ENGL220 Odyssey Books I-IV


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ENGL220 Odyssey Books I-IV

  1. 1. The Odyssey Homer Book I
  2. 2. The poet begins with an invocation to the muse and a question—what has happened to Odysseus since the Trojan war?
  3. 3. His men died because they consumed Hyperion’s cattle
  4. 4. Odysseus himself was waylaid by the nymph Calypso.
  5. 5. And Poseidon was his sworn enemy
  6. 6. We visit the gods on Mt. Olympus
  7. 7. Zeus is discussing the folly of humans by recounting the fate of Aegisthus
  8. 8. Despite the fact that Zeus sent Hermes to warn him against it, Aegisthus got involved with Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra.
  9. 9. When Agamemnon returned home from Troy, Aegisthus and/or Clytemnestra murdered him
  10. 10. Agamemnon’s son Orestes, who had been exiled, came home.
  11. 11. Orestes avenged his father’s murder by killing his mother and his uncle Aegisthus
  12. 12. Orestes’ heroism was the talk of heaven and earth.
  13. 13. Athena interrupts on behalf of Odysseus.
  14. 14. Athena reminds Zeus that Odysseus suffers on Calypso’s island and deserves to go home
  15. 15. Zeus reminds us that it is Poseidon who delays Odysseus, because Odysseus blinded his son Polyphemus.
  16. 16. Athena tells Zeus to send Hermes to Calypso and order her to let Odysseus go.
  17. 17. Hermes is the offspring of Zeus and Maia, the 'rich tressed nymph' whose abode was deep within a shady cave. Zeus laid with Maia while his wife Hera was 'bound in the arms of sleep.' That is, he is born of a deception. And already, there is in his origin the mark of Zeus' phallic need to penetrate wherever and whomever he could, whether it be by trickery or by straightforward approach. Hermes' older brother is Apollo, god of Science and Reason. Hermes was a guardian at crossroads, an inhabitant of dark places, a thief at the gate, a bringer of dreams, a guide to the Underworld. He was the carrier of the caduceus, the staff of healing, which today is the symbol of the art of medicine.
  18. 18. Meanwhile, Athena will go to Ithaca
  19. 19. There, she will encourage Odysseus’ son to challenge his mother’s suitors.
  20. 20. She will also convince Telemachus to visit Pylos and Sparta
  21. 21. Athena comes to Ithaca disguised as Mentes.
  22. 22. Telemachus treats his guest with great hospitality
  23. 23. But all is not well in Ithaca, Odysseus’ rocky kingdom Odysseus' Family Tree Chione + Hermes | | Chalcomedusa + Arcisius Neaera + Autolycus | | | | Laertes + Anticlea Periboea + Icarius | | | | Odysseus + Penelope | | Telemachus
  24. 24. Odysseus, the king, has been gone for almost twenty years
  25. 25. Penelope has waited faithfully, but yearns for word of him
  26. 26. Meanwhile, suitors from all around have gathered in Ithaca
  27. 27. They hang out at the palace every day, eating and drinking and carrying on
  28. 28. The suitors want Penelope to choose a new husband
  29. 29. If widowed, it is her duty to marry again, but she hopes Odysseus is alive
  30. 30. Meanwhile the suitors eat and drink and fool around with the maids
  31. 31. Odysseus’ mother is dead.
  32. 32. His father, Laertes, lives like a hermit out in the fields.
  33. 33. Telemechus is not even convinced Odysseus IS his father, but wishes he had died a hero’s death
  34. 34. Athena tells Telemachus to call a council and castigate the suitors
  35. 35. She tells him he should enquire of his father of Nestor and Menelaus
  36. 36. When Athena leaves, Telemachus realizes her true identity
  37. 37. Meanwhile the suitors ask Phemius, the house singer, for a song.
  38. 38. Phemius sings of the returns of heroes from Troy
  39. 39. Penelope comes downstairs and asks Phemius not to sing of homecomings, for such songs make her long for her husband.
  40. 40. Telemachus scolds his mother, telling her Odysseus is dead.
  41. 41. Telemachus informs the suitors he will be master in his own house
  42. 42. The suitors leave the palace, and Telemachus goes to bed, assisted by the old nurse Eurycleia
  43. 43. Odyssey Book II
  44. 44. Next morning, Telemachus gets up and calls an assembly
  45. 45. Athena buffs him up
  46. 46. Telemachus complains about the suitors who, instead of going to Penelope’s father to seek her hand, hang about the palace and consume everything in sight
  47. 47. But the suitor Antinoos blames Penelope
  48. 48. To stall the suitors, Penelope had told them she had to weave a burial shroud for her father-in-law before she could marry again
  49. 49. But what she wove at her loom each day, she unwove at night.
