By Jasper Griffin
This convenient consultant to The Odyssey introduces scholars to a textual content which has been basic to literature for almost 3,000 years. delivering a precis of the poem and studying its constitution, Jasper Griffin in actual fact outlines the team spirit, values and strategies of the poem, in addition to the explanations for its longstanding attraction. scholars will realize the basic subject matters of loyalty and betrayal, and may be guided in the course of the narrative of Odysseus' adventures, as well as a worthwhile advisor to extra examining. First version Hb (1987): 0-521-32804-7 First variation Pb (1987): 0-521-31043-1
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Extra info for A Student Guide for Homer: The Odyssey
The most important of these questions relates to the central plot of the poem, the return and vengeance of Odysseus. The Odyssey tells the story in this way: for some years Penelope is beset in her house by a crowd of importunate Suitors. 127ff). Then, apparently, nothing happened; and later on Odysseus arrived, unrecognised by her. 75). They all fail, and Odysseus gets the bow into his hands and begins his vengeance. 1–240): an idea which makes possible the creation of a fine psychological scene.
In the palace of Odysseus things move more slowly than we expect, and there is a tendency for things to happen more than once: Suitors throw things at Odysseus, Melantho insults him, the hero shakes his head in grim silence. There is a gathering of pace, with the intensity of Odysseus’ conversation with Penelope in Book Nineteen, the tense expectation at the opening of Twenty, and the bringing-out of the bow in Twenty-One, but at moments the reader has almost the feeling that the fluent poet is producing variations on his themes for their own sake, in love with his characters and reluctant to terminate his plot.
These poems both have a definite structure with a beginning and an end, and their creator must have envisaged their being performed, not just piecemeal, but as connected wholes. That meant performance over several days, and the loss by the audience of the power to choose a different theme tomorrow instead of going on with the Odyssey. We do not know, and we never shall know, whether the poet of the Iliad dictated his poem to a scribe, or to a number of scribes simultaneously or in sequence, or whether he wrote it down himself, or used written notes to help with its construction.