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Interpretive Questions From "The Odyssey" Essay

1648 words - 7 pages

Homer, "The Odyssey", Book 1Question One:Who is the narrator in this story?References:1. "Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy" (Page 77, Lines 1 - 3).2. "By now, all the survivors, all who avoided the headlong death were safe at home, escaped the wars and waves" (Page 77, Lines 13 - 15).Comments:Is the narrator a god - some wise, all-knowing power or entity that watches over all men? Though, I wouldn't think that this would be the case, because on page 78, lines 21 - 24, the narrator speaks about gods and how every god took pity except Poseidon. The narrator comes across (to me) as if he is not one of the gods, but an onlooker of some sort - perhaps a historian?Question Two:Who is the narrator speaking to or about?References:1. "But one man alone... his heart set on his wife and his return - Calypso. The bewitching nymph, the lustrous goddess, held him back" (Page 78, Line 16 - 20).2. "But then, when the wheeling seasons brought the year around, that year spun out by the gods when he should reach his home, Ithaca - though not even there would he be free of trials..."(Page 77, Lines 19 -21).Comments:Who is being held back by Calypso? Is this a tale about one man alone as it says, or is this something more evasive - more generic, such as man in general or society - married men held back by lust towards another woman? Man, wanting something that is inaccessible rather than focusing on what is at present? If I had to answer my own question with a single individual, I would guess the answer is Odysseus, because on page 79, lines 57 - 60, Athena is speaking about Odysseus, tormented off on a wave-washed island. It does appear, however, to me, that "man" could be all men as this would tie in with the additional information that we gather from the tale of Orestes being killed by Aegisthus as a result of his lust for Agamemnon's wife.-------------------------------------Homer, "The Odyssey", Book 2Interpretive QuestionsQuestion One:Why do you think Penelope kept unraveling her knitting instead of choosing a suitor?References:1. "It's not the suitors here who deserve the blame, it's your own dear mother, the matchless queen of cunning..." (Page 96, Lines 94 - 110).2. "So day by day she'd weave at her great and growing web - and night, by the light of the torches set beside her, she would unravel all she'd done" (Page 96, Lines 115 - 122).Comments:Why does Prince Telemachus' mother, Penelope, lead the suitors on? Does she secretly hope that Odysseus is still alive or is it because she has lost her mind after losing her husband, the King?Question Two:Why is Telemachus not believable to the people that he speaks to?References:1. "...Who's there to fear? I ask you. Surely not Telemachus, with all his tiresome threats" (Page 99, Lines 216 - 222).2. "Odysseus? He's dead now, far from home - would to god that you'd die with him too. We'd have escaped your...

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