Odyssey - Kiki Caldeira Humanities 1010-733 Carnahan Number...

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Kiki Caldeira 9/29/07 Humanities 1010-733 Carnahan Number 3 The Bards of the Odyssey Stories have always been the pinnacle of ancient societies, because they are how history is remembered and shared. While these stories are being told, people come together to listen and learn of their past, and discover inspirational heroes and heroines. This form of storytelling is how The Odyssey was told, the poet Homer’s tale of a Greek man named Odysseus and his delayed journey home from the Trojan War. Homer was a storyteller himself, which is most likely why he emphasizes the importance of bards in his tale of Odysseus. Phemius, the bard in the house of Odysseus, plays an important role along with Demodokos, the bard in the house of Alkinoos, for they both tell (or sing) stories of the past, mainly of great battles. The Gods are almost always mentioned in these stories, and it is often that these stories provoke tears from a main character. Within the larger context of The Odyssey , Homer used bards to change the scene of action– to transfer the audiences’ attention to what is going on at another time or place. In the opening line of The Odyssey , Homer calls to the Muse to help him tell the tale of Odysseus. The reason he did this was to show that he was more like a prophet of the Muse telling the story– he may not have even known the story himself that well, but felt like the Goddess sung through him. . This is a sign of respect to the Gods, for to tell such a story with such magnificence, one 1
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must tell it in a Godly way. Homer does so by asking, “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story/ of that man skilled in all ways of contending, / the wanderer, harried for years on end, / after he plundered the stronghold/ on the proud height of Troy.” (Book I, lines 1-5, page 1) This call is clearly an ancient tradition, and must have been called out majestically by the poet before beginning the story. While calling to the Muse, the storyteller would slowly
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Odyssey - Kiki Caldeira Humanities 1010-733 Carnahan Number...

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