Introduction to Post-Coloniality

Introduction to Post-Coloniality

Homer The Odyssey 800 B.C.? Homer

800 B.C. ? 15th Century manuscript of the Odyssey, book I, written by the scribe John Rhosos for the Tornabuoni family, Florence, Italy (British Museum)

The Odyssey: The Plot Odyssey is a familiar English word, meaning, according to Webster, a series of adventurous journeys usually marked by many changes of fortune. The Greek word Odyssey, the form from which the English word is derived, means simply the story of Odysseus, a

Greek hero of the Trojan War who took ten years to find his way back from Troy to his home on the island of Ithaca, off the western coast of mainland Greece. Ithaca

Ithaca The Odyssey: The Plot Homers Odyssey does indeed present us with adventurous journeys and changes of fortune, but it is also an epic tale of a heros return, to find at home a

situation more dangerous than anything he faced on the plains of Troy or in his wanderings over uncharted seas. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, writing in the fourth century B.C., gives us, in his treatise known as the Poetics, what he considers the essence of the plot.

The Odyssey: The Plot A certain man has been abroad many years; he is alone, and the god Poseidon keeps a hostile eye on him. At home the situation is that suitors for his wifes hand are draining his resources and plotting to kill his son. Then, after suffering storm and shipwreck, he comes home, makes

himself known, attacks the suitors: he survives and they are destroyed. The Iliad, in which the action is confined to Troy and the Trojan plain and lasts for no more than a few weeks (although the war lasted ten years), lent itself less easily to such surgical operations than the Odyssey, which ranges

over ten years and vast spaces. The Odyssey: The Plot It was easy for eager analysts to detect originally separate epics and short ballads. There was a Telemacheia (is a term traditionally applied to the first four books of Homes epic poem the Odyssey, and

they tell the story of Odysseusson Telemachus as he journeys from home for the first time in search of news about his missing father. Books 1-4, WP). Is the tale of a diffident young princes growth to full stature as a man and warrior.

The Odyssey: The Plot It contained what had originally been three separate ballads of the type known as Nostoi (Returns)-the voyages and homecomings of Nestor, Menelaus and Agamemnon. There was a long tale of a heros voyage through far off fabulous seas, like the saga of Jasons ship, the Argo, a

song actually mentioned in the Odyssey (12.77). Embedded in this travel tale was a short but brilliant song about a sex scandal on Olympus-Ares and Aphrodite caught in flagrante delicto by her irate husband, Hephaestus.

The Odyssey: The Plot It is one of the songs of the blind bard (poet of epic tales) Demodocus, who at the Phaeacian court tells also the tale of the quarrel between Achilles and Odysseus and another of Odysseus and the wooden horse that brought about the fall of Troy.

In The Iliad the horse does not appeared, and we learn about, here in The Odyssey through Demodocus. There was also a full-scale Nostos, the return home of Odysseus, the welcome he received, and his vengeance on the suitors.

The Odyssey: The Plot components and the stages of the process that led to their amalgamation were (and in the writings of many eminent critics still are) matters for speculation and dispute. Were there three main poets-one who composed the core of the epic:

the wanderings and return of Odysseus, another who sang of the coming of age and travels of Telemachus (son of Odysseus), The Odyssey: The Plot and a third who combined the two and forged the links that

bind them? Or were there only two-the poet of the voyages and homecoming, and the other who added the Telemacheia and Book 24 [peace] (which many scholars consider a later addition in any case)? The Odyssey: The Plot

It seems much more likely that the Telemacheia was a creation of the poet who decided to combine a tale of adventures in fabulous seas-a western voyage modeled on the saga of the Argos voyage to the east-with a Nostos, the return home of a hero from Troy, in this case to face a situation as dangerous as that awaiting Agamemnon (killed

by his wife Clytemenstra for scarifying their daughter Iphigenia, or by her lover, Aegisthus) For that decision forced on him a radical departure from the traditional narrative procedure of heroic song and confronted him with a problem for which the Telemacheia was a masterly solution.

