Introduction to - Mrs. Tully's Website for Students
Homers Odyssey Homer lived around 1200 B.C.E.
was a poet is traditionally thought to be blind, but describes events as a seeing person Homer
Composed the Iliad and the Odyssey, epic poems about the war between the Trojans and the Greeks set in 900-700 B.C.E. and the aftermath of that possibly historic war. What is an epic?
An epic is : A narrative poem concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deed and events significant to a culture or nation. The story of the heros travels and fights with powerful figures, sometimes other humans but also gods and monsters.
An epic : Opens in medias res, Is written in elevated, formal language, Begins with an invocation to a muse, The Muses
The Muses The Muses (mousai), nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory) were said to give inspiration to poets and artists. They are: Calliope (epic poetry); Clio (history); Erato (love poetry and mimicry); Euterpe (music); Melpomene (tragedy); Polyhymnia (hymns, sacred poetry, mime); Terpsichore
(dancing); Thalia (comedy); and Urania (astronomy). The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or classical Greek hymn. An epic : Includes supernatural elements,
involves an epic hero, was originally sung, often to a harp or lyre, was composed for live performance in a pre-literate society Epics contain clues to the ideas of the poet
and his audience-what they feared or did not understand, such as natural disasters, death, storms, the heavens, or the afterlife. reflect the culture that created them: religion, dress, homes, weapons and war, roles of men and women, values and moral standards.
What makes an epic hero? An epic hero Has larger than life qualities, possibly supernatural powers or skills so extraordinary that they seem to be gifts of the gods. Performs brave deeds and faces many
dangers, even defeating monsters and/ or gods. An epic hero Is intelligent and solves difficult, even life-threatening problems. Is a natural leader of men, strong and responsible.
Is a skilled fighter who often stands prominently or alone in battle, An epic hero Makes long journeys, travels to find adventure or to fulfill a desire or quest, Is human, and has a weakness (or
human failing) that destroys him or inadvertently endangers others. Is favored by the gods. Homer is credited with composing two great epics, The Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad is a narrative poem
about the tenth and last year of the Trojan War The theme, the wrath of Achilles, emphasizes arete, honor earned in battle, and kleos, or glory. Arete is honor earned in battle.
If the Greeks regarded the Trojan War as the defining moment of their culture, they did so because of the poetry of Homer. It would not be unfair to regard the Homeric poems as the single most important texts in Greek culture.
--Richard Hooker, Bureaucrats and Barbarians, The Greek Dark Ages. The Trojan War ended when the Greeks tricked the Trojans into bringing a wooden horse filled with Greek soldiers into the city of Troy.
This clever stratagem was Odysseus idea. The Odyssey begins after the fall of Troy. This epic poem of more than 12,000 lines is divided into 24 books. It tells the story of Odysseus
journey as he and his men try to return home from the Trojan War. Odysseus Must you have battle in your heart forever? The bloody toil of combat? Old contender; will you not yield to the immortal gods?
Odyssey, Book 12 Main characters in the Odyssey: Odysseus, the king of Ithaka, called polutropos the man of many turnings for his inventive intelligence, Penelope, Odysseus faithful wife
Telemakhos, Odysseus son, now twenty years old, and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, war, and justice. Narrative Structure of the Odyssey, Books 1 through 4: Odysseus has been away from his home, Ithaka, for twenty
years. His twenty-year-old son Telmakhos, angry about the greedy suitors who have taken over his home, seeks news of his father from those who might have heard about him. The suitors, who hope that Odysseus is dead, want to force his wife Penlope to marry one of them. Led by Athena, posing as
Mentor, Telmakhos travels to neighboring kingdoms, trying to find what has happened to his father. While he is gone, the suitors plot to kill Telmakhos when he
returns. Narrative Structure of the Odyssey, Books 5 through 8: At the same time, far away on Kalypsos island of Ogygia, Odysseus is depressed and homesick. He has been kept there for seven years. Odysseus finally leaves the goddess and journeys to Skera,
land of the Phaikians. Narrative Structure of the Odyssey, Books 9-12: After landing naked and exhausted on the island, Odysseus carefully approaches the maiden Nausikaa, daughter of king Atlkinoos, and she takes him to her fathers court. With the Phaikians as his audience, Odysseus narrates his travels from Troy chronologically, ending with his appearance on Skera.
This episode is occurring at the same time as Telmakhos travels in Books 1-4. Narrative Structure of the Odyssey: Book 13-End Setting: Ithaka Odysseus arrives on Ithaka and the narrative returns to a straightforward chronology. Aided by Athena, he explores the island and
learns about the desperate situation of his wife and reveals himself to his son, Telmakhos. Together, they plan to kill the vicious suitors and save Penlope and their kingdom. Odysseus retakes his home from the suitors
Sources Bauernschub, Mary Beth. Inspired by the Muses, Graces, and Fates." ArtsEdge. The Kennedy Center. 6 Jan 2009 . Hooker, Richard. Bureaucrats and Barbarians, The Greek Dark Ages. Pullman, WA: Washington State U P, 1999.
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