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The Odyssey Bees wax
The Odyssey Bees wax
1/13/99 Portraying Greek Culture anthropocentric – human centered. Gods were created from man gnothi seauton – Know thyself. Inscribed at Temple of Apollo at Delphi the religious center of Greece, the seat of prophecy. People from all over came to consult oracle. Identity not in psychological term, initially – know what it means to be a mortal, in which you are small, you have little or no control. Socrates 469 – 399 B.C. Teacher of Plato. Developed the concept of gnothi seauton. Said the unexamined life is not worth living. One ought to know what one spends one’s life doing. Rationally examine the self. Distinctive Qualities of Greek Literature and Art Had only social and functional art. No such thing as private art – art was for and presented in communities. Iliad was recited in public every four (4) years. Written for all. The Iliad and Odyssey equivalent to Bible for Greeks. Tragedy performed only in Athens and only in the 5th century B.C. They were original productions. Stopped after the 5th century. Done in Spring once a year for the god Dionysius. Paid for by public and private grants. Athens trading center. Fleet dominated the Mediterranean. History started by Greeks – Heroditus. Most writers were from Athens, the center of culture. Lived in the Pentaconta Itea – 50 Golden Years. Persian influences. Thales of Myletas – first philosopher, engineer of Darius. Art was in the open, in public temples. Statues were a part of communal life. Vases were a part of everyday use: they were primarily storage facilities. Art was functional. There was no such thing as a museum nor was there private ownership. Art for art’s sake was a foreign idea. Philosophy Both Plato and Socrates thought a solitary thinker could not achieve truth, they needed at least two people, for their search for truth was a question and answer process known as the dialectic. Non-truth was eliminated till the final truth was arrived at. Addressed social question’s: how are people to live in society? More like the modern term, ethics. Greeks were gregarious. They spent time and interacted with one another. Could not live meaningfully by themselves. Their lives were communal – part of a whole. A person not engaged in community was an idiôtês – pejorative for a private person. Citizenship was by way of land (only males could own land). There was also a large number of metics – non-citizens. Slaves performed societal sustaining work. The slave trade was not based on race. It was rather based on fortunes of war. Men were killed, women and children were used as slaves. They could be brought out of slavery for a price. Greeks were not perfect by any means. They were extremely flawed. Extremely competitive. There were many athletic festivals. Olympian games started in 776 B.C. Staggered so that no conflicted in times. Pythian Games at Delphi 4 years Menean Games at Nemea 2 years Isthmian Games at Corinth 2 years They were religious festivals. Athletes from all over Greece came. Chariot racing was premiere. Pythian games had a musical competition. Fights were held to parallel war. In Athens competitions were held to find top three plays, which in turn competed to find best play. Competition in ancient Greece was very common. It was not a matter of killing an enemy but one of competing with a fellow enemy for timê – honor. Greeks were competitive to the point of self-destruction. Competitors couldn’t learn to get along in the government. They had a passion for excellence. The natural outcome of competition was the best. Outcome of a judicial case was usually dependent on better speaker. Aretê – excellence. The Homeric warrior was aretê if he found the most timê. The Odyssey An epic attributed to Homer – a writer of whom we know nothing. Homer is said to have come from Island of Chios. His supposed blindness is a legend. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have to do with the Trojan War. The Trojan War was fought in modern day Turkey, lasting about 10 years – ca. 1240 - 1230 B.C. The kings were kings of palace-kingdoms. The kingdom consisted of a fortress or a hill, or countryside such as: Mycenea, Pylos, Sparta, Ithaca and others. The cause of the war was the abduction of Helen by Paris Alexandros. Menelaus and Agamemnon formed expedition of Greek kings (who were suitors to Helen previously). The Iliad narrates several weeks, but not all 10 years. The theme of the Iliad is the wrath of Achilles, foremost among Achaians, he was aretê. He killed Hector which marked the beginning of the end for Troy. The Odyssey is the return to Ithaca and about Odysseus. Odysseus was gone for a total of 20 years. The Iliad was composed in mid to late 8th century B.C. ca. 750, the Odyssey ca. 725. Both were composed 500 years after the Trojan War. The books are oral