The Odyssey: The Plot Epic narrative characteristically announces the point in the story at which it begins and then proceeds in chronological order to its end. The Iliad opens with the poets request to the Muse: RageGoddess, sing the rage of Peleus son Achilles;

He then tells her where to start: Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed, / Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles (1.1-8). The Odyssey: The Plot She does, and the story is told in strict chronological order

until its end: And so the Trojans buried Hector breaker of horses (24.944). In the Odyssey, when Odysseus asks the Phaeacian bard Demodocus to Sing of the wooden horse / Epeus built with Athenas help, the bard launched out / in a fine

blaze of song, starting at just the point / where the main Achaean force, setting their camps afire ... " (8.552-61), and carries the story on until Troy falls. The Odyssey: The Plot But the prologue to The Odyssey abandons this traditional

request to the Muse or the singer to begin at a certain point. It begins, like the Iliad, with a request to the Muse to sound a theme-the wrath of Achilles, the wanderings of Odysseusbut instead of telling her where to start- Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed -it leaves the choice to her. Launch out on his story, Muse, daughter of Zeus, / start

from where you will ( 1.11-12). The Odyssey: The Plot And she does. She begins, not with Odysseus departure from Troy (which is where he begins when he tells his story to the Phaeacians), but in the twentieth year of his absence from home, as Athena starts Telemachus on his journey to

Pylos and Sparta and arranges Odysseus escape from his seven-year captivity on Calypsos island. The reason for this startling departure from tradition is not far to seek. The Odyssey: The Plot

If the poet had begun at the beginning and observed a strict chronology, he would have been forced to interrupt the flow of his narrative as soon as he got his hero back to Ithaca, in order to explain the extremely complicated situation he would have to deal with in his home. The Telemacheia enables him to set the stage for the heros

return and to introduce the main participants in the final scenes-Athena, Telemachus, Penelope, Eurycleia, Antinous, Eurymachus-as well as a group of minor players: The Odyssey and The Iliad It has always been assumed that The Odyssey was

composed later than The lliad. The Odyssey was composed later than The Iliad and some suggest that it had a different author. This is the position taken also by many modern scholars, who find significant differences between the two poems not only in vocabulary and grammatical usage hut also in what

they consider development from The Iliad to The Odyssey in moral and religious ideas and attitudes. The Odyssey and The Iliad Estimates of the validity of such evidence vary, however, and there are those who find it hard to accept the idea of the

emergence of two major epic poets in such a short span of time. That The Odyssey was composed later than The Iliad can hardly be doubted. For one thing, though it takes for granted the audiences knowledge not just of the Trojan War saga but of the

particular form it has been given in The Iliad, it carefully avoids duplicating its material. The Odyssey and The Iliad Incidents from the tale of Troy are frequently recalled, sometimes in detail and at length, but they all fall outside

the time frame of The Iliad, occurring either before or after the period of forty-one days that began with the wrath of Achilles and ended with the burial of Hector. Demodocus at the Phaeacian court sings of the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles (an incident not mentioned in The Iliad or, for that matter, anywhere else in extant Greek literature) and later of the wooden horse that brought

the siege to an end. The Odyssey and The Iliad In the palace at Ithaca, the theme of the minstrel Phemius is the sufferings of the heroes on their way home from the war.

Nestor at Pylos tells Telemachus how Agamemnon and Menelaus quarreled after the fall of Troy and took separate routes home. Helen and Menelaus at Sparta tell stories about Odysseus at Troy, neither of them familiar from The Iliad.

The Odyssey and The Iliad Even when Odysseus meets the shades of his comrades Agamemnon and Achilles in Hades, Iliadic material is avoided: Agamemnon tells the story of his death at the hands of his wife and her lover. Odysseus tells Achilles about the heroic feats of arms of his

son Neoptolemus and later talks to Ajax about the award of the arms of Achilles. That the poet of the Odyssey knew the Iliad in its contemporary form is strongly suggested also by the continuity of character delineation from one poem to the other.

