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Background for The Odyssey

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Patricia Hinko

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Background for The Odyssey

Background for The Odyssey
The Odyssey
Written by Homer
Epic about Odysseus trying to return home from the Trojan War
Before the Odyssey Starts
As a child, while on a boar hunt, Odysseus injures his thigh leaving a scar
Trojan War
Did not want to fight
After the War
After the 10 year war, the Greeks departed victorious
Life in Ithaca
With Odysseus gone, his home is overrun by 100 suitors
Men that want to marry Penelope
We hear about this before we meet Odysseus
He was given a special bow as a gift that only he can string
This is kept in Ithaca where he is king
As a wedding gift for his wife Penelope, Odysseus builds their wedding bed around the base of an olive tree
Penelope and Odysseus have one son: Telemachus
Odysseus pretended to be insane when Agamemnon came for him by pretending not to recognize him and continue to plow his field
Agamemnon knew he was faking so he threw Telemachus in front of the plow to prove it
Odysseus didn't plow over him and ended up joining the war
Tells Penelope that if he does not return by the time Telemachus was of age, to remarry
Telemachus was only a year old at the time
During the war, Odysseus made an enemy of Achilles (they were fighting on the same side).
He also was the hero of the war
He used the Trojan Horse to defeat the Trojans
The Greeks were all blown off course by Athena because Ajax (Greek warrior) tried to rape a woman in Athena's temple
The Greeks didn't punish Ajax which enraged Athena
Odysseus was Athena's favorite so, although she blows him off course, she decides to help him
Odysseus travels around for 3 years until he reaches Calypso's Island where he stays for 7 years
It is at this point that The Odyssey starts
He has been gone for 20 years at this point
Remember that an epic begins "in media res" so we are starting Odysseus' story in the middle of it
Telemachus and Penelope don't have the ability to eject the suitors from their home because Odysseus is not pronounced dead yet so he still holds power in Ithaca
Meaning only Odysseus could kick them out
Telemachus is in constant danger and in fear of the suitors killing him
If he takes his place on the throne, the suitors will revolt
Penelope refuses to choose a suitor (which would declare Odysseus dead) which puts Ithaca in danger of war breaking out
To avoid marrying one of them, she claims that she needs to weave a funeral shroud for her father before she can marry
She un-weaves it every night delaying the marriage
Full transcript