poetry – which were composed orally. The songs that make-up the two books were probably shorter tales. Some were books, some lists. Had been prior to Trojan War, the after the war writing was lost and poetry became oral. Poets would perform or sing at festivals, and past on orally songs. Old ones were reworked and refined – eventually a repertoire was developed. A poet could recite 2 ,000 to 3,000 lines from memory, by way of rhythm and formulas. Both books were written in dactylic hexameter – one long followed by two short. Dactyl means finger. The formulas were longer than words and shorter than sentences. The poets could sing it from memory without the aid of writing. Short simple, descriptive statements make the books sound generic. They tell not a story, but the story. It was never told the same way twice. Repetition of epîthets make it seem authoritative. There were songs that used formulas but they were not as long as the Iliad. These poems were of monumental length. The Iliad is comprised of 15, 693 lines and the Odyssey of 11, 670 lines. The first four books are self-contained: they tell about Telemachus finding his father. It is no coincedence that when writing appeared that the Iliad and Odyssey were written down. Homer or whomever made use of the alphabet. Each has over-arching themes, both are unifying marks of art. The Iliad and Odyssey of today are traced back to the 6th and 5th century B.C. The ruler of Athens, Pysistratus, wanted an authoritative text of the two books. Greece was not yet a nation, but was sometimes made of warring rivals, but all loved the Iliad. The Iliad and Odyssey were like the Bible of the ancient times. Most people could recite lines from the works. They influenced the tragedians. historiê – researches. Heroditus and Thucydides wrote of the Pelopenessean war and commemorated Homer’s influence. The Iliad and Odyssey were the first works of literature in the West, but are at the end of a long tradition of oral poetry. Epics today are used mainly in movies and film, but much to the same original meaning. Epics are long in size, they present an entire world in its story. Presents an ethos – a set of beliefs and values and way of living. One gets a complete and fairly detailed picture of the people. Can gather their implicit and explicit values and ideas. They give us gods, values, warriors, codes, kings, honor, excellence, competition, and much more. 1/20 The Iliad – Background and Info Cedric Whitman in The Heroic Paradox, wrote that the Greek hero in the Iliad feels himself a law unto himself. Therefore the heroic ideal is not the same throughout society. Motivated by a) urge toward divinity and b) necessity of remaining mortal. Homeric heroes thought themselves possible gods, that they could transcend to a god-like state. There is also self-knowledge that they are fated to die. The wrath of Achilles is the theme of the Iliad. Conflict of Achilles and Agamemnon over division of spoils (timê) source of honor (timê). Achilles angered at Agamemnon taking his spoils away from him. Agamemnon had to give up a girl of his while sacking a town near Tory because her father was a priest of Apollo. Agamemnon would not give her back, so a priest called on Apollo who afflicted the Greeks with a plague, so Agamemnon finally consented to give her back. He took Achilles’ girl away from him. Achilles almost kills Agamemnon, but Athena intervenes and tells Achilles to fight with words. He then withdraws from the fighting. He then begins to question the system of values he’s strove to achieve. Achilles asks if honor is worth his life? Forerunner of Socrates: unexamined life is not worth living. When Greek forces are losing he feels vindicated. Patroclus pleas, Achilles then sends Patroclus into battle with Achilles’ armor. Thus Achilles can lend to absolutism, while also yielding to honor. Urge to divinity lends to absolutes – i.e. trying to be as god when their own mortality opposes that. Want to act and live as an absolute. Achilles’ recognition of mortality makes him send in Patroclus. Achilles tries to have it both ways. Instead Patroclus is killed, and Achilles then enters the battle. His wrath is godlike. He defeats Hector. Prophecy has it that Achilles will die soon after Hector dies. He, in a way, kills himself. He sacrifices himself to the idea of his heroism. He forces a reconciliation of the paradox not only by death. Achilles “asserts” his own death. Odysseus lives no paradox: he knows he is mortal, his primary urge is to go home. Odysseus has no urge toward divinity. If he cannot go home he would just as soon die. He succeeds, he is in fact a survivor. For Achilles, self-destruction is his ultimate goal, for it is the inevitable outcome to fulfill urge towards divinity, for he is mortal. Survival, or self-construction, is needed for Odysseus to return home. If Achilles asserts death