Odyssey Book 9 Questions and Discussion Daddy? But first my name, let that be known to you  I am Laertes son, Odysseus. This is called a patronymic literally, a father name. This is a special kind of Homeric epithet used frequently in the Iliad and the Odyssey. (Achilles, son of Peleus, Athena, daughter of Zeus, Menelaus, son of Atreus, etc.) Greek society was patrilineal (lineage traced through the father) and patriarchal (ruled by men). Women had less power and occupied a subordinate status. the Story What What shall shall II say say first? first? What What shall shall II keep keep until until the the end? end? the gods have tried me in a thousand the gods have tried me in a thousand ways ways   II have been detained long by Calypso,
have been detained long by Calypso, loveliest loveliest among among goddesses, goddesses, who who held held me me in her smooth caves, to be her hearts in her smooth caves, to be her hearts delight, delight, as Circe of Aeaea, the enchantress, as Circe of Aeaea, the enchantress, desired desired me, me, detained detained me me in in her her hall. hall. but in my heart I never gave consent. but in my heart I never gave consent. where where shall shall a a man man find find sweetness sweetness to
to surpass surpass his own home and his parents? In far his own home and his parents? In far lands lands he he shall shall not, not, though though he he find find a a house house of of gold. gold. Odysseus is an UNRELIABLE NARRATOR you cant believe everything he tells you. After leaving Calypso, Odysseus is shipwrecked on the shore of the island Scheria, land of the Phaeacians. He is treated as an honored guest and taken to the court of King Alcinoos and lavishly entertained. After they feast, Alcinoos asks Odysseus to tell them the story of how he got there. So everything we know about his adventures is told from Odysseus perspective! We have to take his word that these magical encounters happened as he described them. (Remember, Odysseus is an admitted liar.) Temptation They They fell fell in, in, soon soon enough, enough, with with Lotus Lotus Eaters, Eaters, who
who showed showed no no will will to to do do us us harm, harm, only only offering offering the the sweet sweet Lotus Lotus to to our our friendsfriendsbut but those those who who are are this this honeyed honeyed plant, plant, the the Lotus, Lotus, never never cared cared to to report, report, nor nor to to return: return: they they longed longed to to stay stay forever, forever, browsing browsing on on that that native native bloom, bloom, forgetful forgetful of of their their homeland. homeland.
One of the biggest threats Odysseus and his men face is temptation in this case, the temptation of the abyss, an end to their sufferings. Dawn When the young Dawn with finger tips of rose Came in the east, I called my men together And made a speech to them  This is one of the most famous (and beautiful!) epithets in the Odyssey. Odysseus My My men men came came pressing pressing round round me, me, pleading: pleading: Why not take these cheeses, get Why not take these cheeses, get them them stowed, stowed, come come back, back, throw open all the pens, and make a run for it? throw open all the pens, and make a run for it?
well well drive drive the the kids kids and and lambs lambs aboard. aboard. We We say say put out again on good salt water! put out again on good salt water! Ah, Ah, how how sound sound that that was! was! Yet Yet II refused. refused. II wished wished to see the caveman, what he had to offerto see the caveman, what he had to offerno no pretty pretty sight, sight, it it turned turned out, out, for for my my friends. friends. The crew tell Odysseus they dont want to hang around, but Odysseus just
has to find out what kind of men live on the island. Xenia Greek Laws of Hospitality In ancient Greece (as throughout much of history), if you were travelling somewhere you had to rely on the kindness of strangers. There werent hotels or restaurants, so you were stuck hoping someone would put you up. The obligation to provide hospitality is deeply embedded in Greek culture (among others). There are myths in which a stranger seeks charity, only to reveal himself later as a god. Guests and hosts had reciprocal obligations. Hosts were supposed to take someone in, feed them, give them a place to sleep, and provide them with presents. AND you were supposed to do all of this with no questions asked you couldnt even ask your guest his name, at least before you had let him rest and given him a meal. Guests were supposed to be on their best behavior. They had to leave their weapons outside, be respectful toward their hosts, and not overstay their welcome. (So when Paris ran off with Helen, Menelaus wife, it was especially scandalous because Menelaus had taken him in as a guest.) Guests were also supposed to only seek hospitality at a home equivalent to their social standing if you were a poor person, you would seek shelter at a modest house, and if you were a prince, you would ask to be taken in at the royal court in a strange land. Xenia Greek Laws of Hospitality The Cyclopes arent human and dont respect human laws. How do you think they are going to feel about xenia? Odysseus and his men just go into Polyphemos cave and make themselves at home. (His crew also suggest stealing from the Cyclops.) Are they being good guests? In In the the next next land
land we we found found were were Cyclopes, Cyclopes, giants, giants, louts, louts, without without a a law law to to bless bless them them   We We lit lit a a fire, fire, burnt burnt an an offering, offering, and took some cheese and took some cheese to to eat eat   [they [they meet meet the the Cyclops Cyclops and and he he asks asks them them what what they they are are doing doing in in his his cave] cave] We
We are are from from Troy, Troy, Achaeans, Achaeans, blown blown off off course course   It It was was our our luck luck to to come come here; here; here here we we stand, stand, beholden beholden for for your your help, help, or or any any gifts gifts you give as custom is to honor you give as custom is to honor strangers. strangers. We We would would entreat entreat you, you, great great Sir, Sir, have have a a care care
for for the the gods gods courtesy; courtesy; Zeus Zeus will will avenge avenge the the unoffending unoffending guest. guest. Name? The name Polyphemos actually means wordy (from many words). Does that describe the Cyclops? Is Polyphemos good with words? This is called VERBAL IRONY when the words used are the opposite of what they mean. Irony DRAMATIC IRONY is where the reader is aware of something that characters in the story do not know. When Odysseus and his crew are escaping under the sheep, and Polyphemos doesnt realize it, that is an example of dramatic irony. Lesson In terms of vision, our depth perception that is, our ability to see in three dimensions and judge an objects distance from ourselves comes from having two eyes. Because the left eye and the right eye see from slightly different angles, those two images combined give us our 3D reality. If someone only had one eye, though, the world would appear
more flat like a painting. They would not have depth perception. Odysseus [Odysseus yells at Polyphemos after he and his men have escaped] Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire How you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes son, whose homes on Ithaca! Odysseus just cant resist telling Polyphemos his real name. I bet thats going to work out well for him. This is called HUBRIS arrogance that leads to downfall. 2 Oh, snap! Looks like Odysseus chose the wrong Cyclops to blind. All that remarkably specific information Odysseus gave Polyphemos when he was taunting him? Its like he robbed a bank and left a copy of his drivers license. And And he he stretched stretched his his hands hands out out in in his his darkness darkness Toward Toward the the sky sky of of stars, stars, and and prayed prayed Poseidon:
Poseidon: O O hear hear me, me, lord, lord, blue blue girdler girdler of of the the islands, islands, if if II am am thine thine indeed, indeed, and and thou thou art art father: father: grant that Odysseus, raider of cities, grant that Odysseus, raider of cities, never never see see his his home: home: Laertes Laertes son, son, II mean, mean, who who kept kept his his hall hall on on Ithaca. Ithaca. Should Should destiny destiny intend intend that that he he shall shall see
see his his roof roof again again among among his his family family in in his his father father land, land, far far be be that that day, day, and and dark dark the the years years between. between. let let him him lose lose all all companions, companions, and and return return under under strange strange sail sail to to bitter bitter days days at at home. home.
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