Download free eBooks of classic literature, books and novels at Planet eBook. Subscribe to our free eBooks blog and email newsletter. The Odyssey. By Homer . D. EDITED BY t T. E. PAGE, C.H., LITT.D. E. CAPPS, ph.d., ll.d. W. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. L. A. POST. m.a.. E. H. WAPvMINGTON, ma. HOMER. THE ODYSSEY. I. Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page
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The Odyssey-Homer (Full text).pdf - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online for free. The Odyssey / Homer; translated by Robert Fagles ; introduction and notes by Bernard. Knox. p. mm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN . HOMER THE ODYSSEY TRANSLATED BY Robert Fagles Book I Athena Inspires the Prince Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven.
All of these suitors are a great experience for the palace since they indulge in great amounts of alcohol and food. Penelope and Odysseus have a son, Telemachus, who wonders what the right step would be to take with the suitors. This was the setting of the story which fully develops in 24 books. It is interesting that the book does not start with its protagonist, Odysseus. In fact, we are unaware of his presence until the fifth book.
At the assembly, two of the suitors confront the prince, saying that the queen has taken a long time to choose a husband. The suitors come from some of the strongest families and do not have the patience to wait for Penelope that long. Telemachus, not knowing what to do, secretly goes for Pylos and Sparta, to try to get some news of his father. In the meantime, the suitors decide to assassinate him and plot their murderous plan.
Homer knew how to tell exciting stories, so he ended the part about the young prince at the exact moment when his destiny is uncertain, and he is ambushed by the suitors on his return back home.
He then starts the story of Odysseus who is alive but held a prisoner by the goddess Calypso who is a nymph that wants Odysseus to marry her. He has spent the last few years in her company — sleeping with her during the nights , and longing for his family during the day. He then sets off to find his way back home.
The first descriptive epithet that limits this generic, nameless man is polytropon—a word on which Fitzgerald lavishes a line and a half of verse. So the first characteristic that defines our hero is precisely his adaptability, his fluidity. The proem of the Odyssey is structured like an ainigma, a riddle. And now Odysseus, wandering the margins of the civilized world, will need new abilities to stay alive and find his way home: he will lie, hide, disguise himself, and endure long stretches of anonymity—like the proem itself.
The narration of our story begins with a meeting of the gods on Olympus. Zeus begins with a meditation on the story of Aegisthus and Orestes. Aegisthus had seduced Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, while the warrior fought in Troy. On the day of his return, his duplicitous wife conspired with Aegisthus to kill him.
Zeus reflects: My word, how mortals take the gods to task! All their afflictions come from us, we hear. And what of their own failings? Greed and folly Double the suffering in the lot of man. Telemachus has watched for years the suitors devour his patrimony and disgrace his home; will he remain passive, or take up arms, like Orestes? It is not the gods who are to blame; humans have both agency and responsibility, and it is their own recklessness atasthalia which causes them to suffer beyond fate hyper moron.
Atasthalia implies a voluntary violation of the laws of the god or of men as opposed to hamartia, which is ignorant or involuntary. Athena responds that Aegisthus was indeed justly avenged, and then reminds him of the suffering and detainment of Odysseus. Athena comes to Ithaca disguised as Mentes, an old guestfriend of Odysseus. Telemachus is prompt in welcoming her, giving her a share of the feast. This invites the rueful reflection: Were his death known, I could not feel such pain— If he had died of wounds in the Trojan country Or in the arms of friends, after the war.
They would have made a tomb for him, the Akhaians, And I should have all honor as his son. Instead the whirlwinds got him, and no glory. The death of a Homeric hero is not mute; it punctuates and closes the life. To die in battle, with a visible tomb to mark that death, assures a well-shaped life and the survival of memory. Instead, thinks Telemachus, Odysseus will not escape the oblivion of an ocean perishing. Athena tells Telemachus that she has heard that Odysseus is still alive, though detained on an island.
She promises he will return soon. Telemachus, hardened by years of unanswered hope, is incredulous. She reminds Telemachus of Orestes, the shining example of a son coming of age by avenging his father, to incite him to bravery. She then suggests to Telemachus a 27 course of action: Call a public assembly to challenge the outrages of suitors, and set off by ship in search of news of his father. Penelope appears, draped in a full line of epithets, the proper regalia for this epiphany.
The descriptive adjective is periphron—wise, prudent, circumspect. With tears in her eyes, she requests that Phemius stop that harrowing song.