through action, Odysseus asserts life through action. Achilles’ action is always simple: to fight or not to fight. What is worth losing one’s life for is not a simple question. Odysseus too is a thinker, but he thinks not of the purpose of his action, but only the action itself. For example, the scene with the suitors. Odysseus is not an Achilles. His every effort is devoted to preserving his life. Achilles is affected by realization that life is unfair. He meditates on the value of his life. He sees the flaws in the heroic code. He comes to this wisdom by way of great losses. But his losses teaches him to see Priam’s loss of Hector. After Achilles kills Hector, his wrath is still not over. The dragging of Hector’s body, is out of fury and anger. Priam goes into the tent of Achilles and petitions for Hector’s body, on his knees. Achilles sees a grief in Priam that equals his own. The Iliad is a tragedy of self-awareness. Achilles can’t see humanity of Priam until he sees his grief. Teaches that human conflict is inevitable and after the fact comes recognition, recognition grief, of enemies likeness to you. Only growth possible is tragic awareness – tragic because it cannot be undone. The only redemption is recognition of enemies humanity as equal to one’s own. Odysseus never learns Achilles tragedy, nor does he ponder ontological questions. He is the hero of survival, he is no philosopher – Odysseus is intelligence in action. Achilles is a philosopher. For Odysseus, thought precedes action, but not digressive. Thinking about how to survive is only means of survival. Home is what searches for. His possessions and surroundings give him his heart. Home for Odysseus is the place where he is himself. When he returns home, he returns to himself. Odysseus has a simple passion for the ordinary life. Divisions of the Odyssey Howard Porter makes a different but interesting division of the poem. Porter calls the Odyssey a poem of rebirth. In developing this idea, Odysseus’ situation in Ogygia is like Adam in Paradise. Yet in the first view, he sits weeping. In the end, he is shouting happily. A journey from west to east. From abstract to concrete: Ogygyia is fantasy, Ithaca is real. Movement from sterility to fertility. Calypso means “concealer.” Porter identifies a leitmotif: Odysseus falls into a deathlike sleep under or near an olive tree, under or near a cave. First is in Book V (page 94). After rising as naked shipwrecked sailor to honored guest in Book XIII (page 231). Now from wandering beggar and settling matter with suitor family one more time he sleeps with his wife (page 438). All three of these tree scenes arrive at crucial points. Porter suggests these images evoke the idea of death and rebirth. First time it is as if he dies. The cave resembles a womb or tomb. Olive tree is a symbol of regeneration. Porter would block sections thusly: SECTION I Books 1-5 SECTION II Books 6-13 SECTION III Books 13-23 EPILOGUE Book 24 Theme of SECTION I is Odysseus’ rebirth from Troy and his wandering into domestic world. The theme of SECTION II is Odysseus’ rebirth on Ithaca. Theme of SECTION III is rebirth of family and marriage and master of house. Porter’s idea agrees with idea of self-construction of Odysseus. But if it is a reconstruction, a reconstruction from what? Odysseus fought at Troy for ten years. Return from Troy is a return home which might have seemed foreign. Odysseus has to change from battlefield warrior to husband/king. The metamorphosis is almost like Vietnam veterans trying to acquiesce to normal life. Ten years were spent at Troy, another ten were spent wandering. Odysseus narrates the wanderings in books 9-12. Can looks at some of his experiences at ordeals or temptations which he must overcome if he is to return. Some are preparations for his return. There are in total 12 different experiences: ORDEALS OR TEMPTATIONS: PREPARATIONS Kikones Circe Cyclopes Lotus-Eaters Sirens Hades Laistrygones Son-god Island Circe Calypso It is not to say that Odysseus’ adventures are symbolic or allegorical, but it is saying that they can be read as exhibiting a transformation from Homeric warrior to a hero of intelligence, with a passion for returning. Ethos – values, or literally character. When Odysseus successfully gets past Sirens, he subdues the temptation to give into nostalgia. He can’t leave the Siren’s island once on it. Tells his shipmates to tie him to the mast, and put wax in his ears. But he doesn’t wax his own ears. The sings sing of his past. They represent the pull of nostalgia. The trip to Hades, where he encounters the ghost of his mother, Tiresias, Agamemnon, Achilles and Ajax points forwards to Ithaca because of what Tiresias tells him, but also points backwards to Troy because of Agamemnon, Achilles, and Ajax. Circe and Calypso are the temptation of false domestic. They are an unreal physical ease with