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Old School Classics, Pre-1900 > The Odyssey - SPOILERS

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message 1: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments This is the discussion thread for The Odyssey by Homer, our Old School Classic Group Read for August 2016.

Spoilers allowed here.

Please feel free to discuss anything you wish, relating to the book and let us know what you thought :)


message 2: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Links for notes and analysis of The Odyssey, spoilers contained so beware -

SparkNotes
CliffsNotes
Shmoop


message 3: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I've read the first two books, 'Athena inspires the prince' and 'Telemachus sets sail'. So far it's a very easy read, the Fagles translation is modern and engaging, so there's no getting bored by stuffy old text. I'd prefer it to be slightly more lyrical, as this does read like prose for the most part, though it's set out like verse, giving a somewhat poetic rhythm as you read.

The story so far seems to be setting out the scene for further adventures. Athena, while Poseidon is out of the way, has persuaded Zeus and the other god's to help Odysseus return home. She's visited his son Telemachus, while disguised as Mentes, and seemed to puff him up with ideas of manliness, reminding him that he's no longer a boy. In turn Telemachus is asserting his authority as a man, speaking harshly to his Mother Penelope and telling her to return to her woman's work and not trouble herself over man's business. In book two he turns his attention to Penelope's suitors, who are taking advantage of their hospitality while Odysseus is out of the way. The suitors have spent years living and eating at their home, expecting Penelope to pick one of them to marry, as Odysseus is supposed dead, but she's been employing stalling tactics by way of weaving! Now Telemachus wants them to leave and they're refusing to do so, blaming Penelope for their outstayed welcome by not choosing a husband sooner. Telemachus threatens to enlist help from Zeus if they don't leave, at which point he sends down some eagles as a sign of support. The suitors look like staying put, so Telemachus then secretly sets sail from Ithaca, with help from some trusted men and Athena again.

That's basically the gist of it, though obviously I've missed some things out and may not have understood everything. This is my first time of reading, so feel free to point out anything important you think I've missed!

My feelings so far about Telemachus, are that I like him more than I was expecting to. I thought his treatment and rudeness to Penelope would bug me and that I'd find him an arrogant, macho thug, but instead I thought he was simply a boy trying to assert himself as a man, in an effort to become the head of his household. I'm not sure how much he features throughout the book, if he's going to stay a main character, or become sidelined as we learn more of Odysseus's travels. I'm looking forward to finding out....I'm off to read book 3 now.


message 4: by Ellen (new)

Ellen B Hi Pink,
I may have slept through these chapters the first time I read the book some years ago, but I'd totally forgotten about Telemachus' journey. I kind of like him, sticking up for his mother against so many (lazy) older men.


message 5: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments i too like him so far....Odysseus is just clasping Nausica's Moms knees...
i never thought it would be easy to read either..


message 6: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments though i am reserving judgement on Odysseus...him not being faithful and expecting Penelope to be is just sooo unfair..though i am getting used to the fact that this , after all is not romance but an epic heroic tale of adventure...and the times being what it was , unfair was the norm.. women were expected to be some kind of paragon..


message 7: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments siriusedward wrote: "though i am reserving judgement on Odysseus...him not being faithful and expecting Penelope to be is just sooo unfair..though i am getting used to the fact that this , after all is not romance but ..."

The gender roles are interesting. It seems like everywhere Odysseus goes, there's some nude woman throwing herself at him. His responses to Circe* and Calypso are different, though, so maybe that shows some growth.
*Kirke if you're reading the Fitzgerald.


message 8: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I've read books 3 and 4 now, which mainly focus on Telemachus consulting Nestor, then Menelaus, trying to discern what's happened to his Father and if he might still be alive. I've enjoyed hearing from Helen as well, like in this wonderful speech -

"To the life he's like the son of the great Odysseus,
surely he's Telemachus! The boy that hero left
a babe in arms at home when all you Achaeans
fought at Troy, launching your headlong battles
just for my sake, shameless whore that I was."

