Friday, August 25, 2006

Crucial Odyssey Questions

Before class Monday, August 28, please post one question about Homer's Odyssey -- something that you really want to know about the epic before we complete our discussion and have to write about it. It would expedite the discussion process if you would review your classmates' comments before you come to class.

27 Comments:

Blogger Justin L said...

What are the character's beliefs regarding responsibility? Do they blame fate for everything that happens to them, taking no responsibility, or do they accept the consequences of their actions?

Fri Aug 25, 11:52:00 AM 2006  
Blogger kelsee p said...

Through our discussions in class, I have further noticed that Odysseus has several major character flaws. Why is he still considered so entirely heroic and what makes the society around him give him so much respect? To me, he seems like living series of constant contradictions.

Fri Aug 25, 03:43:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Maya R said...

My group on Friday spent quite a bit of time discussing the role women play in the book. It is apparent to us that the women who saved/helped Odysseus don't really receive credit for that. Does Homer do this on purpose, or is the behind-the-scenes role of women merely culture of his time?

Sat Aug 26, 01:21:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Robyn Louis said...

If the God's make sure that people always 'get what they deserve' then why is vengence such a big deal to Odysseus?

Sat Aug 26, 04:06:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Matt P said...

I really don't understand why Odysseus slept with the goddesses like Kalypso and Kirke. It just seems like he could have refused to do that and remain physically faithful to Penelope, even though he was emotionally faithful. So, in short why did Odysseus sleep with the goddesses?

Sat Aug 26, 04:22:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Emily M said...

I'm still having a hard time understanding the role of the Gods in The Odyssey. If Athena is always saving Odysseus, then is he really that heroic to begin with? Do the Gods ultimately have complete control over the humans?

Sat Aug 26, 04:52:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Stacie C said...

Throughout our discussions, we have talked about most of the major characters, the role of the gods, and the meanings of the gender differences, but it still seems like something is missing. What was Homer's purpose for writing The Oddessy? Was it simply to pass on a history, or what is he trying to teach us that translates from the ancient Greek culture to ours?

Sat Aug 26, 09:30:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Molly M said...

How did Odysseus grow and what did he learn through his journey?

Sun Aug 27, 11:53:00 AM 2006  
Blogger ChristyH said...

Throughout the Odyssey, characters rely on the gods to help them and tell them news. When Athena tells Telemakhos to return home to Ithaka, how come he doesn't question Athena as to why she is cutting his quest short? Why doesn't he start thinking maybe his father has already returned home as a reason for his journey being cut short?

Sun Aug 27, 12:49:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Chaser said...

Despite the fact that Odysseus has been told repeatedly that if he follows the counsel of the Gods wisely he will return to Ithaca safely, how can he be considered a true hero when he becomes so doubtful? Consider this in your own life by thinking of all the situations we face... Do you think anyone would consider you a hero if you were that pessimistic especially if your whole plan was laid out in front of you and you KNEW that all you had to do was stay focused on your goals and they would be successful?

Sun Aug 27, 02:28:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kylee L said...

Why didn't the people of Ithaka intervene and look for Odysseus? It took 20 years for them to search for him and even then it was his son.

Sun Aug 27, 03:02:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Nicole M said...

If the suitors were not in the wrong for courting Penelope (since they believed Odysseus had been dead for 20 years), then why did they have to be punished for acting within their rights? Why couldn't they have just relinquished their courtship of Penelope when Odysseus returned?

Sun Aug 27, 03:15:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Sean K said...

In the last two books of The Odyssey, the phrase, “So much is due the dead,” is repeated by both the suitors to Agamemnon (450) and Laertes to the stranger (454). Given the Greeks belief in the gods and in no hell, why is this idea important to the characters in the story?

Sun Aug 27, 04:08:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Dayna Z said...

Why does Odysseus have to kill all the suitors? I can understand getting revenge on the worst ones like Antinoos, but on page 322, Athena tells Odysseus, "You may collect a few more loaves, and learn who are the decent lads, and who are vicious - although not one can be excused from death!" Why would Homer have Odysseus kill even the decent suitors?

Sun Aug 27, 04:53:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Chennery F said...

Why did Homer reveal Odysseus' journey home through a series of stories from other characters, Odysseus' memory and the few events that happened in between? Why not just tell the story as truly an epic poem, describing the events of his journey as they happened?

Sun Aug 27, 05:36:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Amy J said...

We are constantly reminded of Odysseus' bravery, and yet he never seems to do anything to prove himself. Why is he so celebrated? Why does Athena choose to save him rather than another man?

Sun Aug 27, 05:54:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Sam S said...

I thought that the ending was rather predictable and almost boring. Odysseus got home safe, killed the suitors, and Penelope was still unmarried and in love with him. Why did Homer choose the ending he did? Why didn't he choose an alternative ending such as Odysseus, or even Telemakhos, getting killed at the last minute?

Sun Aug 27, 08:07:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kaeli K said...

Why is this book so famous, regarded as such a classic piece of literature, and lasted many generations? In short, what is the big deal about this book?

