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Homer's Odyssey 3 - The Cyclops The Cyclops and Circe...

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Unformatted text preview: The Cyclops The Cyclops and Circe Monday, July 14 Demodocus Demodocus “In came the herald now, leading along the faithful bard the Muse adored above all others, true, but her gifts were mixed with good and evil both: she stripped him of sight but gave the man the power of stirring, rapturous song.” (8.71) Aphrodite and Ares Aphrodite and Ares Reinforces the ever present threat of Penelope’s infidelity Gives Odysseus the means for defeating the suitors Justifies Odysseus’ revenge Parallels Parallels Odysseus : Hephaestus Penelope : Aphrodite – Legs – Craftsmen – Return home to trouble/potential trouble in their beds – Devise trouble for their enemies, in turn – Beautiful – Laughing Demodocus’ song Demodocus’ song Means that Odysseus temporarily loses some control over himself: “As a woman weeps, her arms flung round her darling husband, a man who fell in battle, fighting for his town and townsmen, trying to beat the day of doom from home and children.” (8.588) Parallels Parallels Both Odysseus and Penelope weep at the bards’ songs Both Odysseus and Telemachus are presented with gifts – Mixing bowl – Cup More Parallels More Parallels Suitors : Aegisthus, Paris = adulterers Odysseus : Agamemnon Another map Another map Outline of Events Outline of Events Cicones Cyclops Book 9 Lotus­eaters Aeolus Circe Book 10 Laestrygonians Lotus­eaters Lotus­eaters “Any crewman who ate the lotus, the honey­sweet fruit, lost all desire to send a message back, much less return, their only wish to linger there with the Lotus­ eaters, grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home dissolved forever. But I brought them back . . . lashed them fast.” (9.106) Civilization vs. Anti­Civilization Civilization vs. Anti­Civilization Xenia Eating bread Agriculture/Cultivation Wine Gods Law No hospitality Eating your guests Fruit growing on its own Cheese Herds No reverence for gods Lawless No society Alimentary Code Alimentary Code You are defined by what you eat Gods consume nectar and ambrosia Civilized men eat bread and drink wine Animals eat raw flesh and uncooked – “Barley­meal – the marrow of men’s bones” (2.324) grains and fruits. Monsters eat human flesh. The Civilized and the Barbaric The Civilized and the Barbaric Telemachus Other Greeks Phaeacians (as he gets closer to home) Laestrygonians Cyclops Circe Xenia Xenia “Every stranger and beggar comes from Zeus.” (6.227) “But since we’ve chanced on you, we’re at your knees in hopes of a warm welcome, even a guest­gift, that sort that hosts give strangers. That’s the custom. Respect the gods, my friend. We’re suppliants – at your mercy! Zeus of the Strangers guards all guests and suppliants: strangers are sacred – Zeus will avenge their rights. (9.300­5) Xenia continued Xenia “We Cyclops never blink at Zeus and Zeus’ shield of storm and thunder, or any other blessed god – we’ve got more force by far.” (9.309­311) And Odysseus always wonders . . . And Odysseus always wonders . . . “Man of misery, whose land have I lit on now? What are they here – violent, savage, lawless? Or friendly to strangers, god­fearing men?” (6.131­33) “Who might live there – men like us perhaps, who live on bread?” (9.101­2) “What are they – violent, savage, lawless? Or friendly to strangers, god­fearing men?” (9.195­6) Ambiguity of the Cyclopes Ambiguity of the Cyclopes Ambiguity of the Cyclopes island Compare to Golden Age as described by – No agriculture, yet husbandry – No society, yet the Cyclopes respond to his cries for help – No reverence for gods, except Poseidon – Trust in the gods, yet don’t reverence them – Cruel, yet kind to his animals Hesiod. Golden Age Golden Age The race of men that the immortals who dwell on Mt. Olympus made first of all was gold. They were in the time of Kronos, when he was king in heaven; and they lived like gods, with carefree heart, remote from toil and misery. Wretched old age did not affect them either, but with hands and feet ever unchanged they enjoyed themselves in feasting, Golden Age continued Golden Age continued beyond all ills, and they died as if overcome by sleep. All good things were theirs, and the grain­giving soil bore its fruits of its own accord in unstinted plenty. Hesiod’s Theogony Kronos and Polyphemus Kronos and Polyphemus Eats his kids Rhea substitutes a stone for Zeus Kronos throws up Eat Odysseus’ men Throws a stone at Od.’s ship Throws up wine and bits of Od.’s men Identity Identity In the Cyclops’ cave, Odysseus is “Nobody” (Outis) – also, master of disguise He recovers his identity once he has left the cave and defeated the Cyclops Odysseus as Nobody Odysseus as Nobody Odysseus like Polyphemus? Odysseus like the Trojan Horse? Nobody = generic man (aner) Always in disguise or hidden – Nobody – Under the sheep – Beggar in Troy and in Ithaca Odysseus’ Cunning Odysseus’ Cunning “Nobody is killing me.” Nobody = mē tis Cunning = mētis Zeus: Odysseus Kronos: Polyphemus Book 10 Book 10 Aeolus, Laestrygonians, and Circe Questionable leadership A new threat – one of becoming bestial – As an animal you are in the present Circe Circe Hermes’ injunction Moly Od. stays with her a year Circe tells him he must go to the Underworld to see Tiresias, the prophet Why are they all so upset? Odysseus’ Men Odysseus’ Men “mutinous fools” (9.51 ff.) Aeolus’ winds “Captain, this is madness! High time you thought of your own home at last, if it is really your fate to make it back alive and reach your well­built house and native land.” (10.522­3) Forgetting Forgetting Helen’s drug (4.244 ff.) Lotus­eaters “grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home lost forever.” (10.109­ 10) Circe “into the brew she stirred her wicked drugs to wipe from their memories any thought of home.” (10.259) Threats to Humanity Threats to Humanity Magic Drugs What you eat Forgetting ...
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