  50. 50. Penelope was betrayed to the suitors by a maid
  51. 51. She had tricked them for three years
  52. 52. The suitors hugely admired her mind; she had spoiled them for other women. However, her trick allowed them to blame her, they thought.
  53. 53. The suitors tell Telemachus that until he sends his mother back to her father, they will stay
  54. 54. Telemachus refuses to kick his mom out of the house; he asks for a ship and men to search out proof of his father’s death.
  55. 55. The suitors jeered at him, though some feared he might go off and return with friends, and others hoped he would perish at sea
  56. 56. But Telemachus went home and arranged provisions for his trip
  57. 57. He ordered Eurycleia NOT to tell his mother about his trip
  58. 58. Meanwhile, Athena got a ship and a crew
  59. 59. Telemachus and Athena sailed to Pylos
  60. 60. Book III
  61. 61. The ship reaches Pylos, home of Nestor
  62. 62. The sacrifice of bulls to Poseidon is taking place on the beach
  63. 63. Nestor’s son, Pisistratus, invites them to eat and drink
  64. 64. A libation is poured to the gods
  65. 65. At Nestor’s palace, Telemachus introduces himself and asks for news of his father
  66. 66. Nestor explains that after the sack of Troy, the groups argued and split up. He has no news of Odysseus.
  67. 67. Nestor tells Telemachus to beware the suitors
  68. 68. Nestor tells the story of Agamemnon’s murder, and praises the young Orestes.
  69. 69. Nestor invites them to sleep in his house; Athene flies back to the ship
  70. 70. Nestor quickly makes an offering to the goddess
  71. 71. Telemachus leaves for Sparta with Pisistratus in a chariot
  72. 72. Odyssey Book IV
  73. 73. Telemachus arrives in Sparta
  74. 74. At the palace of Menelaus, wedding celebrations are taking place
  75. 75. Daughter Hermione is to wed Neoptolemus, son of Achilles
  76. 76. Megapenthes, son of Menelaus and Tereis, is also marrying
  77. 77. When a servant hesitates about letting the strangers in, Menelaus scolds him and treats the young men like royalty.
  78. 78. As they share a meal, Telemachus remarks on the wealth of the palace
  79. 79. Menelaus explains that he was forced to travel for a long time after leaving Troy, visited many places, and amassed great wealth
  80. 80. But while he was away, his brother Agamemnon was murdered, and he could do nothing to prevent or avenge his brother’s death
  81. 81. When Menelaus says the person he misses most is his friend the great hero Odysseus, Telemachus weeps.
  82. 82. As Menelaus talks with the two young men, Helen comes in and immediately identifies Telemachus as the son of Odysseus.
  83. 83. Pisistratus makes the introductions, and they prepare to eat.
  84. 84. To end the weeping, Helen slips a drug into the wine
  85. 85. They all get a good night’s sleep
  86. 86. Next morning, Telemachus tells Menelaus the situation on Ithaca and asks for news of his father
  87. 87. Menelaus tells a wonderful story
  88. 88. Trying to get home, Menelaus was stuck on the island of Pharos with no wind.
  89. 89. The goddess Idothea helps him
  90. 90. She is the daughter of Proteus, the old man of the sea
  91. 91. To get information, Menelaus must capture Proteus and hold him tight
  92. 92. Proteus can take many forms
  93. 93. Idothea tells Menelaus that each day at noon, Proteus comes ashore to nap with seals
  94. 94. Menelaus is to pick his three best men and meet Idothea
  95. 95. Idothea told the men to lie down in pits she had dug; then she covered them with seal skins
  96. 96. When Proteus came ashore, the men sprang up and held him
  97. 97. Proteus changed form many times
  98. 98. But the men held on
  99. 99. Proteus tells Menelaus he must go back to Egypt and sacrifice to Zeus
  100. 100. Proteus relates the story of Agamemnon’s murder
  101. 101. He also reveals that Odysseus is being held captive by Calypso
  102. 102. Menelaus invites Telemachus to stay for 12 days, and offers gifts of a chariot and horses
  103. 103. Telemachus explains that horses would not do well on rocky Ithaca, so Menelaus substitutes a silver bowl.
  104. 104. Meanwhile, the suitors were playing at sports back in Ithaca.
  105. 105. When the suitors learn that Telemachus had sailed for Pylos, they plot an ambush when he returns
  106. 106. Servant Medon reports the plot to Penelope, who grieves for her son
  107. 107. Antinous and 23 men set sail
  108. 108. Athene sends a vision of Iphthime, Penelope’s sister, to comfort Penelope in a dream