The Odyssey and The Iliad In the Odyssey they are all older, those of them who are still alive, but they are recognizably the same men. Nestor is still regal, punctilious and long-winded. Menelaus generous reaction to Telemachus tactful refusal

of his gift of chariot and horses. Helen is still, at Sparta as she was at Troy, the poised mistress of a difficult situation. The Odyssey and The Iliad And Odysseus is still the spellbinding speaker Antenor

remembered in Book 3 of the Iliad, whose words came piling on like a driving winter blizzard (3.267); He is still "the man of twists and turns" Helen identified for Priam in the same passage (3.244). And he is still the man who says one thing but hides another in his heart (9.379)-Achilles description of the

kind of man he hates (he is addressing Odysseus, who has come as Agamemnons ambassador). The Odyssey and The Iliad But in the Odyssey he is no longer one of many heroes fighting between the beached ships and the walls of Troy. He is on his own, first as admiral of a small fleet, then as

captain of an isolated ship, and finally as a shipwrecked sailor clinging to a piece of wreckage. The Odyssey and The Iliad The scenes of his action and suffering widen to include not only the coasts and islands of the Aegean Sea and

continental Greece but also, in the false travel tales he spins in his disguise as a beggar, Crete, Cyprus, Phoenicia and Sicily, and, in the stories he tells the Phaeacians at their feast, the unknown world of the western seas, full of marvels and monsters. Those ships that in The Iliad lie beached behind a palisade

and, with Achilles out of the fighting, face the fury of Hectors assault, return in the Odyssey to their natural element, the wine-dark sea. The Western Seas Odysseus wanderings in the west have inspired many

attempts to plot his course and identify his ports of call. This wild-goose chase had begun already in the ancient world, as we know from the brusque dismissal of such identifications by the great Alexandrian geographer Eratosthenes, who said that you would be able to chart the course of Odysseus wanderings when you found the

cobbler who sewed the bag in which Aeolus confined the winds. Odysseus ten year journey to Ithaca Odysseus ten year journey to Ithaca

The Western Seas [AIOLOS (Aeolus) was the divine keeper of the winds and king of the mythical, floating island of Aiolia (Aeolia). He kept the violent Storm-Winds locked safely away inside the cavernous interior of his isle, releasing them only at the

command of greatest gods to wreak devastation upon the world].WP The Western Seas [This of course has not deterred modem scholars and amateurs from trying; their guesses run from the possibleCharybdis (and Scylla) as a mythical personification of

whirlpools in the straits between Sicily and the toe of the Italian boot-to the fantastic: The Western Seas Homer knows the Asia Minor coast and the Aegean islands: Nestor on the alternative routes from Troy across the Aegean sounds like an expert seaman.

But Homers notion of Egypt, where Menelaus was delayed by contrary winds and where Odysseus in his lying tales often lands, is, to put it mildly, vague. Menelaus describes the island of Pharos, which is one mile off the coast, as distant as far as a ship runs in a whole day with the wind behind her.

The Western Seas And when Homers characters move to mainland Greece and its western offshore islands, confusion reigns. His description of Ithaca is so full of contradictions that many modern scholars have proposed Leucas or

Cephallenia as the real home of Odysseus rather than the island that now bears the name. Homer also displays total ignorance of the geography of mainland Greece: his Telemachus and Pisistratus go from Pylos on the west coast to Sparta in a horse-drawn chariot over a formidable mountain barrier that had no through road

in ancient times. The Western Seas But Homers hazy notions of any area outside the Aegean is only one of the objections to the idea of assigning western locations to Circes island and the land of the Lotus-eaters.

[Circe is a goddess of magic or sometimes a nymph, enchantress or sorceress in Greek Mythology. She is a daughter of the god Helios and either the Oceanid nymph Perse or the goddess Hecate].

