Lecture_21 - HomersOdyssey:TheHeroic CodeReconsidered...

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Homer’s  Odyssey : The Heroic  Code Reconsidered 11/18/08
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The Heroic Code in the  Iliad A set of unofficial rules/expectations by which the heroes live: 1. Glory is more important than anything else, and is tied to personal honor 2. One’s glory and honor are enhanced through excellence in battle AND through token prizes that recognize that excellence 3. Hand-to-hand combat is more honorable than archery, and results in more glory 4. Two types of activities in which the heroes should ideally excel: fighting and council 5. Appearance matters – just ask Thersites!
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Heroes of the Trojan War Homer’s  Iliad :   Focus on heroes on the battlefield Glorification of the heroic code and the  aristocratic ways of fighting Heroes from the same side mostly get along Athenian Tragedy: Focus on the negative effects of war on  heroes Problematic nature of relationships between  heroes (e.g., Ajax and Odysseus)
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Odysseus in the  Iliad The go-to guy for restoration of order  (e.g., Thersites episode) Tension between him and Achilles  Smooth talker/trickster No  aristeia  episodes   he is not the  foremost fighter The only hero to describe himself with  formula “father of ___” rather than “son  of ___”
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Odysseus in Athenian  Tragedy The villain – tricks others to get his way  (e.g., how he got arms of Achilles;  tricking Philoctetes out of his bow) Demagogue capable of convincing his  followers of anything (e.g., Sophocles’  Ajax ; Euripides’  Hecuba ) No tragedies survive that address his  life after the Trojan War
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The  Odyssey Composed slightly later than the  Iliad  – late  8 th /early 7 th  c. BC Composed by a different author than the  Iliad Iliad  – epic about a short time-period in the  10 th  year of Trojan War Odyssey  – epic about the 10 th  year AFTER  the Trojan War Why is the greatest epic concerning aftermath  of Trojan War about Odysseus?
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Why Epic about Odysseus? One of the few heroes to survive the War and,  moreover, to survive the trip back home Only Odysseus and Menelaus get a “happy ending”  after the Trojan War Practical hero: the only one to define himself as  “father of ___” as opposed to “son of _____”    Odysseus looks ahead to the future, rather than  looking back to the past While Achilles is the strongest Greek hero,  Odysseus is the smartest/trickiest Greek hero    makes sense that epic about war would be about  hero type #1, while epic about aftermath of war  would be about hero type #2
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Major Characters Odysseus Telemachus Penelope Penelope’s suitors Eunomaeus (swineherd) Eurycleia (nurse) Athena Circe Callypso
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The  Odyssey  – Problems Tying up loose ends from the  Iliad : since 
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2010 for the course CC 32770 taught by Professor Popov-reynolds during the Spring '10 term at University of Texas.

  • Spring '10
  • Popov-Reynolds
  • The Odyssey, The Iliad, Achilles, Athena, Menelaus, Odysseus, Poseidon, Book 1, Homecoming, Fate, Odysseus, Telemachus, Penelope, Athena, Poseidon, Achilles, Alcinous, Calypso, Circe, Demodocus, Hermes, Menelaus, Nausicaa, Tiresias, Book 1

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Lecture_21 - HomersOdyssey:TheHeroic CodeReconsidered...

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