Lecture 22 - The Odyssey: Myth and History From Homeric...

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The Odyssey: Myth and History From “Homeric Society” to Archaic Greece 11/20/08
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Odysseus: From Troy to Ithaca Journey from Troy to Ithaca Journey from the Age of Heroes to the Archaic Age Journey from the Mythical world to Reality Journey from Individualism to Family Journey from War to Peace Journey from Primitivism to Civilization Journey to normalcy; Odysseus’ deliberate acceptance of the human condition
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Map of Odysseus’ Journey
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Odysseus and the Phaeacians Phaeacians – placed at the intersection of the world of tales and the “real” world Their main function in the poem – to transport O. from one world to the other Phaeacians act as a civilizing force on O.: 1. When O. meets Nausicaa, he is compared to a lion descending from the hills to kill livestock and deer 2. When O. leaves Phaeacia, he is compared to a tired plowman returning home 3. O.’s symposium with the Phaeacians – civilized gathering and civilized conversation/entertainment
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Odyssey : Books 12-24, Plot Book 12: continues O.’s story of his adventures to the Phaeacian court O. comes back to Circe from the Underworld; Circe gives him advice about forthcoming challenges (Sirens; Scylla and Charybdis; island of the Sun) Sirens: O. has his men plug their ears with wax. O. wants to avoid island of the Sun, but Eurylochus and the rest of his men out-vote him
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Song of the Sirens “Come hither, Odysseus, glory of the Achaeans , stop your ship so you can hear our voices. No one has ever sailed his black ship past here without listening to the honeyed sound from our lips. He journeys on delighted and knows more than before. For we know everything that the Greeks and Trojans suffered in wide Troy by the will of the gods. We know all that happens on the teeming earth ” (p. 357)
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Odysseus and the Sirens (late 6 th /early 5 th c. BC)
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Odysseus and the Sirens (3 rd c. BC)
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Plot (cont.) The Sun gets permission from Zeus to punish O.’s men Zeus strikes the ship w/ thunderbolt O. the only one to survive the shipwreck; floats for 9 days, and on the 10 th gets to Calypso Book 13: Phaeacian ship takes O. to Ithaca, and leaves him sleeping on the beach there Athena in disguise as young shepherd comes to O. and informs him he’s on Ithaca O. lies to Athena and says he is from Crete, and is an exile b/c he murdered someone
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Odysseus’ Speech to Athena “I’ve been on the run since killing a man, Orsilochus, Idomeneus’ son, the great sprinter. No one in all Crete could match his speed . He wanted to rob me of all of the loot I took out of Troy – stuff I had sweated for in hand-to-hand combat in the war overseas – because I wouldn’t serve under his father in Troy but led my own unit instead. I ambushed him with one of my men, got him with a spear as he came back from the fields.
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Lecture 22 - The Odyssey: Myth and History From Homeric...

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