The Western Seas [Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of these and a magic wand or staff, she would transform her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals.] [Another story makes her fall in love with the sea-god

Glaucus, who prefers the nymph Scylla to her. In revenge, Circe poisoned the water where her rival bathed and turned her into a dreadful monster]. The Western Seas A great many of the incidents in Odysseus wanderings are

obviously based on a different voyage, the voyage of the Argo, which, with a crew of heroes captained by Jason, sailed not the western but the eastern seas. The Laestrygonians who attack Odysseus ships with rocks have their counterparts in the Argonauts saga; Circe is the sister of Aeetes, keeper of the golden fleece, and Homer himself locates her island not in the west but in the eastwhere the sun rises.

The Western Seas The Clashing Rocks are also a feature of Jasons voyage, and the poem that celebrates it is specifically mentioned by Homer at this point. And the Sirens appear in Apollonius poem the

Argonautica, which, though written in the second century B.C., certainly drew on the earlier poem to which Homer refers. What Homer has done is to transfer episodes from a mythical epic journey in eastern waters to the western seas.

The Western Seas It was of course a geographical imperative that if Odysseus was to be blown off course on his way home, the wind would take him west. Voyager

Odysseus voyage to the fabulous western seas begins in the everyday world, as he leaves the ruins of Troy homeward bound, his ships loaded with booty from the sack of the city. As if that booty were not enough for him, he attacks the first settlement he comes to on his way, the town of Ismarus on the Thracian coast opposite Troy:

Voyager ... I sacked the city, killed the men, but as for the wives and plunder, that rich haul we dragged away from the place we shared it round ... (9.45--48) It is sheer piracy-Ismarus was not a Trojan ally-but it is

obviously an action not unusual in its time and place; one of Odysseus epithets is in fact ptoliporthos, sacker of cities. Voyager Nestor at Pylos politely asks Telemachus and Pisistratus if they are Out on a trading spree or roving the waves like

pirates, sea-wolves raiding at will, who risk their lives to plunder other men? (3.81-83) And Polyphemus asks Odysseus the same question (9.28688). Thucydides, writing in the fifth century B.C., was probably thinking of passages like these when,

Voyager speaking of the measures taken by Minos to suppress piracy in the Aegean, he pointed out that in ancient times: Voyager this occupation was held to be honorable rather than disgraceful. This is proved ... by the testimony of ancient

poets, in whose verses newly arrived visitors are always asked whether they are pirates, a question that implies no disapproval of such an occupation on the part of either those who answer with a disclaimer or those who ask for the information.

Voyager [Polyphemus is the one-eyed giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in Homers Odyssey. His name means abounding in songs and legends. Polyphemus first appears as a savage maneating giant in the ninth book of the Odyssey. In Greek Mythology, the Cyclopes (were giant one-eyed creatures].

Voyager [Three groups of Cyclopes can be distinguished. In Hesiods Theogony, they are the brothers: Brontes, Steropes, and Arges, who provided Zeus with his weapon the thunderbolt. In Homess Odyssey, they are an

uncivilized group of shepherds, the brethren of Polyphemus encountered by Odysseus. Cyclopes were also famous as the builders of the Cyclopes walls of Mycenae and Tiryns]. WP Voyager Piracy was endemic in the Aegean-a sea of islands large

and small, of jagged coastlines full of hidden harborswhenever there was no central sea power strong enough to suppress it. Long after Minos, in the fifth century, an Athenian fleet under the command of Cimon cleared out a nest of pirates on the island of Scyros.