I'm expecting the story to be focused on the male narrative, with stories of wars and conquests and some sexist shenanigans thrown in. I'll have to wait and see how I feel about that, but generally this doesn't bother me in ancient texts. The Odyssey should be quite interesting in comparison to other epics, as it includes so many female characters and not just weak and wilting violets either.


message 9: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments Pink wrote: "I've read books 3 and 4 now, which mainly focus on Telemachus consulting Nestor, then Menelaus, trying to discern what's happened to his Father and if he might still be alive. I've enjoyed hearing ..."

Shame on you, Helen! Why did you have to go and start that war?

It's interesting how many variations there are of the Paris & Helen story, some which put all the blame on her, others that put all the blame on him, and some that throw it on Aphrodite.


message 10: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Yeah, even in the story so far they've hinted that it was Aphrodite's fault, then we get passages where the blame seems to be put on Penelope. Perhaps Fagles was being diplomatic, or maybe he's just incorporating all the different versions.


message 11: by Pink (last edited Aug 06, 2016 08:57AM) (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Book 5, in which we meet Odysseus and he's helped on his journey home by three different females, Athena (who keeps intervening), Calypso (who's forced by Zeus to relinquish her lover) and Ino (who takes pity on him). On to book 6....


message 12: by siriusedward (last edited Aug 06, 2016 11:01AM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments It is a very interesting tale of adventure. I am liking it.and as phil said everyone keeps throwing themselves at Odysseus..er sorry Godlike Odysseus...


message 13: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments All are called by some adjective or the other ..thoughtful Telemachus...
And Nobodys story was interesting...did the various jokes of Nobody and Somebody originate from this..?


message 14: by Steve (last edited Aug 06, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Steve Finegan | 129 comments The psychologist Julian Jaynes has suggested that Wily Odysseus is a transitional figure, representing a developmental change in the human psyche. Odysseus straddles two worlds, the old world of heroes ruled by the iron hand of fate and the will of gods and the modern world of men and women (Penelope's pretty wily, too) living by their wits. Jaynes wrote a very interesting and I think controversial book about the continuous development of the human mind/psyche over the millennia as represented in changes in art, culture and religion, and his top examples are the Iliad and the Odyssey, books which he contends were composed at least a century apart. Here's his book: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind


message 15: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments Steve wrote: "The psychologist Julian Jaynes has suggested that Wily Odysseus is a transitional figure, representing a developmental change in the human psyche. Odysseus straddles two worlds, the old world of he..."

Steve, it sounds like that book may have inspired Gene Wolfe's novel Soldier of the Mist, which posits that the ancients encountered gods more often because their corpus colossums (the separation between the hemispheres of the cerebrum) were more permeable back then and encouraged left/right neural connections.


message 16: by Steve (last edited Aug 07, 2016 10:17AM) (new)

Steve Finegan | 129 comments Phil wrote: "Steve wrote: "Steve, it sounds like that book may have inspired Gene Wolfe's novel Soldier of the Mist."

Wonderful novel, Phil. That and Soldier of Sidon. Also, after his head injury, Latro demonstrates some classic symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy (partial seizures), including dissociation, hallucinations, and hypergraphia.


message 17: by Pink (last edited Aug 09, 2016 02:13AM) (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Steve wrote: "The psychologist Julian Jaynes has suggested that Wily Odysseus is a transitional figure, representing a developmental change in the human psyche. Odysseus straddles two worlds, the old world of he..."

That's very interesting. I think it definitely has a bit of both the old world being ruled by gods and a new shift of men (and women) making their own fate.

Whether The Odyssey and The Iliad were written in the same time period, or indeed by the same person, is something that I think will continue to be debated. My introduction had points for and against, but seemed to sway on the side that they were composed by the same person.

I'm halfway through now. Odysseus was starting to seem like he wouldn't stop whining about his troubles. He was really getting on my nerves, but then he was so easily provoked into proving his manliness and showing his macho side again!