an ideal companion. If he were to stay he would not regain his identity left behind in Ithaca. Polyphemos can be read as a surreal analog of the suitors in the real world. Both suitors and Polyphemos disobey laws of hospitality. Cyclopes cannibalism manifest in eating six men parallels the suitors who eat Odysseus out of house and home. Odysseus’ identity is lost in the cave of the Cyclopes where he calls himself “Nohbody.” Polyphemos is a preparatoin for the dangers the suitors represent. Eolis and Scylia don’t fit into the preparatory scheme. Most of Odysseus’ adventures relate to the process of departing from the battleground of Troy and returning to Ithaca and what it represents: home. The Story of the Odyssey 1. The story of Odysseus begins with his son, Telemachus. The first four books tell of a man who wasn’t there. A gradual revelation is given until he appears in Book V. Technique heightens the dramatic effect, we get enough information to from a complete idea about him. Dramatic climax turned into anticlimax when we first see Odysseus. We meet him dejected and weeping (page 85). Is this the mighty Odysseus, Telemachus and everyone dreams of? Can this Odysseus put everything to right? The anticlimax intensifies reader’s suspense. At the beginning of the poem, Homer shows state of Odysseus home when he’s not there. Our first view makes it clear that he wants to go home. Telemachus begins to mature in first four books. Galvanized by meeting with Athena to pursue his father, Telemachus stirs for his father; Odyssues likewise stirs for his son. Shows the rehabilitation his goal requires. Odysseus can’t simply travel from point A to point B. When he arrives home, his journey only begins. He has to prove himself. Has to convince Penelope he is truly her Odysseus. Not until Penelope accepts him, can he truly be Odysseus. One’s identity is involved in proving identity. His return is more a physical one, it is also a mental one. Firsthand facts of Odysseus living are given by Menelaus. Here is a movement from general to specific. Proteus tells where he is. But the question is, can Odysseus get from Calypso’s island to Ithaca? 2. The maturing of Telemachus. His maturing parallels the return of Odysseus and the two are interrelated. As first step of maturing process, Telemachus goes in search of his father, provides us and him with a sense of Odysseus. One could say that Telemachus initiates his father’s return. Without Telemachus’ help Odysseus could not repossess his home, and defeat the suitors. When Telemachus goes in search of info on his father, he himself goes on a type of odyssey. Maturing is the processing of establishing one’s identity. Odysseus re-establishes his identity. Twin processes. For Telemachus it is a “birth” into manhood, for Odysseus it is a “rebirth” into who he really is. Telemachus does not know who he is (page 8 – line 259). 3. The suitors and their crime. The suitors plot again Telemachus for that they deserve to die. What about their wooing of Penelope and their behavior in general? Trojan war has been over for ten years. Most surviving generals and soldiers have returned. M. I. Finley in The World of Odysseus says that no one in all Greece knew what had befallen Odysseus. W. K. Lacey in The Family in Classical Greece states that it is clear that wooing is wrong because it is not known if Odysseus is dead. Penelope would do wrong to remarry. In his parting instructions, Odysseus said for his wife to remarry if he was not back by the time Telemachus had grown a beard. Wooing also reveals Homeric customs of headship of following. Odysseus still remained head of the family. The kyrios – lord. Every female had a kyrios who was master over her. When Telemachus is old enough to claim kyrios over Penelope. Part of confusion is about kyrios over Penelope, i.e. who owns her. Wooing of Penelope also parallels with wasting away of assets. The suitors are young aristocrats and hope to acquire rule over Ithaca, obviously Telemachus have to be out of the picture. The 108 suitors are a considerable drain. Behavior grows unchecked, offensive than violent. The very number of suitors gives Penelope the ability to keep them at bay. There are simply too many to choose from. Penelope does not want the suitors there. Offensive behavior is evident from the beginning. 