Voyager [In Greek Mythology, Minos was the first King of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every nine years, he made King Aegeus pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to Dedalus creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the

dead in the underworld. The Mionan civilization of Crete has been named after him by the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans]. Voyager [In Greek Mythology, Daedalus cunningly wrought, perhaps

related to work artfully or of knowledge. He was a skillful craftsman and artist, and was seen as a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and power. He invented and built the labyrinth for king Minos of Crete, but shortly after finishing it king Minos had Daedalus imprisoned within the labyrinth. He and his son Icarus devised a plan to escape by using wings made of wax that Daedalus had invented. They escaped, but sadly Icarus

did not heed his fathers warnings and flew too close to the sun. The wax melted and Icarus fell to his death. This left Daedalus heartbroken, but instead of giving up he flew to the island of Sicily]. Odysseus heads for his ship and returns to Circe, who

proceeds to plot them "a course and chart each seamark" (12.28) for their voyage home. They have yet to face the Sirens, make a choice between Scylla and Charybdis, and land, against Circes advice and Odysseus opposition, on Thrinacia, the island where the crew will slaughter the cattle of the Sun and so seal their

own fate. The Sirens are another temptation for Odysseus, perhaps the most powerful of all, for if he had not been bound to the mast, he would have gone to join the heaps of corpses that surround them.

The Sirens are another temptation for Odysseus, perhaps the most powerful of all, for if he had not been bound to the mast, he would have gone to join the heaps of corpses that surround them. Come closer, famous Odysseus, they sing. We know all the pains that the Greeks and Trojans once endured / on the

spreading plain of Troy (12.200-6). Odysseus is a veteran of a ten-year war; he is on his way back to a society in which a new generation has grown up in peace. And that is the strength of the Sirens appeal: we know all

the pains that Achaeans and Trojans once endured / on the spreading plain of Troy. He orders his sailors to untie him, let him go. But of course the Sirens song is an invitation to live in the past, and that is a kind of death; the Sirens island is piled with the bones of dead men. It

was in the land of the dead that he could relive the saga of Troy, with his fellow-veterans Achilles and Agamemnon. Those days are over, and he must look forward to the future, not backward to the past.

The choice between Scylla and Charybdis is still to be made, but Odysseus will have to face both-Scylla as a ships captain on his way to Thrinacia (Sicily), and Charybdis as a lone shipwrecked sailor clinging to a piece of wreckage on the way back. Those days are over, and he must look forward to the

future, not backward to the past. The choice between Scylla and Charybdis is still to be made, but Odysseus will have to face both-Scylla as a ships captain on his way to Thrinacia (Sicily), and Charybdis as a lone shipwrecked sailor clinging to a piece

of wreckage on the way back. Rescued by the goddess Calypso (whose name is formed from the Greek word that means cover, hide), Odysseus spends seven years a virtual prisoner on her island, unwilling lover alongside lover all too willing (5 .172).

He rejects her offer to make him immortal and ageless, her husband forever. Ordered by Hermes to let him go, she reminds him of the offer and foretells the trials and tribulations that still await him on the voyage home:

... if you only knew, down deep, what pains are fated to fill your cup before you reach that shore, youd stay right here, preside in our house with me and be immortal. All this Odysseus rejects, though he knows that the alternative is to entrust himself again, this time alone and on a makeshift craft, to that sea about which he has no

illusions. And if a god will wreck me yet again on the wine-dark sea, he says, Much have I suffered, labored long and hard by now in the waves and wars. Add this to the total-bring the trial on!

(5.244-48) One more offer to forget his home and his identity is made and refused before he reaches Ithaca. In the land of the Phaeacians, where he is welcomed and honored, he is offered the hand in marriage of a young and

charming princess and a life of ease and enjoyment in a utopian society. Phaeacia (Corfu) [Scheria or Scherie, also known as Phaeacia, was a region

in Greek mythology, first mentioned in Homers Odyssey as the home of the Phaeacians and the last destination of Odysseus in his 10-year journey before returning home to Ithaca] The offer is made not only by the king her father ... if only seeing the man you are, seeing we think as one you could wed my daughter and be my son-in-law and stay

right here with us (7.356-59) Ithaca Loaded with treasure greater than all he had won at Troy and lost at sea, Odysseus, in a deep sleep, is transported in the magical Phaeacian ship to the real world and landed,

still asleep, on the shore of Ithaca. When he wakes up, he does not recognize his own country, for Athena has cloaked the shore in a mist. Afraid that the Phaeacians have betrayed him, he repeats the agonized questions he has asked himself on so many strange shores