She calls poetry a thelkterion —a mode of enchantment. The same word is used for the magic of Circe, Calypso, and the Sirens. Song seduces, allures, beguiles, exercises illicit powers, and here causes Penelope to grieve her absent husband. Telemachus rebukes her: why begrudge the minstrel?
Telemachus, newly emboldened by the divine visitation, announces to the suitors that their days of irresponsible and profligate feasting are over. The suitors are stung, though remain condescending. The two ringleaders, Antinous and Eurymachus, both reply, skirting the question of their unanswerable conduct.
Telemachus retires, invigorated by new hope, and ponders the path Athena has shown him.
Book II The form or structure of a literary work can itself be a vehicle of meaning. But Homer chose to abandon his hero for several books in the beginning, to give earlier episodes nested in songs of other bards, and to let Odysseus himself narrate his fabulous adventures. Homer 28 plunges us in medias res, so the story begins in the tenth year of the span it describes symmetrically to the Iliad. Why is the Odyssey arranged in this manner? The Telemachy achieves several important things placed before Odysseus himself is introduced.
It establishes the situation at home—that his wife has been faithful, his home is being rapined by men who take him for dead, and his son is maturing so that he may assist him. This is the situation to which Odysseus returns, and would have had to be introduced obliquely and hastily if not narrated in the Telemachy. Several tales are told of Odysseus in the first four books, as we will see, relating to his role in ending the Trojan War, and other heroes give reminiscences of his character.
All of these magnify his stature and our expectations before we finally meet him, weeping on a beech, detained by a goddess.
The overarching structure of the Odyssey—beginning in medias res on Ithaca, following Odysseus on his final return, and ending again on Ithaca—also has an important emotional effect, noticed by H. Odysseus is impelled by his nostalgia a desire to return home, make a nostos , not by curiosity. The nostos is the negation of the adventurous romantic; it is the triumph of the already known.
Telemachus rises and calls the herald to summon an assembly. When the Ithacans have gathered themselves, Lord Aigyptos, old and sage, leads off with an inquiry into the audacious summoner. No assembly had convened since Odysseus set off for Troy, nineteen years prior. Telemachus announces that he convened them, and hotly complains of the shameful plundering of his house, perpetrated by men present at the assembly.
He is militant and threatening. He begs by Zeus and by Justice that vengeance visit them, and in anger he throws his staff on the ground. Both are impetuous and public moments of anger, in the agora meeting-place or assembly.
A silence follows this impassioned and just diatribe. Finally Antinous responds, slyly transferring the responsibility to Penelope. If she would not tarry and delay, the suitors would stop consuming his home. She wove by day, but unraveled by torchlight at night. It took three years for the suitors to uncover this ruse.
Dismiss your mother, demands Antinous, or make her marry. Telemachus says he could never banish his mother against her will; he will not comply. At this, Zeus sends a frightful omen. Halitherses, a man skilled in reading birdflight, interprets the omen: he foretells that Odysseus is near, and he will arrive unrecognized, plotting destruction for those plundering his house. Telemachus petitions the assembly for a ship.
Mentor rises to speak; to him Odysseus had given control of his house during his absence. Odysseus was like a gentle father, he reminds the gathered men, how can you perpetrate this revolting insolence? And how can the rest of the citizens passively sit by, in tame content? Leocritus rises and dismisses Mentor, confident that should Odysseus return, he could never single-handedly best the suitors, who greatly outnumber him. But, he says, let Halitherses and Mentor prepare a ship.
The assembly dissolves, and Telemachus ambles down by the ocean, washing his hands in the water. He prays to the god of yesterday, in despair.
Athena answers, and appears in the guise of Mentor. You get provisions ready, she suggests, while she chooses an able ship. Heeding her, Telemachus returns home to the mocking jeers of the suitors. He escapes to the storeroom to begin provisioning. His trusty nurse Eurycleia aids him, and he demands that his mother not be informed of his plan.
Athena weighs down the eyes of the wine-saturated suitors, so that they wander home to bed, and wakes Telemachus to send him on his way. Book II offers a glimpse into a nascent political institution that will be the hallmark of Greek democracy. For a Greek political thinker like Plato or Aristotle, a sovereign assembly, to which all citizens are entitled to attend, is the foundation of the democratic polis.
Discussing history in Homer is made difficult by the various strata of Greek history that are combined in his poems. The Iliad and Odyssey are a kind of haphazard amalgam of customs and practices of several hundred years of Greek society. But the assembly scene, though surely not democratic, shows in embryonic form commitment to oratory and persuasion that would characterize later Greek political institutions.
