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The Odyssey Nostos and Folktale. Aristotle's summary of Odyssey "A man has been abroad for many years. Poseidon is always on the watch for him. He is.

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Presentation on theme: "The Odyssey Nostos and Folktale. Aristotle's summary of Odyssey "A man has been abroad for many years. Poseidon is always on the watch for him. He is."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Odyssey Nostos and Folktale

2 Aristotle's summary of Odyssey "A man has been abroad for many years. Poseidon is always on the watch for him. He is all alone. The situation at home is that Suitors are wasting his money and plotting against his son. After a stormy passage he returns, reveals himself, attacks his enemies, kills them and is saved."

3 Structure of Odyssey The Telemachy - adventures of Telemachus - passage to manhood - Bks I-IV The voyage home of Odysseus Bks V-VIII, XIII.1-187 The Great Wanderings - Bks IX-XII Odysseus on Ithaka - family reunion and triumph of Odysseus - XIII.187-XXIV

4 Nestor's Explanation But after we had sacked the sheer citadel of Priam, and were going away in our ships, and the god scattered the Achaians, then Zeus in his mind devised a sorry homecoming for the Argives, since not all were considerate nor righteous; therefore many of them found a bad way home, because of the ruinous anger of the Gray-eyed One, whose father is mighty. N.B Dione’s words to wounded Aphrodite

5 Why Such Difficult Nostoi? Nostos Ajax of Lokris & Cassandra Killing of Priam on Apollo’s Altar Killing of Astyanax

6 Family Ties Odysseus Penelope Telemachus Suitors Agamemnon Clytemnestra Orestes Aegisthus

7 Poet and Poetry in Odyssey Metaliterary or Metapoetic material Poetry –To charm/soothe (magical) –To make men famous –To give delight

8 “Magical” Song of Phemios Phemios “Praiser” Terpiades “Son of Delight” Sad Nostoi for Suitors Inspired by Zeus “Charms” suitors Similar Song Example?

9 Songs of Demodocus “Revered by the People” Bard of the Phaeacians “Magical gift of Song” - Odysseus Songs: –Quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles –Ares and Aphrodite –Wily Odysseus and wooden horse; capture & sack of Troy Topical Relevance?

10 Other Singers Sirens Calypso Circe Helen? Odysseus?

11 Siren Song What do they sing? Mantic Truth Flesh-eaters? Egyptian Ba?

12 Calypso at the Loom

13 Circe Another singing weaver Thread Magic

14 Helen Bewitched by Aphrodite? Voices of Wives of Greek Heroes in Wooden Horse - possessed? Drugs Menelaus & company to “forget all sorrows”

15 Odysseus as Bard: IX-XII The Kikonians Lotus-eaters Cyclopes Aiolos Laistrygones Circe Land of Dead Sirens Scylla & Charybdis Cattle of Helios Calypso

16 Odysseus ducks Sniper Fire? Eumaius: Odysseus “charms like a singer” Alcinous: "Odysseus, we as we look upon you do not imagine that you are a deceptive or thievish man, the sort that the black earth breeds in great numbers, people who wander widely, making up lying stories, from which no one could learn anything. You have a grace upon your words, and there is sound sense within them, and expertly, as a singer would do, you have told the story of the dismal sorrows befallen yourself and all the Argives.”

17 Folktale Elements in Odyssey Son’s search for lost father Hero’s adventures in quest Hero’s Return in disguise to save beloved (from marriage)

18 Women’s Roles in Folktale Protectress –non-sexual admiration for virtue, lineage, heroic deed Enchantress –“evil witch in wood” –if outwitted, will serve Object of Striving –reason for quest

19 Women in the Odyssey Athena Leucothea Arete Nausicaa Circe Calypso Helen


21 Leucothea (& Palaemon)

22 Arete

23 Nausicaa Lastmann

24 Circe

25 Calypso

26 Helen

27 Penelope as Folktale Woman

28 Penelope as Object of Striving Sought by Odysseus in competition with Suitors

29 Penelope as Protectress? Encourages Kind Treatment of Disguised Beggar But Odysseus’ reaction? Boulanger

30 Penelope as Dangerous Enchantress? Zeus approves Orestes’ vengeance Nestor’s Story of Agamemnon & Warning to Telemachus Athena: Orestes as example

31 Penelope’s Own Words To Disguised Odysseus: Pandareos’ daughter, Aedon (Prokne?); Itylos vs. son of Niobe Implication? Dream of Geese and Eagle Implication?

32 The Nightingale, XIX.515-534 But after the night comes, and sleep has taken all others, I lie on my bed, and the sharp anxieties swarming Thick and fast on my beating heart torment my sorrowing Self. As When Pandareos’ daughter, the greenwood nightingale, Perching in the deep of the forest foliage sings out Her lovely song, when springtime has just begun; she, varying The manifold strains of her voice, pours out the melody, mourning Itylos, son of the Lord Zethos, her own beloved child, Whom she once killed with the bronze when the madness was upon her; So my mind is divided and starts one way, then another. Shall I stay here by my son and keep all in order, My property, my serving maids, and my great-roofed house, Keep faith with my husband’s bed and regard the voice of the people, Or go away at last with the best of all of those achaians Who court me here in the palace, with endless gifts to win me? My son, while he was still a child and thoughtless, would not Let me marry and leave the house of my husband; but now That he is grown a tall man and come to maturity’s measure, He even prays me to go home out of the palace, fretting over the property, which the Achaian men are devouring.

33 Penelope’s Dream, XIX.535-553 ‘But come, listen to a dream of mine, and interpret it for me. I have twenty geese here and about the house, and they feed on Grains of wheat from the water trough. I love to watch them. But a great eagle with crooked beak came down from the mountain, And broke the necks of them all and killed them. So the whole twenty Lay dead about the house, but he soared high in the bright air. Then I began to weep - that was in my dream - and cried out Aloud, and around me gathered the fair-haired Achaian women As I cried out sorrowing for my geese killed by the eagle. But he came back again and perched on the jut of the gabled Roof. He now had a human voice and spoke aloud to me: “Do not fear, O daughter of far-famed Ikarios. This is no dream, but a blessing real as day. You will see it Done. The geese are the suitors, and I, the eagle, have been a bird of portent, but now I am your own husband, come home, And I shall inflict shameless destruction on all the suitors.” So he spoke; and then honey-sweet sleep released me, And I looked about and saw the geese in my palace, feeding On their grains of wheat from the water trough, just as they had been.’

34 Wily Penelope?

35 The Final Test… Francesco Primaticcio Daumier

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