I'm still enjoying the story and it's interesting to see how all these other heroes of myths and legends tie into Odysseus's tale. I studied classics in school, but I have trouble remembering everyone's individual stories without getting them confused. There are so many gods and heroes, let alone all of the lucky mortals, whom the gods choose to mate with! The glossary is definitely helping me at times.


message 18: by Emerson (new)

Emerson | 348 comments I wish I had a better memory, for those stories of Medea, Clytemnestra, the foundation of Roma... I loved how intricate they were! I miss them!


message 19: by siriusedward (last edited Aug 09, 2016 04:30AM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Pink wrote: "Steve wrote: "The psychologist Julian Jaynes has suggested that Wily Odysseus is a transitional figure, representing a developmental change in the human psyche. Odysseus straddles two worlds, the o..."

i know he is so immature...too much whining..he never improves ..sadly..

but i guess ..all those weeping and great troubles which are never ending made for the noble godlike Odysseus to provide lots of entertainment...

and maybe that style was popular at the time..and we just can't understand the pathos of it due to our times..? who knows.. i find myself smiling at certain points..
i am enjoying the story too..surprisingly.. i just can't get over how readable it is...


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 56 comments siriusedward wrote: "though i am reserving judgement on Odysseus...him not being faithful and expecting Penelope to be is just sooo unfair...."

Judging by the standards of modern gender relationships, it does seem unfair. Judging by the standards of Homer's original audience, though, it would have been totally normal and expected, and anything else would have been the outrageous outlier (see what happened to Agamemnon when his wife wasn't faithful!)


message 21: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments siriusedward wrote: "i know he is so immature...too much whining..he never improves "

Is Odysseus a static character? I'd like to think he changes a bit.

He seems more focused after his trip to Hades, which causes him to feel differently about Calypso than he did about Circe. He gradually learns some humility, which causes him to behave differently after he's rescued by Ino than he did when he was pillaging and mocking the Cyclops at the beginning of the book. He seems more ready to listen to Athena near the end than he was at the beginning.

They're not drastic changes, but I think he learns a little.


message 22: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Hmm yeah thats true... he does seem a bit humbler..


message 23: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Everyman wrote: "Judging by the standards of modern gender relationships, it does seem unfair. Judging by the standards of Homer's original audience, though, it would have been totally normal and expected, and anything else would have been the outrageous outlier (see what happened to Agamemnon when his wife wasn't faithful!).."

I didn't find Odysseus to be as bad as I was expecting. Even when he seems captivated by other beauties his instinct is to return home to Penelope. I thought his macho ways and womanising would bug me more, but I was okay with these parts, it was the earlier whining that I couldn't stand. Though I don't know what that says about me!

I'm at the part where Odysseus has just returned to Ithaca and Athena is stepping in again. I have a question about her. She's been by his side helping out at every twist and turn, but has she always been supportive of him, or has she switched allegiance at some point? Also why does she favour Odysseus, is it just because he's the strong godlike hero?


message 24: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments But there are many Godlike heroes.s o why him.

And she did saythat when Posiedon was angry she couldnt interfere for odysseuss benefit as he was her uncle.
odysseus womanising ways did not affect me much either as i took it as part of what people thought/thinks makes a man...esp in Epic


message 25: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments Pink wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Judging by the standards of modern gender relationships, it does seem unfair. Judging by the standards of Homer's original audience, though, it would have been totally normal and e..."

So much to say on the subject of Athena...

Athena is the goddess of smartness. Odysseus is wily, so he's her kind of hero. Also, she has an ongoing feud with Poseidon, but she has to be civil to him sometimes to please Zeus.

Bear in mind that Hellenic Greece was a collection of city-states, each with their own preferred heroes and gods/goddesses. Athena was the favored goddess of Athens. Since the Athenians recorded a lot of the myths we have, it stands to reason that she looks pretty good in them.