There is certainly, in these images, a freshness, a majestic simplicity, which is surpassing. Homer speaks to that nucleus of childhood within, which no amount of commerce with the world can smother.
Telemachus and his men arrive at Pylos, against this auroral backdrop. They sacrifice many bulls to the earthshaker, Poseidon. Athena approaches Telemachus, who has held back in disembarking, and encourages him: No shyness now, ask for tidings of your father. They come upon Nestor, enthroned in his palace among family and retainers. Nestor was the oldest and wisest of the Greeks who set out for Troy. To his seasoned judgment the Greeks directed their most vital decisions.
Nestor asks Telemachus and Athena to join in their libations to Poseidon.
They all feast their fill before Nestor asks their stories: Who are you, xenoi? Are you here on some business? Or are you marauding pirates, wandering over the sea?
Kleos is the attainment of the Homeric hero that expands him or her 3 beyond the limits of life; it is for kleos aphthiton—imperishable fame—that Achilles chooses a short lifetime over a safe return. One critic has argued that simply exposure to Pylos and Sparta, 32 and to the old heroes of the Trojan War, will give Telemachus kleos.
Not knowing how or where his father died, Telemachus feels the bitterness of ignorance: As to the other men who fought that war, We know where each one died, and how he died, But Zeus allotted my father death and mystery. Achilles died on the battlefield, and his crematory fires radiated an appropriate consummation of a heroic life. In the first book of Herodotus, Solon reminds Croesus that one cannot judge a life until its end in death. A death of anonymity threatens to swallow Odysseus in eternal meaninglessness, like an unfinished sentence.
Nestor reminisces on the miseries the Achaeans endured in Troy. After Troy had fallen, Menelaus and Agamemnon, two brothers, quarreled over when to leave for home, the latter urging that they delay so as to sacrifice to Athena.
The Achaeans thus were divided in their various nostoi. Odysseus had left with Nestor, we learn, though he decided to put back, in order to please king Agamemnon. Nestor briefly charts the nostoi of a catalogue of heroes, ending with the sad fate of Agamemnon, and the just revenge of his son.
Telemachus asks for more information on the slaying of Agamemnon, and more precisely, why did his brother, 33 Menelaus, not protect him? Nestor explains that he had begun his homeward voyage with Menelaus, who split off when grounded to bury a crewman who had died suddenly.
Menelaus was blown by a tempest down to Egypt, where he tarried, accumulating money in sea traffic. He was in Egypt for the perfidy of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra.
Nestor urges Telemachus to visit Menelaus in Lacedaemon, as he may have more information on his father. Athena urges all to turn their thoughts to bed. More sacrifices are made to Poseidon, and Nestor insists that his xenoi stay in beds in his palace. Athena declines, and her sudden disappearance convinces all onlookers that she is immortal. Telemachus agrees to spend the night. Another rosy-fingered dawn appears, and then an elaborate description of a sacrifice. They reach Lacedaemon on the second day, after sundown.
In happiness they feast, while a minstrel harps and sings, and acrobats tumble and flip around. The two strangers at the door are met by Eteoneus, a squire of Menelaus.
Should we receive them? Menelaus gently reprimands him: You are talking like a foolish child, he says. As Menelaus warmly welcomes Telemachus, an exemplar of xenia, two perversions of xenia motivate the action of the epic: the suitors, guests in the palace of Odysseus, uninvited, plunder and abuse the opportunities of the house. Meanwhile Odysseus himself is marooned on an island, the xenos of a goddess who craves him for her own. She has detained him against his will. Maidservants bathe and clothe them, and they sit beside Menelaus.
Their plates are heaped high with food, and their cups brimmed with wine. Menelaus overhears; he wisely reminds the young Telemachus that no mortal can vie with the gods.
How, Menelaus continues, can he enjoy these earthly possessions when his brother was so foully murdered? He would give them up to see his friends safe home from Troy. There is one companion he misses more than the others: Odysseus, man of woe. He is pained by this absence, and by his own consequent ignorance. He does not even know if he is alive. At this, Telemachus cannot beat down the pangs for his unknown father, and his weeping behind his cloak betrays him to Menelaus.
Helen enters, with her train, and immediately comments on the likeness of Telemachus and Odysseus. Battered by bereavements, 35 distanced from a will to live, food is the instrument that reengages us to life.
The opiate was supplied her in Egypt. The later books of the Odyssey will explore the necessary cognitive kinship that underlies love, and call in homophrosyne— like-mindedness. This quality finds its apotheosis in Odysseus and Penelope. Helen and Menelaus reminisce, exchanging stories about Odysseus. She alone recognized him—though in his cunning he avoided her. Finally, unmasked, he slaughtered many Trojans on his departure.
