Summary Of ' The Devious Narrator Of The Odyssey ' Essay

Summary Of ' The Devious Narrator Of The Odyssey ' Essay

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Ming Van Kalker
Richardson, S. “The Devious Narrator of the Odyssey”, Classical Journal (2006) 101.4, 337-359.
Scott Richardson is attempting, at a first glance, to, in a strange and not altogether believable way, proclaim that Homer is obviously misleading and misinforming his audience, and in this way greatly resembles his own character Odysseus. It seems that he is attempting to convince us, by way of literary arguments, that Homer has irreparably broken the trust between reader and writer, that he has raised multiple false expectations and that he has greatly mislead us on multiple instances. On a second glance, Richardson is endeavoring, still not altogether quite believably, to show that Homer has written in a way that gives the reader a taste of the world that the rest of Odysseus’ compatriots and acquaintances live in. When taking a third glance at the arguments Richardson makes, his thesis only applies to modern readers, which is not the actual audience that Homer is writing for. In writing his arguments, Richardson keeps well within the Odyssey, other than to pull a few examples out of books –these references aren’t always fully compatible with others opinions– to show how other authors mislead. Most of Richardson’s arguments rely on the fact that certain statements are made, or not made, when in fact his interpretation of the statements is completely foreign to a reader with a background in the classical mythology as taught in class.
Richardson’s first argument is that Homer gives false expectations, that he leads readers to believe something will happen, and then either puts it off for a multitude of lines, or doesn’t even have it happen. Richardson complains that Homer has broken the contract between narrator and rea...


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... writer means to speak about. With undergraduate students of Homer, reading this article would perhaps bend their ideas on how to write articles involving anything that has to do with Homer or other epic poems or their writers. Perhaps if Richardson was abler to get his opinion across in his thesis, this article would be a very good resource for more undergraduate students of Homer. Richardson makes various good points throughout the article, mostly when he isn’t talking about how a lack of knowledge changes perception, since his thesis can’t quite mesh up with the rest of what he writes in his paper. Richardson has a good idea, but it doesn’t always apply to what his thesis states, and if his thesis was changed to something that was more in line with the rest of his article, it would be a highly recommendable article to other students in a classical mythology class.

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