Category Archives: Odyssey

Outline (Thesis #6)

Vivien, EJ, Quinn, Connor

Although named for Odysseus, The Odyssey opens by focusing on his son, Telemakhos, revealing the emotional effects of his father’s absenteeism, effects common to both Ancient Greek and current society.

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Odyssey Outline (Thesis #1)

Odyssey Outline (Thesis #1)

Sarah, Rob, Allison, Bobby

  1. Introduction
    1. Thesis- The intimate relationship between the mortals and immortals in Mycenaean civilization exposes to the reader the unique theological ideals of the culture. Continue reading

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

By Vivien

Xenia is the Greek term for the concept of guest hospitality.  It literally means “guest-friendship,” and is an important notion in The Odyssey.  Guests and hosts alike expect mutual respect and an adherence to the rituals.  This form of society is still prevalent in some nations and cultures; but it is a pity most of the trust and honor has been lost with time.  The suitors are in obvious violation of this ritual as they gorge themselves on Odysseus’ food, drink, and home. There is an unspoken understanding between Nestor and Telemakhos in Book III, and Telemakhos and Menelaos in Book IV, as each shows reverence for the wealth and guest-status of the other.  The guest-host interactions flow through the many stories of The Odyssey, and illustrate an indirect reverence for the gods and for fellow man. Continue reading

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Odysseus’ Dirty Linens

The Phaiakians have always been among my favorite people in the Odyssey, and none more so than the young princess Nausikaa.  I like the Phaiakians because of their all-around weirdness (just listen to the names at VIII 118-26!), as well as the delicate balance between hospitality and menace that characterizes their society. After seven years on Kalypso’s island (and three more years of travel spent mostly amidst the company of mythical creatures), Odysseus has finally returned to human society – or has he?  As Poseidon’s favorite people, the Phaiakians clearly partake of the supernatural, and despite the great parties they throw, Telemakhos may have ultimate found himself more at home amidst the strained (but all too human) household of Helen and Menelaos.  One person who seems exempt from all the ambivalent traits of the Phaiakians, however, is Nausikaa, who seems to me to end up as an innocent victim of Odysseus’ relentless desire to return home.

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Study Questions for Odyssey IV-VI

In addition to the blog post regarding the “Palaces of the Telemakhiad” that I put up on Friday, I’m once again going to give you some study questions.  As always, full-length written responses aren’t necessary, but they will hopefully provide you with an inroad into today’s reading assignment.  Remember to take notes and jot down some relevant passages to bring to the discussion!  And speaking of “discussion,” remember the message boards on these posts are intended as natural extensions of our in-class conversations about the Odyssey.  So type away – somebody will have to be the first!

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The Palaces of the Telemakhiad

Since we spent much of our discussion time today talking about the behavior of the gods and the characterization of Telemakhos, I’d like to use this blog post to share some of my early impressions about the role that physical space plays in the Odyssey – after all, the ways in which a collection of mere “places” can be turned into a “world” will be one of our major preoccupations this semester.  Many of the students who encounter the Odyssey in my class for the first time are surprised by the fact that Homer takes so long to introduce us to the titular hero.  Almost 2,500 lines of poetry pass before Odysseus finally appears!  Like his more famous father, however, Telemakhos is undertaking a journey, and the way in which this journey unfolds tells us much about Odysseus’ more arduous travels.

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