Date Published: 1614
Book Author: Homer
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Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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Prepare thyself for a journey that has echoed through the ages – Homer's epic tale, The Odyssey! The enchanting isle of Ithaca, shrouded in the mist of time and legend, is where our story unfolds.
Unfurl the sails of curiosity and embark on the odyssey of Odysseus, the crafty hero of the Trojan War. Ten blood-stained years have passed since the sacking of Troy, yet our hero remains a castaway, buffeted by vengeful gods and seductive nymphs on distant, myth-enshrouded isles.
Meanwhile, his loyal wife Penelope, besieged by suitors in their opulent palace, weaves by day and unpicks by night, yearning for her long-lost husband. Their son, Telemachus, an untested youth, braves danger to uncover his father's fate.
This tale weaves a splendid tapestry of heroism, cunning, hubris, and the enduring power of love, a ballad that reverberates across the ages like the sonorous strings of a divine lyre.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
Yet even the blusterous squalls of Poseidon himself could not dampen the fiery spirit of our hero. Odysseus, defying fate and gods alike, returns to his beloved isle of Ithaca, though not as the war-hardened hero, but as a beggar, unrecognized.
Within his own halls, he faces the ultimate trial, a den of lustful suitors who lay claim to his wife and throne. With wisdom bestowed by Athena and his indomitable cunning, he proves his identity with the bow of his youth, none but him could string.
The arrows fly, the suitors fall, and Odysseus reclaims his hearth and home, culminating in a heart-stirring reunion with Penelope, their love undying as the ever-circling sea. So ends the odyssey, with home regained, order restored, and the hero's journey fulfilled.
Odysseus: The wily hero of the Odyssey, he is a cunning warrior known for his intellect and loyalty. He displays these virtues through the use of his wit to overcome trials such as escaping from the Cyclops Polyphemus’ cave.
Penelope: Odysseus’ faithful wife, she exemplifies love and devotion by waiting for her husband for twenty years, and cleverly keeping her suitors at bay by weaving a burial shroud.
Telemachus: Odysseus’ son, he embodies courage and resilience, demonstrated by his quest for news of his missing father.
Athena: The goddess of wisdom, she stands for divine intervention and protection, aiding Odysseus and Telemachus throughout their trials.
Heroism and Cunning: Odysseus often relies on his wit and intelligence rather than brute force to overcome challenges, such as his encounter with the Cyclops Polyphemus.
Faithfulness: Penelope’s enduring faithfulness to Odysseus is a central theme, displayed by her commitment to wait for him and ward off suitors.
The Power of the Gods: The influence and intervention of the gods are ever-present, shaping the characters’ destinies. Athena’s guidance to Odysseus and Telemachus exemplifies this theme.
The Journey and Homecoming: The concept of ‘nostos’, or homecoming, is crucial, reflecting the desire to return home and the trials endured on the journey. Odysseus’ tumultuous voyage back to Ithaca illustrates this.