As time went on and Greece became more unified, they gradually knitted together all the regional city-state myths into a larger body of (frequently contradictory) mythology. That's why there are inconsistencies in things like the cause of the Trojan war and Theseus having two biological fathers.


message 26: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments The same thing happened in Norse mythology. Odin was favored among village dwellers, and Thor was favored in rural areas. When the more urban peoples started recording the myths, they made Thor out to be kind of a meathead because that was their opinion of the farmers that worshiped him.


message 27: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Athena is very interesting, I can see it makes sense that more of her stories have survived from Athens showing her in a positive light. So was she always by Odysseus's side throughout The Trojan War and before?

With Poseidon, I know he was angered when Odysseus blinded Polyphemus, but did he already have a grudge against him? It felt like he was against Odysseus from the beginning, perhaps siding with another mortal in the game of gods?


message 28: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 4087 comments Pink wrote: "Athena is very interesting, I can see it makes sense that more of her stories have survived from Athens showing her in a positive light. So was she always by Odysseus's side throughout The Trojan W..."

I'm reading The Penelopiad, and she says Odysseus told her "he'd always been favoured by the goddess Athene because of his inventinve mind and his skill at disguises and strategems."


message 29: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Well it's nice that she likes him for his mind and not his body or strength :)

I just finished book 14, which was one of my favourites, where Odysseus is spinning his alternative yarn to the swine herd.


message 30: by Steve (last edited Aug 10, 2016 06:05PM) (new)

Steve Finegan | 129 comments I like Penelope's dream of the geese and the eagle in Book 19. After slaughtering the twenty geese, the eagle speaks to the wife of Odysseus in a human voice, telling her that he is her husband returned. After a disguised Odysseus interprets her dream, Penelope muses on the strangeness and unaccountability of dreams and says that they do not invariably come true. For dreams may pass through two gates, one of horn (true dreams) and one of ivory (deceptive dreams). This motif has so much resonance that it has echoes in Greek and Roman literature of the classical period, e.g., the works of Plato and Virgil, and beyond, all the way down to our time. For example, in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series, the Gates of Horn and Ivory are the way into the King of Dream's realm.


message 31: by Ellen (new)

Ellen B I'm about to start Book 8. Still feeling a bit like a slog, but I know things pick up in Book 9...


message 32: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments I liked Kirke and Calypso, in that they are women who are not just weeping like Penelope.t hough both are goddess.
Though Penelope is portrayed as wily, not giving a certain answer to the suitors and yet accepting gifts from them.not giving a definite yes or no.still weaving the ___ for Laertes.
And Goddess Athene.

I think i am fonder of Odysseus now.

And i don't like any of the suitors.


Keep reAding Ellen .... it will be better...


message 33: by Ellen (new)

Ellen B At Book 9 now. Have to work now though.


message 34: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments Here are some of my notes from Book I & II:

Hospitality

The guest-host relationship is an important aspect of Greek culture. In The Iliad, we get an example of how complex this social ritual is when we see Diomedes of the Achaean (Greek) warriors and Glaukos of the Trojan warriors, not only refusing to fight each other, but exchanging armour simply because the grandfather of Diomedes had hosted Glaukos in the past and they had exchanged gifts. Their actions demonstrate that the guest-host relationship is sacred. Perhaps this example makes it easier to understand why the Sun God would slaughter all of Odysseus's men, and it also makes the behaviour of the suitors in the home of Odysseus that much more appalling. Odysseus was/is the king of Ithaka, yet it is obvious by his absence, the island is completely lacking leadership and the societal rules and traditions have degraded into a type of anarchy.

Telemachos

When we first meet him, he is a boy, without any power or prestige. The suitors have taken over his house and, in fact, his inheritance, as they make free use of his goods. While he complains to third parties about the mens' insolence and discourtesy, he does not seem to have made any resistance against them in word or deed. Yet after his conversation with Mentes (Athene), she imbues him with courage and spirit, which he immediately puts to use and attempts to establish himself as the power in the household, first by demonstrating control over his mother, and then by threatening the suitors with consequences if they don't return to their own homes.

