The Odyssey

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The Odyssey Set in ancient Greece, The Odyssey is about the hero Odysseus' long-awaited return from the Trojan War to his homeland, Ithaca, after ten years of wandering. The current action of The Odyssey occupies the last six weeks of the ten years, and the narrative includes many places - Olympus, Ithaca, Pylos, Pherae, Sparta, Ogygia, and Scheria. In Books 9-12, Odysseus narrates the story of his travels in the years after the fall of Troy, and this narrative includes other far-flung places, such as the island of the Cyclops. The main action of the poem takes place in Ithaca, after a disguised Odysseus reaches there in Book 13. In Books 13 to 24, Odysseus is slowly reunited with his family and takes revenge on the suitors that have been wooing his wife and wasting his property. CHARACTERS Major Odysseus - the protagonist and hero of the poem. Odysseus is the King of Ithaca, a small, rugged island on the western coast of Greece. He takes part in the Trojan War on the side of Agamemnon. Of all the heroes who return from the war, his homeward voyage is the longest and most perilous. Although Odysseus is in many ways a typical Homeric hero, he is not perfect, and his very human flaws play an important role in the work. Penelope - the "much-enduring" wife of Odysseus and the patient mother of Telemachus. If travel is Odysseus' test, staying home is Penelope's. She keeps home and family intact until Odysseus can return to claim his rights. The suffering she undergoes and the tricks that she employs to keep her suitors at bay bear testimony to her power of endurance and love for her son and husband. Telemachus - Odysseus' son. A mere child when his father left for the Tr... ... middle of paper ... tells how Helen walked around the wooden horse at Troy and addressed the Achaean leaders by imitating the voices of their wives. The reader can believe this of Helen, but the event is told of so simply that the reader does not realize immediately how illuminating it is. Another small touch, tragic, but deeply touching, is that of the dog Argus, who recognizes Odysseus after twenty years and then dies. Although he has suffered, his death is the appropriate end at the right time. In such cases, a detail adds something highly individual and yet illuminating. Such details are more effective when they strengthen some display of emotion or affection. They are as necessary to the heroic outlook as any kind of physical prowess, for they provide the hero with a solid background and bind his friends to him. Bibliography:

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