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Odyssey Close Reading Project

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by

Liam McKenna

on 18 December 2012

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Transcript of Odyssey Close Reading Project

Conclusion Book Twenty Two Slaughter In The Hall Paragraph One and Connections Analyzing The Text Is Odysseus A Hero? Analyzing The Text Homer The Odyssey Nature versus Reason? Paragraph Two and
Connections Book Twenty Two In our close read of Book 22 of The Odyssey, we investigated the question, “Is Odysseus a hero?” We looked for patterns in the text, examples of hubris, egotism, characterization, and heroic qualities. We also looked into the conflict of nature vs. reason in book 22. For this essential theme of The Odyssey, we investigated examples of nature and reason and the view Homer took on each topic, as demonstrated by his poem. For both essential questions, we selected important passages from Book 22 and close read them, marking areas of importance. We concluded that, based on Book 22, Odysseus is not a hero and that the Greeks had a negative view of nature. In the first passage of Book 22 that we close read, we found many examples proving that Odysseus is not a hero. It is repeated twice in one stanza, “their necks were in the noose, their doom sealed”. Odysseus is the one who was causing this death. Heroes are not typically depicted as bringing about death and “doom”. Also in this stanza, Odysseus is described as a “wily fighter”. We looked up the definition of wily, and found it is a synonym to sly. Sly is defined as lacking in candor; candor is not prejudiced or malicious. Therefore, Odysseus can be described as prejudiced and malicious. These are not character traits of a hero. Soon after Odysseus is described as a wily fighter, he states his reasons for wanting to kill all of the suitors: “you bled my house to death, ravished my serving women—wooed my wife”. While the suitors’ actions were definitely not admirable, we were not so sure they were punishable by death. Especially in today’s society, it is not acceptable, much less heroic, to go about killing people because they “wooed” your wife. Also in the first passage that we close read, we found another stanza clearly disproving Odysseus as a hero. In this stanza, Eurymachus is pleading with Odysseus. He says that all of the suitors will pay Odysseus back for the cost of their stay is his house, and says that their leader is dead and they will cause no more trouble. Odysseus replies with this: “No, Eurymachus! Not if you paid me all your father’s wealth—all you posses now, and all that could pour in from the world’s end—no, not even then would I stay my hands from slaughter”. Clearly, Odysseus refuses to reason and instead decides to slaughter the suitors. The dictionary definition of slaughter is: killing in great numbers; killing in a bloody or violent manner. Odysseus states in his own words that he is going to commit this action. This is definitely not heroic. Also in this stanza, Odysseus states that he hopes the suitors escape their “sudden bloody doom”. Odysseus is the cause of this doom. True heroes do not generally bring about someone’s “sudden bloody doom”. In the epic poem The Odyssey, Homer writes about a hero named Odysseus; but, in Book 22, Odysseus is not portrayed as a hero. From lines 325 to 340, Odysseus shows his weakness in heroism. When he returns to his home he finds the suitors in his house. He is appalled at their presence and wants to get rid of them. He attacks them with a lance killing most of the suitors. Leodes flung himself towards Odysseus begging for mercy claiming he had not harassed his wife. Odysseus did not forgive him and killed him. At this scene, Homer describes Odysseus with “A killing look, and the wry soldier answered…” We discovered that wry means twisted so Homer must have thought of Odysseus having a twisted way of thinking at this time. Odysseus, by not forgiving Leodes, is not merciful and he is not portrayed as a hero The Odyssey is one of the most influential and important pieces of literature of all time. By close reading this piece of work you begin to see hidden meanings and undertones which change the way the Odyssey is interpreted. After our close reading of Book 22, Slaughter in the Hall, we reconfirmed that in fact the Greeks do resent the unlawfulness of nature. We also all readily concluded that Odysseus was not a hero. A hero is one who should not choose violence and anger over reason. Odysseus would rather slaughter the suitors for personal revenge than use his acumen and better judgement to cooperate. El Barco
De Ubriaco In book 22 of The Odyssey, Homer showed Nature vs. Reason when Odysseus came home to suitors in his house. In the scene where Homer was describing the suitors, he wrote that the suitors were “wild, like herds stampeding, driven mad as the darting gadfly strikes, in the late spring when the long days come round.” He was relating the suitors to things in nature like “eagles, crook-clawed, hooked beaked.” This shows that Odysseus doesn’t like the suitors, which also shows that the Greeks didn’t like nature either. When Homer was describing them to things in nature it showed the hatred they had towards the suitors and nature. In this part of book 22, Homer portrayed their hatred towards the suitors while also showing their hatred of nature. THE END OR IS IT? OR IS IT? GONNA Varsity Soccer Varsity Soccer
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