Ithaka Without A King

It's apparent that without a king, the island kingdom has fallen into a sorry state of disorder and rebellion. The suitors, by abusing the code of hospitality, are acting in a way that they would never act if there had been proper leadership. Aigyptios mentioned that the meeting called by Telemachos was the first since Odysseus had gone away (nearly 20 years before!), more evidence of a lack of government which allows the suitors free license in their conduct.


message 35: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3328 comments I just finished book 15

I feel the same about the Fitzgerald version as Pink does the Fagles one. It's easy and pleasant but I wish it was more lyrical also.

I like that added insight about the guest-host relationship Cleo. I had been wondering why there was such a need for vengeance on the suitors since Odysseus had made Penelope promise to re-marry if he wasn't back by the time Telemachus reached puberty.

The suitors also all reasonably thought he was dead. I know they were considered rude by eating and drinking in his home etc.. but it didn't seem like offenses that should result in death. Maybe for some of the most offensive one's but all of them? I would think he could just return without disguise and reassert his authority and punish them. The more drastic action makes more sense with this sacred relationship you describe.

Before I thought that his need to kill them was because he thought they wouldn't accept his authority when he returned and try to overthrow him or something.

I wonder how the suitors could have respectfully courted her? It just seems odd that with so many, all of them were disrespectful.

Despite not really understanding the anger, I'm loving the book. I love Greek Mythology. It's so interesting how they created all these Gods. I feel like they created them to explain the fact that people were fortunate or unfortunate in certain areas. If you had one God, then they'd have a harder time explaining someone wise and cunning but bad at navigating the ocean like Odysseus.

Even though I think they give Odysseus and others credit for their own good traits, they are still bolstered by being favored by a certain god. Athena likes Odysseus because as she says:

"No more of this though. Two of a kind, we are,
contrivers, both. Of all men now alive
you are the best in plots and story telling.
My own fame is for wisdom among the gods-
deceptions, too. "

If he wasn't good at these things, then how could she be seen to favor him?

And with Poseidon, the opposite is true. Odysseus had trouble navigating before he blinded Poseidon's son. Theoretically, it was because Poseidon never liked him. His dislike developed to hate after the blinding, which is justification for further increasing troubles that Odysseus has.

I think it's so interesting because in these ancient times, they seem to use the Gods as a way of moderating and not making people all good or all evil. Really bad things can happen to a good person if only one of the Gods as a grudge against them.


message 36: by siriusedward (last edited Aug 12, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Thanks for the insight Cleo and Sue.Very helpful.
I did not know it was considered sacred.i just thought it was a very important part of the greek culture.welcoming the guest , feasting him, providing him with gifts...
It does make Odysseus anger more clear.i too thought it was because , the suitors were eating him out of his house.and causing disorder in Ithaka.

Penelope ia hiding from the suitors and Telemachos has only just matured... taking stepa to know more about hia father and all that.
The servants, male and female, and many shepherds are already under the influence of suitors.

I think I understand why Odysseus wanted to disguise himself and check whether the people have been loyal to him....

Odysseus is happy when Penelope shows her wile by beguiling the suitors into bringing more wealth as courting ?l gifts.

Penelope says to the suitors , that in the days past ,the suitors brought their own sheeps and all , to the woman's ,whom they were courting, house as food.they also brought gifts for her.


message 37: by Cleo (last edited Aug 12, 2016 02:21PM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments I'm glad I could help! :-) When I first read The Iliad/The Odyssey I read them with some readers who were very well-versed in Greek thought and they opened up so many areas in the works that I wouldn't have been able to see on my own.

