Homer's The Odyssey

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Homer's "The Odyssey"

The Odyssey is a companion to The Iliad, a story of the Trojan War. Both The Iliad and The Odyssey are epic poems written by Homer. In The Odyssey, Homer relates the misadventures of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, that occur during the decade following the defeat of Troy. In doing so, the fates of his fellow warriors are also made known. The Odyssey begins on Mount Olympus, in the palace of Zeus, king of the gods, where a discussion takes place regarding the woes of humans and their determination to blame it on the gods. Athene, daughter of Zeus, appeals to her father to help Odysseus, who through no fault of his own, has been kept prisoner on the island of Ogygia for seven years by Calypso, daughter of the god Atlas. After receiving sanction to help Odysseus, Athene visits Telemachus, Odysseus' son, to motivate him to begin searching for his father. It is here that we learn of the situation awaiting Odysseus at home in Ithaca. Penelope, Odysseus' wife, is besieged by suitors who wish to marry her. She has no desire to remarry because she still laments for Odysseus and prays that he will return, even though it's been twenty years since he left to fight against Troy. These suitors, rather than courting her from afar, have taken up residence in her palace and are eating her and her son out of house and home. It is under these circumstances that Telemachus, directed by Athene, leaves Ithaca to search for news of his father. Meanwhile, Calypso is sent word that she must release Odysseus and allow him to return home. It is during his trip home that we learn of all that has befallen Odysseus since he left Troy. His journey home is not without incident either. However, with the help of Athene, Odysseus finally arriv...

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...his voyage, The Ulysses Voyage, which describes his findings. Even people who have never read The Odyssey have been influenced by Homer because the books they read or the movies they watch are written by people who were influenced by Homer, and the languages they speak have words and expressions that have come down to us from Homer. Xenophanes, quoted in Scott's book, says it the best: "From the beginning, for all have learned from him." (Scott 93) Ifwe read Homer's The Odyssey, we can learn from him too.

Works Cited:

Finley, M. I. The World of Odysseus. New York: The Viking Press, 1954 ,

Lefkowitz, Mary R. The Lives of the Greek Poets. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1981.

Scott, John Adams Scott. Homer and His Influence. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1963.

Severin, Tim. The Ulysses Voyage. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1987
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