Odyssey Book 12

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  • Book 12
    • Flow Chart
      • Odysseus and his men return to Aeaea and lay funeral rites for Elpenor. Circe warns O of his passage ahead. He first must pass the Sirens who no man has listened to before without banishing Nostos. She says the should melt wax and use it as earplugs. If O wants to listen to the Sirens he must have his men bound him to his ship so he can listen and no matter how much he struggles they must no release him
        • He will then have choice to go to the wandering rocks, which no man has passed through alive apart from Jason, Jason and the Argonauts, or Scylla and Charybdis. Circe advises the latter. Then O must make a final choice: Scylla or Charybdis.
          • Scylla is a monster who was originally and water nymph but her water poisoned by Poseidon's wife out of jealousy of her relationship with Poseidon. She now has six necks and twelve feet
          • or Charybdis, a whirlpool which will **** his men in.
          • Circe advises he take the path past Scylla as there he will only loss six men not all. O asks if there is anyway to avoid losing men. Circe calls him foolish and says she has given him the advice she can. After this he will come to the island of Thrinacie where he must not harm the cattle - repeats T's prophecy. O sets off on his journey with his men. He tells them about the sirens. They fill their ears with wax and tie him up preventing him from leaving the ship
            • He hears the songs of the Sirens, they sing of Troy, tailoring their songs to O, and say they know everything that happens on earth which appeals to O as he has been separated from his family for so long but the manage to get through despite O's protests. The men next come close Scylla and Charybdis. O is keeping an eye out for S but as O's men are distracted C, S grabbed six of them and brought them up to her rock where she ate them. The men continued to sail on.
              • They were passing the island of the Sun Cattle when O's men wanted to pull over and stop but O demanded that they couldn't due to Tiresias and Circe's predictions. However Eurylochus made a long speech contradicting O and saying he wished for them to pull over as they were tried and hungry. O allowed them to but made them swear and oath that they would not eat any of the Sun god's cattle. They landed and rested.
                • For the next few weeks the found they were trapped on the island by the winds and originally there were enough of Circe's stores to last but they soon ran out and began to starve. O made the men promise again that they wouldn't harm the Sun-gods cattle. However, O fell asleep, and Eurylochus went behind his back and arranged team of men to kill the cattle, as they saw it as dishonourable to die of starvation.
                  • The men killed the cattle cooked it and ate it. O awoke to the smell of cooking meet and he scorned his men for eating the cattle. A messenger went to the Sun-god telling them what they had done. The Sun-god went to Zeus demanding consequences for the deaths of his men. Zeus let the men leave the island with favourable wind the next morning but after this he sent winds to batter down their ship.
                    • The ship was split in half and the mast broke. O's men we swept off the side and he managed to grab onto dry wood. Zeus sent him a south wind that pushed him towards S and C. He pushed down to C but managed to grab onto a fig tree and pull himself out of the whirl pole. He dropped into the water and drifted until he reached Calypso's island.
                  • the men carry out sacrifices before doing so but find they don't have wine or barley to complete the sacrifice which causes problems for them in the future.
    • themes
      • divine intervention
        • we see this through Circe's advice to O
        • O's men ignore his orders even though he had multiple divine warnings
        • Zeus intervenes killing all of O's men with strong winds as they disobeyed T's propehcy
        • justice could be seen as being served as O avoids dying but the men who disobeyed him died
      • O as a leader
        • O is a good leader as doesn't tell his men about S and C before reaching them as it would make them panic
        • he tries to prevent them going to the land of the Sun God.
        • Eurylochus causes the most problems for O - he makes the men go to the island and he makes the men kill the cattle through kleos of not dying of starvation
    • techniques
      • epic similes
        • 'like an angler on a jutting point, who casts her bait to lure the little fishes below...'
          • shows power of S and helplessness of O's men
      • we see stock scenes of: feasts, setting sail and sacrifice
        • show structure of Odyseey


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