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The Odyssey: Books 17 & 18

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Michelle Hajdenberg

on 26 October 2014

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Transcript of The Odyssey: Books 17 & 18

The Odyssey: Books 17 & 18
Book 17 Summary: "Stranger at the Gates"
Book 18 Summary: "The Beggar-King of Ithaca"
Book Discussion
Dramatic Reading
"As soon as he saw them there he broke into a flood of brutal, foul abuse that made Odysseus' blood boil. 'Look!'-he sneered- 'one scum nosing another scum along, dirt finds dirt by the will of god- it never fails! Wretched pig-boy, where do you take your filthy swine, this sickening beggar who licks the pots at feasts?
Hanging round the doorposts, rubbing his back, scavenging after scraps,
no hero's swords and cauldrons, not for him. Hand him over to me-I'll teach him to work a farm, muck out my stalls, pitch feed to the young goats; whey to drink will put some muscle on his hams!
Oh no, he's learned his lazy ways too well, he's got no itch to stick to good hard work, he'd rather go scrounging round the country-side, begging for crusts to stuff his greedy gut! Let me tell you- so help me it's the truth- if he sets foot in King Odysseus' royal palace, salvos of footstools flung at his head by all lords will crack his ribs as he runs the line of fire through the house!'" (pg. 361)
Epithets & Archetypes:
* swaggering suitors (pg. 356)
* Zeus the Old Thunderer (pg. 364)
*enduring Odysseus (pg. 358)
*The King and his loyal swineherd (pg. 360)
*Telemachus the Caregiver {Allows Odysseus into his home and gives him food}
*Penelope the Lover {Yearns for Odysseus to come home}
Word Choice/ Figurative Language
*"But Antinous is the worst of all-he's black death itself." (pg. 370)
-Antinous is the most corrupt and rude of all of Penelope's suitors.
*"...anguish welled up in Telemachus's breast for the blow his father took, yet he let no tears go rolling down his face. He just shook his head, silent, his mind churning with thoughts of bloody work." (pg. 370)
-Telemachus is sad that his father was harmed, but he does not react in order to keep Odysseus's identity a secret. He thinks of taking revenge on Antinous and the rest of suitors.
*The stranger Odysseus
*Odysseus the foxy veteran (pg. 377)
*The bright-eyed goddess {Athena} (pg. 382)

*Melantho the Shape-shifter {She is raised by Penelope as a child and works for Odysseus, but sides with the suitors and insults Odysseus}.
Word Choice/Figurative Language
* "A bashful man will make a sorry beggar."
-A man who is shy would make a bad beggar because he would be too shy to ask strangers for food, money, etc.
*"Of all that breathes and crawls across the earth, our mother earth breeds nothing feebler than a man."
-Nothing living on earth is as weak in character as man.
*"No fear in your hearts? Wine's got to your wits?- or do you always play the fool and babble nonsense? Lost your head, have you, because you drubbed that hobo Irus?"
-Odysseus insults Eurymachus, which causes the suitor to ask him in rage if he is unafraid of consequences, drunk, or just foolish. He also asks him if he is shaken up and confused after brawling with the beggar, Irus.
Fight Between Odysseus and Irus
Suitors Bring Penelope Gifts
Important Themes
* Showing hospitality and respect for guests is an important theme in these two books and Greek Mythology.
-Telemachus allows Odysseus into his home and offers him food and shelter.
- Penelope shames Telemachus for allowing the beggar, who was his guest, to be hurt.
* Loyalty and disloyalty to others are other prominent themes of these two books.
- Argos recognizes his master even though he was gone for so long.
- Telemachus is loyal to his father when Odysseus asks him to keep his identity
- Melantho is not loyal to Odysseus when she mocks him although he employed her and took care of her as a child.
Important Events and Actions
*Antinous hitting Odysseus with a stool, Eurymachus throwing a stool in Odysseus's direction after an argument, and the suitors encouraging a fight convey that the suitors are quite violent and brutal.
*Telemachus breaking up the argument between Melantho, Odysseus, and the suitors and pushing away his mother as he returned home from searching for his father convey that he has taken on the responsibility of the "man of the house" and matured.
*Argos recognizing Odysseus after twenty years of him being away conveys how loyal he has been to his master and how much he has truly missed him.
Discussion Questions
*How does the treatment of Odysseus as a beggar display how those who were poor and lowly were treated by those socially above them?

*How is the importance of hospitality displayed in these two books?

*What is the significance of Argos recognizing his owner, Odysseus, after his years of being away?
By Madeline Schmitt, Grace Cullen, & Michelle Hajdenberg
Telemachus returns home from his search for Odysseus and reunites with his mother, who is happy to see him. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, travels back home with his friend the swineherd, Eumaeus. While traveling home, Odysseus crosses paths with Melanthius who insults him for being a lowly beggar. Telemachus allows him into the palace, where Odysseus begs the suitors for food. Antinous, furious that a beggar is allowed in the palace, refuses to give Odysseus food and throws a stool at him. Meanwhile, Penelope discovers that the "beggar" may know something about Odysseus's whereabouts and asks to meet with him.
Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, gets into a fight with another beggar named Irus. The suitors encourage them and are surprised when Odysseus wins. Athena inspires Penelope to make an appearance to her suitors and leads them to believe that Odysseus had told her to choose a new husband if he didn't come home before Telemachus was grown. The suitors offer her many gifts hoping to win Penelope over. Melantho, a maid in the palace, insults Odysseus. Odysseus retaliates and the suitors get involved as well. Telemachus settles the fight.
Epithets and Archetypes:
Dog Scene
Epic Simile
*"How shameful! That's the bed of a brave man of war they'd like to crawl inside, those spineless, craven cowards! “Weak as the doe that beds down her fawns in a mighty lion’s den – her newborn sucklings – then trails off to the mountain spurs and grassy bends to graze her fill, but back the lion comes to his own lair and the master deals both fawns a ghastly bloody death, just what Odysseus will deal that mob – ghastly death.”
-If a mother deer leaves her newborns in the domain of a lion where they are not meant to be, then the lion will come back and kill the young deer in an awful way. If Odysseus comes back to his home to find suitors who not meant to be there, they will die the same type of brutal, awful death. (pg. 358)
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