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Context Questions Book 10 The Odyssey
(a) What happened on the island of Aeolia before and after this passage?
Odysseus and his men landed on Aeolia and were entertained and questioned for a whole month. When
Odysseus asked to leave, King Aeolus presented Odysseus with a bag of winds. On the tenth day of their
return voyage, Odysseus fell asleep.
(b) What are the thoughts and feelings of both Odysseus and his men in this passage? In what ways does Homer
convey them? In your answer you should include discussion of their words and actions.
Odysseus is desperate to reach Ithaca. `In my anxiety to speed our journey home,' he says when on the ship
from Aeolia. This shows his determination and extreme longing to reach his homeland, his wife and his son.
`Anxiety' is an emotive, emphatic word which further conveys this.
Odysseus is beginning to lose his patience in terms of getting home. When the bag of winds is opened and
they are swept back to Aeolia, he says, `I debated whether to jump overboard and drown.' This portrays his
annoyance and impatience as he is weary of his long journey and his misfortune. He speaks of drowning,
which shows how upset he is. However, as he chooses to stay on-board and `quietly endure', his actions
speak louder than his words: no matter how much be endures, his greatest desire of returning to Ithaca will
always be most prevalent. He also mentions before that a man's sweetest sight is his homeland in Book 9,
which supports this.
Odysseus is tired with travelling. `I was utterly exhausted,' he says as he travels to Ithaca. `Utterly' is an
emotive adverb which portrays how weary he is; `exhausted' is an emphatic way of expressing tiredness.
Therefore, we can see that he is overcome by grief and toil, tiring him out, making us sympathise with him.
Odysseus is losing the will to live and be happy. `When I awoke my spirit failed me,' he states when the ship is
carried back to Aeolia, showing that he is giving up hope and is, in a nutshell, depressed! He is sleeping
often, eating very little (although there isn't much choice) and is grieving often: this is probably because of
the loss of his comrades and his exceeding misfortune. This is pathetic.
His men are conniving behind Odysseus' back: `Evil counsels prevailed,' says Odysseus. He is making it clear
that his men were against him and had little respect for him. `Evil counsels' is a strong word which conveys
Odysseus' men are losing respect for him: `What a captain we have,' they say about him, almost sarcastically,
showing their prevalent distrust and hatred for him. This makes us empathise with them as we think that
Odysseus should share his rewards although we sympathise with Odysseus as he had little reason to inform
His men are jealous of him. They say `it's not fair!' that Odysseus gets all of the rewards and credit. This
shows that they are beginning to rebel. As Odysseus says in Book 9, `hungry comrades can become unfaithful
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They are just as eager to get home as Odysseus. The wind is `carrying them headlong out to sea, in tears,
away from their native land.' This shows how saddened they are to be bereft of their homeland for so long
and it also emphasises how regretful they are for their disloyalty to Odysseus by disobeying him.
(c) How well does Odysseus communicate with his men in The Odyssey? In your answer you should examine both
this episode and evidence from elsewhere in the poem.…read more
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I considered lopping his This is bad `I was not to be `I did not mention Scylla,
head off,' says communication as they persuaded.' Odysseus fearing that my men
Odysseus in line 437 argue although it is good refuses to leave might stop rowing.' This
when Eurylochus discipline. His men will Polyphemus' cave, shows he is concerned
rebukes him. only obey him if he is showing him putting his for them. However, as
strict with them. foot down.…read more