Ithaca ... whose land have I lit on now? What are they hereviolent, savage, lawless? or friendly to strangers, godfearing men? ( 13.227-29) \ He has in fact reached the most dangerous of all his landfalls. To survive this last trial, he will have to call on all the

qualities that mark him as a hero-the courage and martial skill of the warrior he was at Troy, but also the caution, cunning, duplicity and patience that have brought him safe to Ithaca. Ithaca

His skill in deception will be needed and fully revealed only when at last he reaches the shore of Ithaca, where in order to survive he has to play the role of a penniless, ragged beggar. The tales he tells, to Athena, Eumaeus, Antinous, Penelope and Laertes are brilliant fictions, tales of war, piracy,

murder, blood-feuds and peril on the high seas, with a cast of rogue Phoenician captains, Cretan adventurers and Egyptian Pharaohs. Ithaca They are, as Homer says, lies like truth, thoroughly

convincing, true, unlike the tale he told in Phaeacia, to the realities of life and death in the Aegean world, but nonetheless lies from beginning to end. And Homer reminds us of the contrast between Odysseus and Achilles by making Odysseus, just before he launches

out on a splendidly mendacious account of his background and misfortunes, repeat the famous words Achilles addressed to him at Troy. I hate that man like the very Gates of Death who I ... stoops to peddling lies (14.18283). Ithaca The repetition of that memorable phrase makes the contrast

between the two heroes explicit, but Odysseus is still, as he was in The Iliad, a warrior faithful to the martial ideal. He will gladly employ deceit to win victory, but if necessary he will confront mortal danger alone and unafraid. On Circes island, when Eurylochus returns to report the

disappearance of his companions inside the witchs palace and implores Odysseus not to go to their rescue but to set sail at once, he is met with a scornful refusal: The Two Ends of the Odyssey: Book 23 and Book 24 First Ending

At the Greek line 296 of Book 23 of The Odyssey, husband and wife go joyfully to bed, the bed that served Penelope as the test of Odysseus identity. We know Aristophanes and Aristarchus said that this was the end of the poem. We do not have their own statements, and our sources cite

two different Greek words for end. The Two Ends of the Odyssey One of them, peras, means something like limit or boundary, and the other, telos, besides meaning end in the temporal or spatial sense can often mean something

more like fulfillment, consummation- end in the Aristotelian sense. Let us recapitulate Odysseus return to Ithaca. When Odysseus finally lands in Ithaca, Athena magically disguises Odysseus as an old beggar man, to protect him from his wifes rapacious suitors.

The Two Ends of the Odyssey He meets his son Telemachus and the father reveals himself to the son he last saw as an infant. After an emotional reunion they begin to plan to make things right.

They will keep Odysseus return a secret from all and both return to the palace. When the moment is right they will strike and revenge themselves on the murderous, parasitical suitors. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

Odysseus heads for the palace with Eumaeus and at the palace gates Odysseus sees an old, sick dog lying helplessly on a dunghill. This is Argus, formerly Odysseus favorite hound. The dog whimpers in recognition, licks his hand, and dies. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

Once inside, Telemachus gives his father some food and a place to sit in the hall, and grants him permission to beg from the suitors. All treat him well but Antinous, who insults him a strikes him with a heavy wooden footstool. Only with difficulty is the lordly Odysseus able to control

his rage and continue to play his part. The Two Ends of the Odyssey When the hall is deserted he and his father carefully strip the walls of all weapons and lock them securely in a storeroom. Next Penelope and her maids come down to clean the hall

and to be hospitable she has a short interview with the penniless stranger. She find him familiar and instinctively trusts him, yet she fails to recognize her husband. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