1/27 3. Inappropriateness of wooing of suitors. xenia – code of hospitality among Greeks. The wooing of the suitors is inappropriate. The way they court her violates the code of xenia. The are arrogant, consuming early and late, eating too a much and plotting to kill Telemachus. The code specified that you received all strangers and guests no matter what, and after feeding them, asked them from whence they came and who they are. Xenia made it possible for Odysseus and Menelaus to travel home. Strangers were said to be under the care of son of Cronos, Zeus Xenios – the god of hospitality. Xenia applied to all strangers in every part of the world. Zeus wasn’t exclusively the god of hospitality, all gods were concerned with xenia. High values makes saying good manners are good moral an accurate truth of Homeric values. Polyphemos is the archetypal violator xenia. Cyclopes are pre-figuring analog in the surreal world ot the suitors in the real world. Standard way of greeting was to invite the strangers in, give food, and then ask them who they are and where the came. Nausikaa very benevolent to strangers. Not just nobles practice xenia, but also the poor such as Eumaios. Hospitality revolves around food, which is what is needed to live. Eating that is done communally binds people together. Bread taking was at the heart of civil life. Suitors consume food rapaciously and one even throws a cow’s foot at Odysseus. Violations involves food, which parallels Polyphemos eating his guest. Lystragonians were cannibals also. Odysseus’ crew perish because they eat the cattle of the sun god as Tiresias foretold, which Circe also echoed. 4. immanent – remaing inside. From the way gods appear one could assume that they play with humans as puppets. But it is not so. No god controlled the crew to eat cattle, but it was foretold. Likewise suitors not compelled by the gods to murder Telemachus, they act on free will. Gods try to warn mortals, but the mortals pay no heed. The Greeks had many gods, they were polytheistic. Poseidon controlled the sea, if one offended him he could wreck one’s ship, such as in Odysseus’ case. The gods worked through natural forces, for the most part. Zeus caused and was lightening. Aphrodite caused and embodied erotic action. Lloyd-Jones says that “the gods are not transcendant but immanent (i.e. remaining in). They do not interfere from outside the course of nature, but through human passions.” Zeus was like a president of the gods. He can’t supervene in their individual areas of power. In making power or forces gods, they gave them human characteristics. Over time their behavior became more human. Gods have human characteristics and actions. Like humans they were pleasure seekers. Gods like to be worshipped, they could be murderous if forgotten. But by worshipping one, you might offend another. The Greeks practiced sophrysyne – moderation or safe-mindedness. Inscribed at the Temple of Delphi: “Nothing too much” which was the best way to avoid offending the gods. Gods are in way morally superior to the mortals. They were powers and forces, in which case power in neither moral nor immoral. They are immortal which in itself is a power. Athena is the patroness of Odysseus because intelligence characterizes him. Home is basis of civilized life. Walter Burkert in Greek Religion gives full description of Athena. Athena is inventor and patroness of the home, carpentry. The olive tree is sacred to her – watches over olives in general. Athena is always near her protégé’s Athena usually approaches them in disguises. BOOKS 5 - 12 Odysseus’ chief resource is his wit – he is a thinker. He doesn’t think of the purpose of his actions, but does think of what actions to take. Being able to think in the midst of danger precedes action. i. Odysseus’ first appearance and significance of Calypso. We first see the great hero sitting on shore of Calypso’s island weeping where he has best of food and drink and the promise of immortality if he so chooses. Calypso means concealer. Odysseus weeps on her island because he is “buried alive” in paradise. He prefers to be “alive” in the world of struggle than “dead” in paradise. When he leaves her island he goes from death to life. George Dimock in The Name of Odysseus says whole problem of Odyssues is for him to establish his identity. Leaving Calypso’s island is like leaving the security of the womb. Non-entity and identity are the poles between which the actors in the poem move. For Porter the main theme is rebirth, but both seem to talking of the same thing. ii. Odysseus hero meaning is language and intelligence. Language is Odysseus’ chief way of surviving. The Cyclopes for example where by the name of Nohbody. Odysseus adroitly eliminates a serious threat of the brother Cyclopes when Polyphemos shouts to brothers, Odysseus’ trick is made plain, although it is naïve and simplistic. Nausikaa – Odysseus is brine-streaked and named when he meets her and her consorts. Uses words rather than supplication to confront her. The extremely awkward situation is easily disengaged. He only has one opportunity to please her. Odysseus swiftly and shrewdly flatters her in a skillful way. We know marriage is much on Nausikaa’s mind and Odysseus is keen enough to address this. Odysseus tells her that he is not simply a shipwrecked bum come from the sea, but that he commanded troops. Simply asks her for food and clothes or where can find these. He