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Persuasive Essay Regarding To Why The Odyssey Should Be Part Of A "Classics" Curriculum Rather Than A "Literary" Curriculum

853 words - 3 pages

Homer's The Odyssey has been popular for centuries, at one point it was used primarily to instruct students who were expected to learn Greek as part of their education, but nowadays, most young readers are introduced to this epic through their language arts curriculum. In fact bridged versions of The Odyssey are routinely found in textbooks. You could say that this epic has become a curriculum staple for high school language arts classics, but that doesn't mean it should be.The Odyssey would be much more valuable in a college "classics" curriculum rather than a high school literature curriculum. Then it could be read in its original language. Translated works often lose something in translation. Students in a classics course, who read it translated, miss fact that The Odyssey is written in dactylic hexameter. Furthermore, the information on Greek and Roman gods would be far more relevant. When Language Arts teachers are limited with the amount of time they have to teach a subject, using a substantial amount of it teaching what is considered background information to a regular high school student, is an inefficient use of that time. Where as in a classics curriculum, information about Greek and Roman gods would not be considered background information, rather the reason that the epic is read in class. Throughout The Odyssey gods intervene, almost constantly, with demonstrations of their powers. For example, one such goddess, Athena, goddess of wisdom, gives "girth and stature to the old field captain", when the situation calls for him to look impressive, and she is always ready to help. "But the sea god Poseidon... raises a storm and destroys the raft. It is only with the help of Athena... that Odysseus arrives... on the island of Scheria, home of the Phaeacians." Zeus also played a role, as he directs Athena to settle the inevitable feud between Odysseus and the families of hundreds of men, whom Odysseus killed because they abused the hospitality of his wife during his twenty year absence. Thus, a classics curriculum is a much more sensible home for this epic.Homer's The Odyssey, though unique, is expendable in a literary curriculum, too. People often claim one must study The Odyssey because it is the "original" epic, but because all epics follow its format- beginning with an invocation to the muse, following in medias res format-- these standard devices can be encountered by reading more contemporary, English language pieces such as John Milton's...

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