It also might help to remember that Odysseus left Ithaka 20 years before. Most of the suitors were probably children when he left and never knew their king. Odysseus is like a myth or dream, and there is nothing to tie their allegiance to him, except stories passed down from their elders. Having little connection with him, coupled with the deterioration of his rule, perhaps explains why they have so little respect for him and his household. While the Kings of Greece appear to be well-respected by their people, in Ithaka there is a lack of loyalty and devotion. Respect comes with a price, and if a king is no longer able to benefit his subjects, they often will look somewhere else for either leadership, or conversely, seek power themselves. And honestly, they probably think that he's never coming back. I would think they are more concerned with Penelope and Telemachos and how they can manipulate them for their own benefit.


message 38: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments Sue wrote: "I would think he could just return without disguise and reassert his authority and punish them. The more drastic action makes more sense with this sacred relationship you describe. ..."

And power would certain play into this situation as well. They are infiltrating the king's household, with the attempt to take over his position. Odysseus seeking their deaths would be even more understandable in this context.


message 39: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3328 comments siriusedward wrote: "Thanks for the insight Cleo and Sue.Very helpful.
I did not know it was considered sacred.i just thought it was a very important part of the greek culture.welcoming the guest , feasting him, provid..."


I forgot about that. She did say they brought sheep and gifts in the past. It's so strange that such a huge amount of suitors would all buck the custom. I guess that is the effect of having no leader, no authority, no accountability. It turns in to a madness of crowds type thing.

I agree Cleo that they think he's never coming back. It's seems everyone but Penelope and Telemachus think he's dead. That's why I think it's so strange to be so angry since Odysseus himself thought it likely he wouldn't survive.

I think, like you said before, it must be this sacred respect thing. If they had done things in a more respectful way everything would be different . Especially if he thought they were trying to take power when he left instructions for Telemachus to be King.


message 40: by Cleo (last edited Aug 12, 2016 04:08PM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments Sue wrote: "I think, like you said before, it must be this sacred respect thing. If they had done things in a more respectful way everything would be different . Especially if he thought they were trying to take power when he left instructions for Telemachus to be King. ..."

I just noted this from Book I:

"…….. I should not have sorrowed over his dying
if he had gone down among his companions in the land of the Trojans,
or in the arms of his friends, after he had wound up the fighting.
So all the Achaians would have heaped a grave mound over him,
And he would have won great fame for himself and his son hereafter."
(236 - 240)

It appears that if Odysseus would have died the death of a warrior during the Trojan War, his namesake would have been respected and the problems with the suitors would probably have not existed. The glory he would have won in death would have been passed on to Telemachos. Very interesting!


message 41: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments Cleo wrote: "It appears that if Odysseus would have died the death of a warrior during the Trojan War, his namesake would have been respected."

I took that passage to mean that a death with witnesses would have brought the news home, and she would have the peace of mind of knowing what happened to him.

Sue, maybe the parts I'm thinking of come later, but those suitors deserve to die, die, die in any culture. Doesn't the part where they try to ambush Telemachus at sea come in the first four books? And then there treatment of the servants, the property, their disrespect for Penelope in her own home, and the dog. When you get to the part with Argus, you'll know what has to happen.


message 42: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Yeah Argus's was a sad tale...it really showed all the negligence going on..and the disrespect they showed to Penelope , Telemachus and the people of Ithaka...
It is beutifuly written...though melodramatic at times..i get so involved in the story..


message 43: by Steve (new)

Steve Finegan | 129 comments Phil wrote: "Sue, maybe the parts I'm thinking of come later, but those suitors deserve to die, die, die in any culture. Doesn't the part where they try to ambush Telemachus at sea come in the first four books?"

No question, Phil, the story's structured to provide the listener/reader with maximum savage pleasure (okay, cathartic release) that those bastards are getting exactly what they deserve. No action flick ever had a better Act 3 climax. "Antinous, I'm back!"


message 44: by Cleo (last edited Aug 12, 2016 05:14PM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments Phil wrote: "I took that passage to mean that a death with witnesses would have brought the news home, and she would have the peace of mind of knowing what happened to him...."

