The Odyssey Books 1-4: Notes Essay

1547 Words Sep 1st, 2014 7 Pages
The Odyssey Books 1-4: Notes due Friday 1/10 (3/5) and Monday 1/13 (2/4)
An Uncertain Identity
Prince Telemachus is the first human character whom the reader meets. He is the son of the long-missing Greek warrior Odysseus, King of Ithaca.
Telemachus is too young, too untested, too unsure to have a firmly established sense of identity.
Having grown up fatherless in a household full of insolent men who are besieging his mother and consuming his inheritance, he feels totally powerless.
The goddess Athena appears to him in the form of a family friend, a captain named Mentes.
Telemachus is naïve and ineffective! He is like the hero at the beginning of the epic cycle.
Making Personal Connections
How would you feel and what would you
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The Behavior of Civilized Greeks
Focus on the descriptions of the palaces of Nestor and Menelaus. Find quotations that describe their virtues:
“A corded bed inside the echoing colonnade” (Homer 3.445)
“Chambers deep within his lofty house” (Homer 3.449)
“They feasted within the grand, high-roofed palace” (Homer 4.18)
What tone (writer’s attitude toward subject matter) is used to describe these homes? How does Homer’s word choice (L2) help to illustrate Greek values (L4)? The author’s tone is excited yet maintains a calmness, like someone in modern times might talk about something expensive that they bought. At points the author speaks with reverence of the palaces. The use of words like “feasted” and “echoing” helps in demonstrating the enormity of what they do for things that may seem like every day encounters, such as having a visitor over. This idea helps to demonstrate that the Greeks valued luxury and leisure so they could reap the rewards from the work that they had done.

Focus on the manners of hosts and guests. Find quotations to describe honorable and worthy behavior at feasts, sacrifices, during the sharing of stories, etc.:
“Just think of the hospitality we enjoyed at the hands of other men before we made it home” (Homer 4.38-39)
“Quick, unhitch their team. And bring them in, strangers, guests, to share our flowering feast”