Odyssey Part 2
Odyssey Part 2 Journal for Latin 3 5/8/2007
What I Learned
This is the second part of the story of Ulysses’ journey back home, called the Odyssey, and written by Homer.
All of this section done in flashback. The story picks up as Ulysses and his men have just escaped from the Cyclopes. However, before they leave, a curse is put upon Ulysses, delaying his return home.
They then arrive on the island of the Laestrygonians, giants who like to eat people. They quickly left, but only one ship was able to make it out of the harbor alive.
The next stop he makes is with Circe. Ulysses sends out a party to explore the island. All but one are turned into pigs. Ulysses, with a little help from Hermes, manages to convince Circe to change his men back. Ulysses also falls for Circe and they sleep many nights together. After a year, Ulysses and his men wanted to move on.
They are instructed by Circe to sail into Hades and make a sacrifice to Tiresias in order to gain information about the way home. Afterwards he hears updates from home from his mother and Agaememnon.
Why did Ulysses scream at the Cyclopes? Was he boasting? Yes that seems to be what he implies around line 133. Stupid person.
He reminds me of Jack Bauer, the main character on 24. No matter how many subplots he is involved in, he always manages to survive while all of the people among him end up dead. Also he appears very smart, brave, and cunning, but has a weakness which seems unexplainable.
Another thing which I noticed is that smart and dumb people (or creatures) speak alike. In Shakespeare, dumber people did not speak using big words and fancy sayings. Homer had the Cyclops speak just like a king, even though he is not too bright.
Whenever you talk about someone in the old days, you always talked about their family. It was always ___ son of ____. Thankfully merit, not family heritage matters today.
Homer included a lot of unnecessary details in his writings. For example on line 40 we find out that Circe’s house has smooth walls. How is this important? Were smooth stone walls a sign of luxury and exclusivity? A status symbol?
It was never really explained why Ulysses had to travel to Hades. Was it just because the gods were playing games with him or what? I (and the audience) don’t really buy lame explanations like that. Stories written today better have more thought put into them if we are to like them.