Sun Aug 27, 08:08:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Karen W said...

What makes the Oddessy stand the test of time? So many values and morals have developed since the time of ancient Greeks, are we still getting the same lessons out of the tale now that our societal beleifs have changed?

Sun Aug 27, 08:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Lauren M said...

What is the role of human nature in The Odyssey if the gods control everything? Does Odysseus or Telemakhos have any control over their actions?

Sun Aug 27, 08:48:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Steph Zepelin said...

Okay, can we please get to the bottom of the issue with women in the book?
I am so confused.
At some points, women seem to have a lot of power. The Goddess Kirke retains Odysseus on her island for seven years (if I am correct). Athena is also another powerful woman in this book (I don't think we need to give an example that shows this).

But what about Penelope? She is supposed to sit at home and just WAIT while her husband is trying to get home. She doesn't even know if he actually is trying to come home and wants to go home or, for that matter, if he is even alive! She is supposed to stay faithful to a man that may as well be dead (he doesn't come back for twenty years!). If she had married a suitor, everyone would have called her a slut (or some greek version of the word), but they don't think any less of Odysseus for sleeping with other women while on his voyage.
Women's rights activists would not like this.
As for me, I'm just confused...

Sun Aug 27, 09:16:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kendra W said...

I also question why Odysseus allowed himself to form relationships with other women and in the end, gets away with his infidelity. Why are the God's so willing to help him return to Ithaca and Penelope when he is so unfaithful physically to her on the journey back?

Sun Aug 27, 09:38:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Melissa said...

Ok--
This is sort of a simple/perhaps obvious question, but I have been thinking about it and I am a little confused.

What exactly is the climax of the epic? Does it even have one because it is such a long poem with so many details and stories? Are there more than one? I don't know.

Sun Aug 27, 10:28:00 PM 2006  
Blogger sarahg said...

My question about the Odyssey is what happens next? I know that the epic had to end somewhere, and Homer chooses a good place to end it, but I still wonder what will become of Odysseus, Telemachus, and Ithaca. Will Telemachus be as great as his father? Will he have the same ruling abilities and the strength to be as courageous a warrior as Odysseus was? And will Ithaca be a peaceful place? Or will the suitors' families retaliate? If this happens, will Athena continue to help Odysseus, so that he may be successful against any retaliations? I know it had to end somewhere, but I still wonder....

Mon Aug 28, 08:24:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Becca S said...

Does Homer disguise all the Gods to the human eye to keep the book realistically accurate or to prove that there is an obvious possibility of fiction in the Gods and Goddesses?

Mon Aug 28, 08:39:00 AM 2006  
Blogger barbarab88 said...

Why chose Athena as the god that loves Odysseus? Why not Aphrodite or another goddess? What makes this goddess so important?

Mon Aug 28, 09:40:00 AM 2006  
Blogger kelsee p said...

Odyssey Discussion 8/28/06

If the gods make sure that people always get what they deserve, why is vengeance a big deal?
•Gods used Odysseus to give them what they deserved
•If there is no punishment in an afterlife, than they need to be punished while they are alive. (Christian vs. Pagan)
•Odysseus needs his own personal vengeance
•Athena understands that Odysseus need to get back at the suitors to redeem his honor, thus she is also seeking vengeance on them
•Glorifies the gods more when people avenge honor and integrity for themselves
•Examples of gods directly punishing humans:
oOdysseus kills the Cyclops and Poseidon is mad at him and sends a storm and shipwrecks him
oDirect Offence=Direct punishment
The suitors offending Odyssess is indirectly offending the gods
•In Homer’s world they believe in “an eye for an eye”
•Note Poseidon: Page 234 (Book 13)
•(Book 14) Page 250, “the gds living in bliss are fond of no wrong doing but honor discipline and right behavior”
•(Book 17) Page 327, “ …looking like strangers…to keep an eye on manners, good and bad”
•Good manners=rewards (accepting strangers)
•Bad manners=punishments (suitors; Odysseus and his men taking what is not their’s at the Cyclops seen)
•People are the tools of the gods??
•No absolutes in society (one god approves, another does not) Why?
oThe people lived in fear
•Why can Zeus countermined the other god’s orders?
oBecause he is THE BIG DADDY
•Doing bad and getting away with it
oExample: Odysseus is not faithful (p. 85) “…he lay with her each night…broken heart, scanning the sea…”
Although he does not have a physical purity, he tries to remain emotionally faithful to Penelope
HEROS DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT
Tragic heroes=tragic / flaws epic heroes=?
Note: suitors have only been at Penelope’s house for 4 years (p.340 “..and his heart foreknew , but could not take flight because Athena bound him there…”
•They are the bad ones because they are taking what is not their’s to take, and they mock guests and beggers.
•Page 201 “…they lord it over all the exhaust dead’
oPhilosophy of life and the afterlife
Ultimate punishment=being killed (everyone goes the same place when they die)
Purpose of Book:
•Give people an example to live life?
•Show the result of a higharchy society
•Show heroism and the all heroes don’t have to be defined the same

Mon Aug 28, 11:34:00 AM 2006  

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