Odyssey Part 1

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Odyssey Part 1 Journal for Latin 3 5/1/2007

What I Learned

Ulysses has just defeated the city of Troy. The story of Ulysses journey back home is called the Odyssey and was written by Homer.

Throughout the first few books, Ulysses is ‘held’ on an island by the goddess Calypso. Poseidon, the sea god, is the one who does not want him to return home, even though he is destined to after a certain length of time. The other gods want to let Ulysses return home safely. Athena, especially, tries to convince Zeus to let him return home.

Athena also visits Ulysses’ son at his house. She tells him to visit Pylos and Sparta and then return home and kill the suitors. She hints that Ulysses is still alive.

Meanwhile, in Book 5, the gods are again trying to convince Zeus to let Ulysses return home. Zeus then sends Hermes to tell Calypso to let Ulysses go. She is not happy that she is forced to make him leave. She then sees him off, as he leaves on a small raft. However beforehand they drink wine and have sex.

In book 9, Ulysees is telling of his encounter of the Cyclops. He gave it wine so that it would become drunk. Then he drove a log into its eye so that it couldn’t see. The next morning, he and his men hid under sheep as Polyphemus let them into the pasture. As he sailed away he insulted Polyphemus. In return Polyphemus threw a rock at Ulysses’ ship, almost capsizing it.

Personal Response

This translation of Homer’s Odyssey seemed different then the movie. In the written version, the Cyclopes are in flashback. Also the gods play a larger part in this version. Lastly, Ulysses does not have any men left when he is at Calypso. In the movie, the remainder of his men die after leaving Calypso.

I like how Homer includes a paragraph where the gods say that humans can also control their destiny. Is this a political/religious statement, or the generally accepted belief at this time?

Poetry always has a long way of telling things. There seems to be a paragraph filled with descriptive adjectives for every nugget of story. Classic writing all follows this pattern. It’s good that modern stories cut through all of the fluff and have more story with less adjectives. (I guess tastes have changed in the past thousand years)

Why does Telemachus and his mom not send away the suitors. Just tell them to leave. Why does his mother not send them away? Does she believe her husband is dead? And she can not accept that fact? Still tell them to go home, and promise that she will send for them again when she finally accepts Ulysses’ death.