Eros is a form of ate: madness and blindness. Menelaus tells all that no man could rival Odysseus for steadiness of heart. While all the Greek heroes were hidden, packed inside the Trojan horse, Helen walked round it, calling out to all the fighters in the voice of their wives.
Odysseus fought all down, despite their longing to reply, and clamped his hand over the weak mouth of Anticlus before he could betray them. Telemachus is saddened that these valors could not protect his father from death. The heroes awake as another rosy-fingered dawn brightens the earth. Telemachus tells of the situation in his home—his mother besieged by arrogant men consuming his patrimony—and asks for news of his father.
Menelaus narrates his own story: Being too scant in sacrifices to the gods, he was detained in Egypt. Becalmed and 36 starving, he asks advice of Eidothea, who is the daughter of Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea. She explains how to subdue and question her father, who knows all things.
From Proteus Menalaus hears of the nostoi of other heroes. Hubris against the gods incurred disaster. Proteus then tells of Odysseus, marooned at sea, detained by the goddess Calypso. Last of all Menelaus learns his own destiny.
He has married a daughter of Zeus, so he gains admittance to the Isle of the Blest. Snowfall is never known there, neither long Frost of winter, nor torrential rain, But only mild and lulling airs from Ocean Bearing refreshment for the souls of men … Fitz. Menelaus has told Telemachus that a life among his Olympian possessions, a life of sensuality, cannot give him happiness—he is already living, miserably, in a human Elysium. The story each spouse tells of Troy, moreover, is in conflict with the other.
She recognized him; she rejoiced; she repented what she had done. And we can hardly believe her plea of repentance: she would still have another dalliance with Deiphobus, and would aid the Trojans in the very story that Menelaus tells.
We can only imagine the rage and frustration of Menelaus, pent up in the Trojan horse, 37 as his wife tries to seduce out all of the heroes. The narrative shifts back to Ithaca, to the suitors blithely competing, gaming away the time. In the Iliad, games are a temporary diversion from meaningful heroic action. Noemon, who had lent Telemachus his ship, unwittingly reveals to the suitors that Telemachus has gone voyaging.
They convene, baffled and hostile. Antinous conspires to trap and kill him at sea. Medon, who had heard the suitors conspiring, runs up to tell Penelope. Her knees go slack with grief. She cries; she is unable to speak. Must he, too, be forgotten? Once again the pain of death is a matter of amnesia. Motivated by greed and lust, Aegisthus betrayed this trust and seduced Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra.
The two illicit lovers murdered the great warrior upon his return from the Trojan War. Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother, was absent and thus unable to avenge his death. Later, Agamemnon's children, Orestes his son and Electra his daughter , gained vengeance by killing Aegisthus and the queen.
Homer's audience would recognize the widely known story, which later appeared in the works of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, and the twentieth- century American dramatist Eugene O'Neill, among others. While Penelope's character contrasts with Clytemnestra's in virtue and loyalty, suitors such as Antinous and Eurymachus echo the sinister Aegisthus. Just as Nestor's tale of Agamemnon's fate underscores the importance of human loyalty, the visit itself illustrates the importance of devotion to the gods.
Nestor expresses this devotion through sacrificial feasts. The first thing that Telemachus notices upon arrival at Pylos is the huge celebration in honor of Poseidon.
Before the prince leaves with Pisistratus for Sparta, Nestor holds another sacrificial feast in honor of Athena, whom, he realizes, has honored him with a visit.
To the Greeks, such displays of devotion were important because the Greeks thought of the gods as being functioning parts of their daily lives in matters both great and small. Pleasing the gods was a practical, as well as a spiritual, endeavor. Glossary King Priam king of Troy, killed when the city fell to the Greeks. Myrmidons legendary Greek warriors of ancient Thessaly who followed their king, Achilles, into the Trojan War.
Mycenae Agamemnon's capital city, in the northeastern Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. Cauconians people living to the southwest of Pylos. Summary and Analysis Book 23 - The Great Rooted Bed Summary Now that the battle has ended and the house has been cleaned, good nurse Eurycleia scurries up to Penelope's quarters to tell her all that has happened.
As much as Penelope would like to believe that her husband has returned and vanquished the suitors, she is cautious and goes to the great hall to see for herself. When she expresses ambivalence, Telemachus chides his mother for her skepticism. Odysseus gently suggests that the prince leave his parents to work things out.