Feasted first before speaking
 Bridal gifts given by suitors (Penelope)
 Public heralds led sacrificial victims
 through streets
         Greek Values
 Kings were treated with respect
 Beggars were not shameful; was
  honorable to give to beggars
 Family responsibility
 Lying was acceptable
 Murder was an acceptable revenge
 Not unmanly to kill women
 Patience
 Gods protected the mortals
     Greek Values (cont.)
 Belief in omens
 Respected the advice of the gods
 Acceptable for men to cry openly
 Love between father and son
 Honor the dead
Epic Hero Characteristics
 Rule over many       Stay calm
  men                  Strong-willed
 Fight for a cause    Bold
 Overcome peril       Good actor
 Patient              Brood over
 Humble
                       Trust the gods
 Resourceful
                       Plan ahead
 Confident            Listen to others
           Epic Conventions
 There are many conventions
 established by Homer that were
 subsequently developed over the

 Lengthy Narrative - An epic poem
 must be a work of considerable length,
 spanning several books, cantos, or
 Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Epic Hero—The protagonist of an
  epic poem is a figure who
  unmistakably represents his nation,
  culture, or race. He must also be a
  figure of noble mien, considerable
  military prowess, and undying
Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Lofty Tone and Style - The poem itself
 must assume a grave and serious
 tone. Although many epics contain
 lighter moments, these are always
 secondary to the primarily somber
 mood of the entire work. The poem
 must also be written in a grandiose,
 exalted style to distinguish it from
 works of lower orders.
Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Epic simile – an extended simile. The
 epic simile is an extended comparison
 between one element or character of
 the poem and some foreign entity. The
 simile is highly visual, and either
 forces the reader to consider the
 object of the simile in a new light or
 helps reveal a secret about the
 element which would be too complex
 to detail didactically.
  Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Catalogs/Genealogies —An epic poem
 will often include copious inventories
 and catalogs of characters,
 equipment, or some other pertinent
 element of the plot. The poem will also
 supply expansive genealogies for
 important characters or artifacts, to
 lend an air of antiquity and
 authority to the respective element in
 the poem.
 Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Supernatural Involvement: Divine
 machinery – active presence of gods
 in epic is traditional. The epic always
 features some form of divine
 intervention in the poem’s main
 action. These other-worldly figures
 will either assist or antagonize the
 epic hero, although their involvement
 in matters will always be limited to
 some degree (i.e. they cannot
 dominate the entire narrative).
 Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Invocation – prayer to a muse or god
 for help; statement of purpose. Most
 epic poems begin with an invocation
 to some higher power. The poet often
 invokes the Muses, or a particular
 Muse (Usually Calliope, the Muse of
 epic poetry). Other times, the poet
 might summon a particular deity or
 great power to lend inspiration to his
 endeavor. No matter the object of the
 request, the invocation serves as an
 introduction to the action that is
 about to unfold.
  Epic Conventions (cont.)
 In media res – in the middle of things
  Many epics commence in medias res,
  or “in the middle of things.” The story
  opens at a point well along in the
  narrated sequence of events. As part
  of the convention, a character will
  recount the bypasses episodes later in
  the narrative, so that the reader will
  become familiar with the prehistory
  of the poem.
 Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Voyage Across the Sea
 The epic hero and/or other characters
 will often journey across the sea to
 discover new lands or explore distant
 regions. The voyage serves to expand
 the setting of the drama considerably,
 and this helps to magnify the overall
 significance of the epic’s action.
Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Journey to the Underworld – purpose
  is to reflect or to prophesize
 A visit to the underworld is also a
  common epic motif. The epic hero will
  often gain intelligence from the
  departed spirits that he encounters.
  The journey both to and from the
  nether regions is most often fraught
  with peril.
  Epic Conventions (cont.)
 Flashback – interruption of the
 narrative to show an episode that
 happened in the past
 Epithet – an adjective expressing
 some characteristic quality ie.
 “nimble-witted Odysseus” or
 “bright-eyed Athena”
 Epic Battles
Vivid descriptions of mighty battles,
either one-on-one duels between
universal champions or the amassed
engagement of powerful armies, are a
common feature of the epic poem. These
mighty contests may indeed appear to
glorify war, but they also personify
the conflicts endured by the given
nation, culture, or race that the epic
hero symbolizes.

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