Mmmmm ..... if you read the passage itself, the emphasis does seem to be on fame. Kleos, or fame and glory, were what was most important to the Greeks. It's what lived on after they died, and Odysseus' fame would certainly have afforded Penelope protection at least to a certain point.


message 45: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 129 comments For those who have read up to Book XII or so, I was wondering what you thought of Odysseus' ability as a leader? In my notes, I had many questions about his leadership qualities.


message 46: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 627 comments Cleo wrote: "For those who have read up to Book XII or so, I was wondering what you thought of Odysseus' ability as a leader? In my notes, I had many questions about his leadership qualities."

To me, it's a bit ambiguous. His men are idiots and they die. But, he's not terribly open with them. Why didn't he tell them what was in the bag of winds? I also remember him not telling them the whole story on the cattle of Helios- just, "Don't eat them. Trust me." Then there's the decision not to trust them with the info about Scylla.


message 47: by Steve (new)

Steve Finegan | 129 comments Cleo wrote: "For those who have read up to Book XII or so, I was wondering what you thought of Odysseus' ability as a leader? In my notes, I had many questions about his leadership qualities."

The answer to your question, Cleo, depends on what you mean by "leadership." It seems to be true of both the Iliad and the Odyssey that there are gods, heroes and, with notable exceptions, everyone else. If you happen to be cast as an "extra" in these epics, your lot is to follow orders and do your duty (or maybe do something stupid that puts the hero or enterprise in greater jeopardy) or take a beating and die. A great tactician, yes, but Odysseus was a king and a hero; I'm not sure he demonstrated what we'd define as top-notch leadership qualities, except among his peers in The Iliad (he was a leader among them). All that said, here's a link to the Forbes Leadership test. How do you think Odysseus stacks up as a leader in The Odyssey? Actually, after a quick review, I don't think he does too badly. http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt...


message 48: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3328 comments Phil wrote: "Cleo wrote: "It appears that if Odysseus would have died the death of a warrior during the Trojan War, his namesake would have been respected."

I took that passage to mean that a death with witnes..."


I don't remember the Ambush. Right now I'm in Book 16 I believe, I'm at a point where they are plotting to Ambush him as he returns, but I don't remember anything like that until just now. Maybe I daydreamed or skipped forward accidentally through that earlier. I'm alternating between listening and reading and maybe I picked up one or the other at the wrong point. I know they've taken advantage and acted bad, but as far as I remembered, they hadn't harmed either Penelope or Telemachus and they've been hanging around for about 4 years.

For me, Polyphemus, HE deserved to die, not just have an eye put out. He was a savage cannibalistic beast. The suitors seemed to be more like unruly pigs who would have stopped their behavior had she chosen one of them, which was expected since Odysseus was presumed dead. It's probably why Odysseus made her promise to marry, so that she would have protection.

I guess having watched a couple seasons of The Vickings series on the History channel, these suitors seem relatively mild, until now, when they are planning to kill Telemachus, but even still I don't get the sense that it's a united army of all of them, I haven't reached a battle yet. Odysseus is just now giving Telemachus his own plan to Ambush the suitors.


message 49: by siriusedward (last edited Aug 13, 2016 01:11AM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments They are plotting against Telemachus from now on...and yet smiles and talks to him nicely...
And they are not particularly in any rush to marry Penelope , but uses her wiles, as an excuse to go on using up Telemachus's food and wealth.
They want to go on as they are, irresponsible and in luxury...they are also rude to Telemachus's guest and does not respect himas their host...

And they are plotting now , i think, because now Telemachus is showing some aigns of maturity like looking for news of his father..and maybe they are afraid they wont be able to continue as they are..?


message 50: by Angie (new)

Angie | 591 comments I'm nine books in so far, and I'm really enjoying the book thus far. I thought I read it when I was about twelve, but if I did, I must've read an abridge version. Some of it seems familiar, but I just don't remember Telemachus and his journey. Having said that, I'm intrigued by that part of the story.

I will try to post some more comprehensive thoughts later on.


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