is so successful that Nausikaa begins to think of him as a marriage candidate. Odysseus is also a poet. Odysseus reveals himself to the Phaiakhians in a poet performance. Altinoos says he “speaks with an art.” In trip to underworld, Odysseus encounters Achilles. Ghost though he is, Achilles has not changed. Achilles still thinks of the worth of his actions. Whishes to be a peasant on a farm and alive than the king of the dead. By end of meeting however, Odysseus makes Achilles forget, if only a moment his death. Tells him his son’s arete equals that of his father. Odysseus gives Achilles a fix, but one of words. Achilles runs off happy in the yellow asphodel. Then we see Ajax and his failure with Ajax. Ajax responds uniquely to Odysseus: through silence. Does Ajax know that he could not win the war of words with him. The Sirens: represent temptation of nostalgia to Trojan War. The Sirens sing of past glories. Odysseus puts beeswax in shipmates ears, but not himself. He is susceptible to Siren’s song. Although he knows full-well the danger of listening of them, he does so anyway. Is strange that a song can kill you. Anyone else in Odysseus place would have avoided the temptation. Can’t pass up the opportunity to listen to a song more dangerous than his. iii. Transformation of Odysseus. Odysseus experiences bring about a transformation in him. The Sirens provide a focus for this: they represent the temptation of giving into deadly nostalgia – which Odysseus does not give into. He purges himself the desire to return to a glorious past. Those who give into the nostalgia destroy themselves. Note the extent that the Trojan war plays in adventure to underworld. Achilles and Ajax are the two of the three greatest warriors of Troy (Odysseus being the third). Achilles and Ajax are still psychologically at Troy. Time stopped at Troy for them. Achilles and Ajax will never acquire more experience from what they had at their moment of death. Their souls continue to exist, find in a world where they died. When Odysseus “relives” Troy in Hades, the message is given that Troy itself is dead and war is dead. The past is past. After this experience Odysseus faces the Sirens with the temptation of nostalgia. Once Odysseus is out of Hades, past the Sirens, he is more “returned” – advanced in his return. Land of Phaiakhians is the outer borders of the surreal world of nostalgia. In Hades Odysseus is freed psychologically from the Trojan war. The narration to Alkinoos is a kind of emptying out. Moved from gravitational pull of Troy to grain field of Ithaca. He has physically returned but is still not yet home. For the last phase of his return, his essential return, Odysseus needs to summon all his intelligence previously displayed and use it. He has re-establish identity in order have a complete form. BOOKS 13 – 24 Recognition is major theme of second half of Odyssey. A character realizes that figure he or she thought to be someone else is indeed Odysseus. Revelation is a kind of epiphany. A revelatory manifestation – a sudden recognition. There are recognitions in the first half of the Odyssey but many more in the second half. First on Ithaca is Athene, then Telemachus. Two other secondary themes: 1) emphasis on arrogance and transgression and violence of suitors, all of which are portrayed as significantly increasing. 2) Emphasis on Penelope’s dilemma and her psychological state. These features gain prominence. Reader has growing sense that story is growing to climax. Transgression increases and becomes more blatant as Penelope becomes more frustrated. i. Suitors arrogance and violence. Eumaius speaks to Odysseus about their violations. Athena warns Telemachus that suitors plan to kill him (268). Odysseus speaks to son before recognition scene. The plot to ambush Telemachus fails. Antinoos suggests another try. Penelope having learned that suitors plot to kill Telemachus, confronts the suitors. Antinoos reproaches Eumaios for bringing beggar, who is Odysseus in disguise, into the dining hall (323). Antinoos reviles the disguised Odysseus enough to throw a shot at him. 2/3 Recognition dominates second-half of the Odyssey – begins in Book 13 – with meeting of Athena and Odysseus. Two other themes: 1) Increasing arrogance of the suitors and 2) Penelope’s intensifying dilemma. 1. Suitor’s increasing arrogance. Suitors plot to ambush Telemachus. Antinoos retries. Penelope confronts the suitors. Antinoos reproaches Eumaios for bringing beggar in. Even throws a stool at beggar. Eurymachos taunts beggar, throws stool – breach of xenia – ultimate violation of order. Ktesippus throws cow’s foot. Throwing becomes a habit. Ignore prophecy given to the them by Theoklyminus. Hustles him out. Their good sense has been perverted and clouded and distorted. 