An analysis of the features of the odyssey and its importance

Odysseus fought among the other Greek heroes at Troy and now struggles to return to his kingdom in Ithaca. Odysseus is the husband of Queen Penelope and the father of Prince Telemachus.

An analysis of the features of the odyssey and its importance


It is, after all, one of the foundational works of Western literature; Goethe called it and "The Iliad" "the two most important books in the world. I discovered it as a year-old, after my teacher had us trace Flaxman's spear-carrying, helmet-and-negligee-clad Athena on to drawing paper.

Athena was the goddess of wisdom, she told us, and while "wisdom" meant nothing to me at the time, I was impressed that the goddess had popped straight out of Zeus's head, in a reversed form of the virgin birth that I had first heard about the Christmas before.

One-eyed man-eating ogres, self-navigating ships, ghosts sipping blood at the entrance to the underworld, shipwrecks, nymphs, princesses, witches, disguises, recognitions, and, to top it all off, a wholesale slaughter of bad guys at the end!

What could be more exciting? Reading "The Odyssey," we enter a world infused by the imagination. Everything becomes fresh and new; familiar objects light up with an inner radiance, as if we were seeing the sky or smelling the grass for the first time.

And we are always carried along by the steady yet constantly varying rhythms of the meter, which serves as a counterpoint to even the most horrific events, so that everything we read is lifted up into the realm of the beautiful.

No detail is too small to escape the poet's attentive gaze, no dream image too fantastic to be made humanly accessible.

The Odyssey Critical Evaluation - Essay -

The six-headed, razor-toothed, tentacled monster Scylla, for example, might easily have seemed cartoonish in the hands of a lesser poet, but she is presented to us so clearly, and her murderous attack described with such elegant precision, that she bursts into existence, as appalling as we could wish: I looked up and saw their arms and legs thrashing above me, and they shouted to me and called out my name for the last time.

And as a fisherman stands on a jutting rock and casts the bait with his rod, and the bronze hook sinks into the water, sheathed in an ox-horn tube, and he catches a fish and reels it in quickly and flings it, writhing, on to the shore: They screamed and kept stretching their hands out towards me in their hideous final agony.

That was the most sickening thing I ever saw on my travels. It's a passage that shocked the sniffy classicists of later ages, who thought that doing laundry was beneath the dignity of a princess.

They came at last to the banks of a beautiful stream, where the washing basins were always filled with clear water welling up through them, to clean the dirtiest clothes.

Here they unyoked the mules from the wagon and sent them along the stream to graze on the rich, sweet clover, then lifted the clothes from the wagon and carried them down into the basins, and each girl began to tread them, making a game to see who could finish first.

And when they had washed off the dirt and the clothes were spotless, they spread them neatly along the shore, where the sea lapped at the land and washed all the pebbles clean.

After a swim, they rubbed themselves with the oil and had their lunch on the bank of the eddying river and waited there for the clothing to dry in the sun. You can find passages like these on almost every page of "The Odyssey. The goddess Calypso even promises Odysseus eternal life, if only he will stay with her on her idyllic island and submit to a life of constant sex and unalloyed sensual pleasure.

But he refuses her offer. He longs for his home and his wife more than he cares about immortality. This is not a case of nostalgia, which is a longing for a past that can never be and perhaps never has been, and therefore necessarily ends in disappointment. He is longing not for a past but for a future, in a place that is beloved beyond all others on earth or in heaven.

Penelope, his wife, was 20 when he sailed for Troy; she is 40 now, and whether or not she has kept her physical beauty is beside the point.

She is a woman, not a goddess, but she is the one he loves.

An analysis of the features of the odyssey and its importance

Odysseus's refusal of immortality is the most moving tribute that a marriage has ever received. It is like Adam's refusal in "Paradise Lost": It's also one of the best.

If you want to read a terrific story told in passionately vivid language, you might take a look at this ancient masterpiece.Millenia after Homer wrote The Odyssey, the poem is still being taught in schools worldwide.

Homer depicts the gods and various divine creatures as flawed characters, prone to . One neat fast: The Odyssey is so famous that the word "odyssey" has come to What’s Up With the Ending?

For a long time, some readers have felt that the ending of the Odyssey smells a little fishy.

SparkNotes: The Odyssey: Character List

“The Odyssey” (Gr: “Odysseia”) is the second of the two epic poems attributed to the ancient Greek poet Homer (the first being “The Iliad”), and usually considered the second extant work of Western literature. There are a lot of different layers of meaning for each tale and the Odyssey itself, and there is more than one interpretation.

An analysis of the features of the odyssey and its importance

In this perspective, the theme of the Odyssey is perseverance. Perseverance is an important theme and is one that is seen through out the whole play and by more than one character.

First there is Odysseus. Oct 02,  · "The Odyssey" has been called the first novel. It's also one of the best. If you want to read a terrific story told in passionately vivid language, you might take a look at this ancient masterpiece.

- Analysis of Telemachus in Odyssey In the Odyssey, Telemachus, son of great hero Odysseus, who grows up in the world of greed and disrespect where the suitors take over his palace and court his mother, is one of the most significant character throughout the whole epic.

SparkNotes: The Odyssey: Important Quotations Explained