First 324 words of the document:
First shown to Telemachus by Nestor, then Menelaus.
Shown to Odysseus by Alcinous and Arête.
The Cyclops (Book 9)
The Laestrygonians (Book 10)
Circe (Book 10)
It is interesting that, although strangers are "protected" by Zeus, Zeus agrees with
Poseidon that the Phaeacians are too hospitable to Odysseus. This seems a value more
human than Olympian.
Respect for the Gods
Respect for the gods is shown through the numerous descriptions of sacrifices and
offerings. Before feasting, the ritual involves "cutting the first strips for the gods" having
them "wrapped in sleek fat . . . sprinkling barley over them" then "burning the choice parts
for the gods that never die." Libations are also poured.
Disrespect for the Gods inevitably leads to disaster; the Gods do not forget disrespect and
are not easily appeased. (Poseidon, Athena, Aeolus, Helios.)
Note how often Odysseus prays, especially after he makes the mistake with Polyphemus.
The Importance of Lineage
Almost every time we met someone significant the narration pauses and we learn of the
Note how frequently a god is part of that lineage includes a god. (And how often the god is
Many "things" we see also have a lineage or history that we are given note Odysseus scar
and his bow.
Penelope's loyalty to Odysseus
Athena's loyalty to her "Odysseus" and vice versa
Loyalty between parents and offspring.
The loyalty of Eurycleia
The loyalty of Argos
The loyalty of the Achaeans to each other.
Pride and Honor
Odysseus is guilty of excessive pride when he gives his name to Polyphemus (Book 9).
Laodamus shows excess pride when he challenges Odysseus in Book 8.
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The suitors seem dangerously proud, especially when Odysseus returns. In the end, the
suitors have dishonored Odysseus and must pay for this.
On the other hand, a certain amount of pride and sense of honor is important. Note how
Odysseus responds to the challenge of Laodamus.
Telemachus needs to need to gain more pride so that he can stand up to the suitors who
have dishonored his house.
Generally, Odysseus resists temptation.…read more
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Homer seems to think that revenge is well justified and people are entitled to it.
At the end of the book Athena ensures that the people of Ithaca are reconciled with Odysseus.
The test Odysseus and various members of his family undergo with each other suggest that their
reunions also involve reconciliation.
Fate is preordained by a power beyond that of even the gods.
Paradoxically, it does not seem "random." A character's fate is tied up with his "character.…read more