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The Odyssey by Homer | Summary & Analysis

welcome to a world of mythology and

history a crazy epic fueled by the

imagination from which we can learn so

much I'm Russell Jaffe for course Hyrum

come with me on a journey we call The

Odyssey

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even though the Odyssey has withstood

the test of time in a pretty

unbelievable way very little is actually

known about its author Homer we do know

that it was written approximately 2700

years ago and is a sequel to the Iliad

some scholars suggest that Homer may

have been blind

some think that Homer was actually a

bunch of people and one scholar even

suggest that maybe Homer was a woman in

keeping with the oral storytelling

tradition what we do know is that the

Odyssey is a true epic in every sense

filled with literary devices like

similes metaphors and mythology to tell

a story broken into 24 books key themes

in this book include hubris pride or

arrogance worst-case-scenario stupidity

that really drives the action temptation

that develops the characters hospitality

homecoming it's the journey deception

faked where the will of the gods meets

the ability of the characters justice

and vengeance

sweet sweet vengeance so much vengeance

now breaking down such a massive epic

text into a summary is pretty

challenging but the most important thing

might be to remember that there's sort

of three main sections of the book the

first section is all about what's

happening in Ithaca the home of Odysseus

our main character and his family the

second part is all about what happened

that led Odysseus to where he is now

trapped on an island and still trying to

get home after 20 years of being gone

the third section is all about Odysseus

as journey home to seek revenge reclaim

his throne and reunite with his family

at long last so the book begins with the

god of gods Zeus and his favorite child

of Lena discussing Odysseus is

predicament and thinking about whether

or not they're going to help him now

soos he's pretty upset with Odysseus and

so is the god Poseidon who

the sea but Athena takes pity on

Odysseus and really wants to help him

out and especially his family we see

what's going on with this family all

throughout this section it's in Ithaca

and his son Telemachus is 20 years old

and he hasn't seen his dad since he was

a baby

Penelope Odysseus's wife has been

basically in mourning for about four

years with these suitors mooching off

her and her son living in their palace

eating all their goat drinking their

wine and generally causing mayhem

Penelope has been in denial that

Odysseus is not coming back she holds

out hope that he'll return Penelope has

locked herself away and has been

knitting a death shroud for Odysseus's

aging father Laertes and she keeps

undoing this shroud so that she doesn't

have to make a decision about which

suitors she's gonna pick the suitors are

expecting her to pick one of them marry

them and move on Telemachus with a

little help from Athena in disguise

which is a recurrent theme that gods

love disguises and they love deception

helps Telemachus create a plan to find

his father and bring him home now in the

next part of the book Odysseus tells us

all about what's gotten him to this

island a jjigae where he's held captive

by Calypso a nymph which is a lesser God

who really digs him we hear all about

his exploits in the Trojan War and then

his long 10 years journey home now

the main theme here is probably hubris

because even though he's incredibly

strong he's incredibly brave and he is a

natural leader

his showboating and in some cases

braggadocio that is really lettin

those insults fly and the mocking fly

have gotten him into these predicaments

in the first place particularly

involving the Cyclops the giant one-eyed

monster that ends up trapping Odysseus

and his men when Odysseus blinds him and

he had his men escaped from the

cyclopses cave

Odysseus lets loose talked saying if

anyone asks who blinded you say it was

Odysseus of Ithaca well all the Cyclops

has to do is put in a prayer to his

father over Sidon ruler of the Seas and

the next thing you know Odysseus is

stranded on this island and he's not get

enough in part three Odysseus is finally

able to with a little help from the gods

escape this island and begin his journey

home to seek vengeance and take back his

family his home and his throne

now Odysseus began his journey with 600

men but now he is the only one left but

this was also telegraphed to him by the

gods and this is where we really see

that theme of fate coming up a lot the

things that are beyond the characters

controls the gods favoring them helping

them out but they're not just in cruise

control the gods need you mortals like

Odysseus even though he's really really

sort of above average to get involved

and to make things happen so even though

things have been foretold to Odysseus

and even though he knows and his family

knows that the gods are taking favor on

him he still has to work hard be

virtuous and not fall victim to the same

fate that so many others have fallen

victim to which frankly is death

Odysseus finally makes it home and in

disguise meeting up with Athena also in

disguise he reunites with his family who

don't know it's him returns back to his

palace impresses his family with a

series of tests proving that it's him

after all takes out all the suitors and

then finally reunites with his aging

father layer

this book really ends with a few major

themes the relationships between fathers

and sons fate itself and the role of

mortality when it comes to the gods or

being favored or being looked at in a

positive light and things beyond your

control and of course homecoming and

what it means to come home a virtuous

person now you may know the general plot

but the journey is so much bigger than

the destination come with me and I will

guide you through all the sea monster

encountering the Lotus eating the land

of the dead and disguise after disguise

after disguise the trials the

tribulations the pure insanity that is

the Odyssey

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