Of Elizabeth Minchin's 'The Expression Of Sarcasm In TheOdyssey'

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Elizabeth Minchin’s “The Expression of Sarcasm in the ‘Odyssey’”, published in 2010, analyzes Homer’s usage of sarcasm in the “Odyssey” and explains its significance. Minchin’s critical analysis peaked my interest specifically because it studies not only the expression, but the reception of sarcasm as seen in the “Odyssey”. Minchin suggests that in lines 397-399 of Book XVII, when Telemachus tells Antinous “…Antinous, as a father of his son you take good care/ of me, when you tell our stranger guest to get out of the palace/ with a strict word”, that Telemachus’ apparent politeness is superficial. Telemachus’ sarcastic comments aimed towards Antinous can be interpreted in two ways. Not only was the comment intended to be a bitter jab at Antinous, but as Minchin mentions, Telemachus’ bitterness “…works as an affiliative strategy between Telemachus and his actual father” (Minchin 545). I agree with Minchin’s findings, at this point in the poem, Telemachus is the only one that knows that the beggar is Odysseus. Telemachus’ sarcastic tone instills a sense of familiarity between him and his father, as they have not seen each other in years, thus strengthening the bond between them. Minchin’s claim is plausible, given that the intention of lines 397-399 were to convey attitude in the form of a taunt towards Antinous as a form of humility. Telemachus not only wanted to subtly berate Antinous, but do it in a way that would also serve as a reintroduction of his father-son relationship with Odysseus. Book XX is when Ktesippos, a suitor is introduced. With Odysseus still disguised as a beggar, Ktesippos demonstrates false means of hospitality towards him. It isn’t until Ktesippos offers the beggar a “guest gift” of an ox-hoof, in which he proceeds to throw it at Odysseus’s head and misses. Odysseus reacts with a sardonic smile which infuriates Ktesippos even more than him failing to hit his head with the ox-hoof. It is at this point when Minchin states that the bitter ox-hoof incident could have prompted Odysseus to abandon his beggar disguise and kill all the suitors, however, I disagree. If Odysseus would have abandoned his disguise at this point in the poem simply because of Ktesippos’ sarcastic display of

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