In gratitude, Penelope orders one of her maids to bathe the old stranger and it turns out to be Eurycleia, Odysseus childhood nurse. She recognizes him by an old hunting scar on his thigh but he instantly swears her to silence. Before retiring herself, Penelope returns to the hall and

confides to the beggar that she has devised her final trick to evade the suitors. The Two Ends of the Odyssey She will only marry the man who can string her husbands legendary bow and duplicate his feat of shooting an arrow

cleanly through the holes in twelve axe-heads. Penelope returns to her chambers and Odysseus beds down on the floor in a corner of the hall. The next afternoon Penelope brings her husbands great bow into the hall and announces the competition she has devised.

The Two Ends of the Odyssey The suitors accept the challenge and Telemachus arranges the axes. While the suitors prepare themselves, Odysseus reveals himself to two of his trusted servants and enlists their help. Each of the suitors takes their turn, but none can bend the

mighty bow enough to string it. Odysseus has been sitting quietly watching, but now he asks for his own chance to compete. The Two Ends of the Odyssey Outraged, the suitors refuse him until Penelope intervenes, promising that under no circumstances will she marry the

old vagabond. She and her women are sent from the hall by Telemachus and he has the bow brought to Odysseus, while the servants silently lock the doors to the hall. While the suitors shout abuse, Odysseus calmly bends the massive bow and strings it.

The Two Ends of the Odyssey Effortlessly he shoots an arrow and it glides through every axe-head. He fits another arrow to the bow while Telemachus steps to his side, armed with a spear and sword.

Moving before the locked doors, Odysseus lets his next arrow fly and Antinous crumples dead. The suitors think the old beggar has gone berserk, but Odysseus now announces his true identity and his disguise falls away.

The Two Ends of the Odyssey Effortlessly he shoots an arrow and it glides through every axe-head. He fits another arrow to the bow while Telemachus steps to his side, armed with a spear and sword. Moving before the locked doors, Odysseus lets his next

arrow fly and Antinous crumples dead. The suitors think the old beggar has gone berserk, but Odysseus now announces his true identity and his disguise falls away. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

Seeing his doom, Eurymachus tries to negotiate and offers to make restitution, but the next arrow steals his life. These men have sought to annihilate Odysseus by taking his land, his possessions, his wife, and his very identity. And by repeatedly plotting to take the life of his son, his only child, they have attempted to make it as if he never

existed! The Two Ends of the Odyssey No deals will be made with them. One by one, Odysseus, Telemachus, and the two loyal servants eliminate every last suitor, though they number over one hundred.

Penelope and Odysseus are reunited and now he is revealed to her. He has recovered his identity and all that was ever his. He bathes and is arrayed in royal robes before they retire to their private chamber. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

Many years before Odysseus himself had carved them a unique and marvelous bed from an enormous, living olive tree. As a final test of her husbands identity, Penelope orders a servant to move the bed to another room and to place fresh coverlets on it.

When Odysseus is grieved that something might have happened to their special bed, her last doubts melt away! The Two Ends of the Odyssey And so the bed is the symbol of their lovenot just ephemeral or fleeting, but unique, organic, and ever-green!

The joy of their reunion is so profound that, for her hero and his lady, Athena is inspired to delay the dawn. And never again did Odysseus leave his wife or his island kingdom, nor did he fare upon the wine-dark sea. The Two Ends of the Odyssey

Second Ending The poem could not end without a meeting between father (Laertes) and son; their reunion is in fact one of the three large units of which the final book consists. The poem ends here, but like The Iliad, it has already charted the future of its hero.

The story ends with Athena's divine intervention in bringing peace to Ithaca. The Two Ends of the Odyssey Second Ending Odysseus is now able to take his rightful place as the king of

Ithaca, happily reunited with his entire family. The final fate of Odysseus is only alluded to in the story, as it occurs after the action is completed.

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