2. Penelope and her dilemma. Athena tells Penelope that her father and Eurymachus wants her to marry. Theoklymenus tells Penelope in a meeting that Odysseus is still on Ithaca. Penelope herself tell Eurymachus Odysseus’ parting words to marry when Telemachus’ beard has grown. Odysseus as beggar tells Penelope that Odysseus will return. Penelope tells Odysseus her dilemma. Odysseus encourage her to have the contest to string the bow. All three elements increase suspense and heighten drama. 3. Recognition. Each involves important domestic aspect of Odysseus life. These recognition are important in “essential” return. Odysseus is recovering, rebuilding: identity of what he ceased to be after ten years of absence. As each character recognizes Odysseus, each gives back to him that part of his identity. Odysseus is not a father until Telemachus recognizes him as a father. Has no home till suitors recognize him. Is not a husband till Penelope recognizes him as a husband. Returns as Nohbody – then gradually he is transformed into Ithacan Odysseus. All recognitions together make Odysseus what he is and make him whole. Athena and Odysseus. Almost if it’s his reflex to assume a false identity. Two clever, cunning characters have a mutual recognition. Happens right after return and deep sleep. First event in reborn state – intelligence is recognized here. Most important aspect of he is is recognized first. Their encounter affirms his identity and genius – Latin for divine or spiritual part of individual which makes him what he is. Odysseus and Telemachus. Athena physically transforms him, enhances him. Telemachus doesn’t believe him though, believes he is a god. Telemachus recognition of father is climax of Telemachus’ story. Odysseus, now having a son becomes a father. Eurykleia and Odysseus. The means to Eurykleia’s recognition is a scar on Odysseus’ thigh. She knows him from his scar. We learn how he got his scar, then his name – a vital part of being known. Significance: having an identity is core of defining him. Recognition is main part of identity. Odysssasthai – occurs several times in the Odyssey, translated to mean “to cause pain and be willing to do so.” Dimick makes verb for his name. Odysseus has been one who was Odysssasthai. He was one who has pain brought to him. To be Odysseus is both to injure and suffer injury. Name comes from boar hunt, kills boar, causes pain, as sufferer he is slashed by it. In the Cyclopes, Odysseus (Nohbody) causes pain to Cyclopes eye, brings pain to his comrades by giving voice and hence direction to the Cyclopes. Deliberate exposure to show he is somebody – to pass from being Nohbody to someboyd. – to gain identity. Scar an emblem of pain emblem of pain received and given – linked with his very name. Urge to establish identity is as basic to Odysseus as intelligence, as inflicting pain. 4. Suitors and Odysseus. Recognition is simultaneous to their downfall. It’s kill or be killed. Suitor would not have allowed Odysseus to return and live. The three prior elements combined united by trial of bow. Suitors reveal arrogance and inability to string bow. The bow is handled and touched by suitors, Penelope, Telemachus, and Odysseus – the bow links them all. To enhance bow, Homer tells us its history. Homer describes door and store room, and how Penelope opens door – slows down narration. For a moment Penelope cries because bow reminds her of Odysseus. Storeroom evokes Odysseus, bow is in some ways Odysseus. Antinoos replies characteristic arrogance common to Leodes. All suitors but Antinoos recognizes Odysseus. Death is fitting for his arrogance, Description of death Eurymachos and Antinoos are important. They flagrantly violate xenia. Not only their rapacious appetite, but also their violence. Die in place where they sinned -- fall on table or ground – knocks food and drink about. Graphic image of moral mess of xenia. 5. Penelope and Odysseus. When Eurykleia tells Penelope that Odysseus was the beggar, she is happy. Doesn’t believe he killed all 108 men. Olive tree symbol of their marriage. Penelope finally recognizes Odysseus when he talks of their marriage bed. Two things: 1) First means to recognition: the olive-tree marriage bed. The third of olive trees mentioned by Porter, symbolizes heroes rebirth. Means of Penelope’s recognition of her husband. Symbol of birth made a part, of marriage bed – in fashioning bed posts, incorporating it, rooting it. Penelope recognizes central characteristic of him: passion for home. His rebirth as Odysseus, husband of Penelope, is integral to his identity. 2) involuntary nature of Odysseus’ response. Penelope controls the scene here. He can’t make her accept it or identify him, by losing self- control she finds recognition. Provides her with enough to make her accept him as husband. His passion made him her husband. Now that Penelope recognizes him he can turn to Laertes and then community.
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