Key characters: Odysseus

  • Created by: Smelsa
  • Created on: 13-04-15 15:46
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  • Key characters: Odysseus
    • External translations
      • the first word in the odyssey is 'andra' meaning 'man.' emphasising the importance of od.
      • the first word used by homer to describe od in the invocation is 'polytropon' - this literally means 'of many turns'
      • Od's multi-faced nature is the first thing homer decides to emphasise. Therefore, od is, above all else, versatile.
    • Bravery
      • Defining characteristic of any Homeric hero - including od. his bravery is evident throughout the epic.
      • example: od's reaction when he hears his men are under Circe's spell (10)
        • 'I shall go I have absolutely no choice'
      • he can be recklessly brave, describing circe's instruction not to try to fight Scylla as 'irksome' (12)
      • He is physically brave and strong in the way he kills the suitors (22)
    • Eloquence
      • His masterful speech to Nausicaa (6) - he changes him self in her eyes from a naked wretch to a prospective husband.
        • evidence- Nau's response: 'your manners prove that you are no rascal and no fool'
      • By manipulating Calypso's feelings towards him (5) demonstrates his tact and intelligence.
      • lying to Athene for the first time (13) - winning her admiration and approval
    • Intelligence, cunning & curiosity
      • The first quality he refers to when reveals his identity to the phaecians is his cleverness (9)
        • evident he regards it a his defining characteristic
        • 'the whole world talks of my stratagems and my fame has reached the heavens'
      • zeuse calls od the 'wisest man alive'
      • Trojan horse was Odysseus' idea (4) - shows his cunning and bravery
      • od's suspicious mind - shown by his response to calypso's good news (5) which comes from his own cunning and long experience
      • he is able to build his own raft (5)
      • He is also witty in his cleverness: when he tells the cyclops his name is 'nobody' the greek word is 'me tis' - which is a pun on the word 'metis' which means 'wisdom' or 'plan'
      • However, his curiosity lands him and his men in trouble. When he insists on finding out who lives in the cave (9)
      • he is proud of his cleverness
        • he says that the cyclops tried to trick him (9) and then says: 'but he could not outwit someone with my knowledge of the world'
      • refers to his own: 'courage, strategy and intelligence' (12) when talking to his men
      • listens to the sirens' song, shows his curiosity
      • Homer calls him: 'a man wise as the Gods are wise'
      • Athena's praise of him (13)
        • 'anyone who met you, even a god, would have to be a consummate trickster to surpass you in subterfuge'
    • Endurance/ Self Control
      • he does not fall for Helens voice trick, unlike the other greek leaders in book 4
      • Od says to Calypso (5) 'I have a heart that is inured to suffering and i shall steel it toendure that too'
      • turns down Ino's offer in the storm (5)
        • 'i shall do what i myself think best'
      • doesnt give in to his first impulse
        • but thinks logically when addressing Nausicaa (6)
        • when blinding the cyclops (9)
        • postpones revenge when assulted by Melanthius (17)
        • postpones revenge when Antinous throws a stool at him (17)
      • after failing to reach Ithaca with Aeolu's bag of winds, od wonders weather or not to commit suicide
        • 'I stayed and endured' (10)
      • Od speakes to Tieresias before his mum in the underworld - has to get the job done first (11)
      • stops himself from weepin when, disguised as a beggar, he sees how much Pen. has missed him (19)
    • Bad points
      • his curiosity has led him and his men in to danger
        • Polyphemus' cave: 'but though it would have been far better I was not to be perswaded' (9)
        • showing a flaw in his leadership: excessive self-reliance
      • can be impulsive. He shouts his name to the cyclops, who nearly destroys the ship. his men try to stop him (9)
        • 'but my temper was up; their words did not persuade me'
      • Od also lacks self-control in his youth (9): his taunt to Polyphemus that Posiden would not heal his eye, which is cruel and foolish and lands him in trouble.
      • fails to tell the crew what was in Aeolu's bag. He insists on driving the ship himself (10) which shows his distant relationship with his men
      • guilty of cowardice- when he cuts and runs from the Laestrygonians (10)
        • 'my ship was safe. But that was the end of all the rest' - note how casual od is when describes the loss of 11/12 of his fleet at a stroke.
      • Eurylochus is fair to say: 'it was this mans reckless folly that cost them their lives' about the men who were eaten by the cyclpos (12)
      • od looses control of his men (12)
        • 'Eurlochus, I am one against many and you force my hand'


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