Patricia's Reviews > The Iliad/The Odyssey

The Iliad/The Odyssey by Homer
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Feb 11, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, poetry, newsweek-s-top-100-book-list
Read in October, 2009

Other than the gruesome, violent images often presented in magnificent detail (hey, it is a war!), I really enjoy reading Homer's epic poem. Where else are we given such insight into stubborn Agamemnon, noble Hector, intelligent and well-spoken Odysseus, lazy and spineless Paris, guilt-ridden Helen, the wrath of the warrior Achille's and how vain he can be? We can identify with Trojan and Greek alike, agonizing with both sides over the destructiveness of war. We get the inside story on all the Greek and Trojan heroes and what makes them tick. And best of all, we get a behind-the-scenes, humorous look at the Greek gods; their strengths, weaknesses and all the squabbles and fuss that take place between them. The Iliad is really incomplete without The Odyssey, so I will be reading and reviewing that book as well.

I had read a synopsis of the adventures of Odysseus in high school, but it was nice to read the entire epic poem to get the full story. Odysseus is an intelligent, cunning hero and you are really rooting for him by the time he finally makes it home from his long journey and is ready to take action against the usurpers of his household. So many stories of this time period end in tragedy, it's nice that there is a satisfactory end to Odysseus's story after so many years of pain and heartache for him and his family.

I enjoyed The Odyssey more than The Iliad because it seems a more intimate story overall. We really come to know the man Odysseus, his son Telemachus and wife, Penelope through their thoughts and interactions with others. The Iliad takes place during the Trojan war and focuses on the Greek and Trojan warriors and what takes place on the battlefield. The Odyssey is not quite a continuation of the Iliad, but takes place 10 years after the end of the Trojan war from which the great warrior Odysseus never returned. It seems he had some trouble on the high seas and on various islands along the way and has been unable to make it home. In the meantime, his home has been invaded by suitors who think he is dead and want to marry Penelope. Telemachus is not strong or powerful enough to throw them out and goes on a journey to find news of his father. With the help of the gods, Odysseus and Telemachus are finally able to defend their home. I would recommend reading both The Iliad and Odyssey together but if you're only going to pick up one, read The Odyssey.
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Alex If you want to know more about Homer, you can visit my blog: http://animasmundi.wordpress.com


Lisa Baeringer A great review and synopsis of a wonderful classic that I have enjoyed reading many times.


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