Essay on The Act of Storytelling in The Odyssey

Essay on The Act of Storytelling in The Odyssey

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The Act of Storytelling in The Odyssey

In The Odyssey, the act of storytelling plays a significant role in revealing the story of Odysseus. Each storyteller reveals a part of the past of Odysseus and his heroic deeds. Each of their stories gives insight into what a hero should be, according to the standards of the Greek society, and they each reflect a different aspect of a hero. When pieced together, each story becomes part of a whole, however, each has a different function within the epic. Some may not contribute to the hero directly, but teach a moral or lesson to the audience listening to the story. The audience directed towards is the Greek society and the morals are taught by storytelling. By using storytelling, a hero is often created as the ideal and spread throughout the land to become a legend In The Odyssey, there are many storytellers that contribute to the creation of the hero, Odysseus. Storytelling within the story creates a fictional world in which the characters play in. We, the audience, are in the same position as character listening to the story first hand as well. Each story teaches a different moral aspect that the hero, Odysseus, has to the audience. Although The Odyssey is narrated through Homer, the poet, there are so many storytellers in the story, that the epic becomes a multiple narrative, encapsulating many different aspects of great archaic heroes. Odysseus is the one who reveals the most about his past and where he has been for the years between the Trojan War and the present. Helen and Menelaos tell the stories of Odysseus's tactile ways during the Trojan War and reveal a great hero to Telemakhos, Odysseus's unknowing son. The Sirens, beautiful as their song is, tell a profound story of Odyss...

... middle of paper ... himself incorporated into the epic. It is believed that Homer was also blind, creating the connection between the two. The fact that Demodokos reveals Odysseus' identity plays an important role because it demonstrates the importance of poetry and the oral tradition. Since the minstrel is a singing poet who tells the story, he solves a great mystery that the king cannot even figure out.
The multiple narrative of this epic encapsulates the tradition of oral storytelling and the fictional world of Greece culture. It also demonstrates the multiple heroic and noble men of the times. Storytelling was a form of entertainment during the ancient times and The Odyssey, along with the Iliad, became the backbone for which the fictional Greek literature was based upon.


Homer, Robert Fitzgerald (translator), D.S. Carne-Ross (Introduction) c.1998

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