Odyssey Book 8

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  • Book 8
    • Flow Chart
      • A and O rise at the same time and A calls a meeting of the all captain and counsellors to discuss O. Athene makes O more beautiful. A gives a speech saying the Phaeacians will help O travel to his home land using a black ship and 25 young oarsmen. A then calls for the bard, Demodocus who is blind, to come sing for them
        • Demodocus sings of the battle between Odysseus and Achilles. O begins to cry as it brings back his memories from Troy. A is the only one to see him and prays that the bard stop singing. He decides they should have games that will help cheer up O. They have many events:
          • Laodamas wants O to take part in the game as and asks him if he will. O answers he is too tired after sea-fairing to take part in the games. Eurylochus insults him saying he is 'no athlete' but more a 'skipper on merchant ship'. E believes O has no real talent. O responds by going to the discus picking up the heaviest one and throwing out far beyond the other pegs. All of Phaeacia is shocked. Athene calls out a compliment pretending to be one of the crowd
            • Alcinous calls on the bard to sing. He sings about Ares and Aphrodite's affair. Hephaestus was jealous of Aphrodite so he set a trap on his bed. He pretended to go away and Aphrodite and Ares joined together to make love but were trapped under netting on the bed. The Gods gathered around them and laughed. The bard stops singing at the Phaeacians are dancing. A concludes this saying he wishes to present O with gifts.
              • He first presents him with a bronze sword, then a golden chalice as well as clean cloaks and tunics. O then has a long bath. After emerging from the bath he meets N who wishes him luck on his future journey. O goes to the feast where he requests that Demodocus sing the song the Trojan horse. O begins to cry bitterly. A requests that they discover his origin. A also tells us of a prophecy that one of their ships would be wrecked when the ship came home from such a journey. A bids O to tell them his story
          • 1. race           2. wrestling    3. jump            4. discus      5. boxing
    • themes
      • Law of Xenia
        • A wishes for himself and O to be Xenoi or guest-friends which means if any of their descendants meet the others family they must welcome them
          • he upholds this with the gift of the golden chalice that meant O would always remember him
        • the Phaeacians uphold the law of Xenia very well with their many gifts - shows their status and good character
      • O's identity
        • O conceals his identity throughout book 8 as he is worried the Phaeacians won't know of his hero status and therefore won't take him home
          • once he hears himself mentioned in the Bard's song he understands he can reveal his identity. He then asks the bard to sing another song about him in order to reassert his status
        • he tries to prove his heroism when throwing the discus - throws it further than everyone
          • this continues when he cries as this was the sign of a hero
      • Character of A
        • Alcinous is quite boastful often talking about how gifted the Phaeacians are in sport and in sea-fairing
          • he also talks about their special relationship with the gods
        • he is very civilised due to the many items he gives O
        • he is god-fearing as throughout Book 7 and 8, before eating, they give libatitions to Zeus - makes him appear more civilised
        • he is caring as stops the bard from singing when he sees it causes O great pain
    • techniques
      • stock scene of putting a boat together that would relate to Homeric audience
      • use of a blind bard that is gifted by the gods is meant to resemble Homer himself who was thought to be blind
        • the believed people who were blind were physically /spiritually gifted in other ways.
      • epic similes
        • 'he wept as a woman weeps when she throws her arms around the body of her beloved husband fallen in battle'
          • this resembles the way O feels as he is weeping for the many friends he lost in battle
        • 'even a blind man could pick out your peg by feeling with his hands'
          • shows O's heroism and skill


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