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Book Review Of The Odyssey By Homer

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Book Review: The Odyssey by Homer

Written by a blind man, Melesigenes better known as Homer, and translated by Alexander Pope, the Odyssey of Homer is a poem about the life of the king of Ithaca, Ulysses, who leaves to fight in the Trojan War, but he doesn't return until 20 years. According to Professor P. Landow, Ulysses is a great athlete and great warrior, heroic, courageous, eloquent, and masterful, and at the same time, he I pious (Landow). In those twenty years trying to get back home, he goes through many adventures including "the angry god Poseidon and the one-eyed Cyclops who try to destroy him, the seduced Sirens with their sweet song who tempt him away from his quest, and the intoxication with Circe captures him through her exotic magic."(Ostrow: B21) During his absent, Penelope, his loving wife, is faithful to Ulysses, but the suitors of Ithaca try to force her to marry one of them. Ulysses's son Telemachus wants to protect his mother by throwing the suitors out, but he's too young. Pallas , daughter of Zeus, tries to help Telemachus by disguising herself as Mentor, a old friend of Ulysses, and tells Telemachus to have a meeting to get the suitors to leave, but it fails. Pallas then tells Telemachus to set sail to see Nestor, King of Pylos, and Menelaus, King of Sparto. At Pylos, Nestor didn't have much to say about Ulysses. He just said that he last saw Ulysses after the war. He advises them to sail to Sparta for more information with Nestors's son Pisistratus to talk to Menelaus, King of Sparta and Ulysses's friend. They arrived at Sparta, and Menelaus tells Telemachus that Ulysses was alive and was being held by Calypso, a sea-nymph who holds Ulysses on her island for seven years. While Telemachus is gone, the suitors are having a little fun too. They plan to destroy his ship when he returns to Ithaca.The gods hold a meeting at Mount Olympus without Neptune, god of the sea. Pallas asks Zeus to send Hermes, messenger of the gods, to let Odysseus free of Calypso. Calypso obeys Zeus by letting him go. Ulysses builds a vessel and sets sail, but he runs into his first trouble, Neptune, who wrecks his ship and nearly kills Ulysses. Lencothea, a sea goddess, rescues him. He arrives at Phaeacia, where he meets Nausicaa, daughter of Alcinous, King of Phaeacia, while she is washing clothes. Pallas, disguised as a young virgin, meets him and shows him to the palace of King Alcinous and Queen Arete. Ulysses tells them about all of his adventures, which is what most of the book is about.

After winning the war in Troy, Ulysses and his men sail to the land of the Cicons, where they destroy the Cicons, and vice versus. They sail through a terrible storm, and they reach the land of the Lotus, which is "divine nectareous juice" from plants, and when three of Ulysses's men drank it, they lose their memory (Homer: 152). Next, they land on the land of the Cyclops, one eyed giants who raise sheep. They reach a large cave, Polyphemus's home, and when he sees the men, he eats two of them and covers the doorway with an enormous rock that only he could move. The next morning, he eats two more men, and while her sleeps, the men stabs the one eyed monster in his eye during with a stick on fire. He awakens and asks the men who hurt him. Odysseus replies that it was nobody that stabbed him. The Cyclop then tells them that his father is Neptune, god of the sea, and he removes the rock. As the men leave, Ulysses yells out that his name is Odysseus not nobody. This incident with Polyphemus causes drama between Ulysses and Neptune. They leave there, and arrive at the island of AEolus, god of the winds. He gives Odysseus and his men a bag of winds that contained all the winds that would stop them from getting home, but the nosy men opens the bag when they were almost home, which sent them right back to Aeolus. He refused to help them any farther. After six days and nights they arrived at the land of the Laestrygonians, who sinks all the ships except Ulysses's ship. Next they sail to the island of Circe, who feeds some of the men, not including Ulysses, plenty of poisonous foods such as milk, bread, honey, and wine in golden bowl. The men that eat the food turned into pigs. In order for Ulysses to survive and get his men back, Mercury, also known as Hermes, gives him a herb, Moly that has a black root but white flower, that will stop him for turning into a pig when he eats Circe's food. When Odysseus eats the food and he doesn't turn into a pig, Circe is so amazed that she converts his men back into humans. They leave the island after a year without the youngest of the men, Elpenor, who "from the roof fell, and snapp'd the spinal joint, and waked in hell." (Homer: 181) Circe tells them that they will not have a successful journey if he doesn't stop at the Land of the Dead to talk to the prophet, Tiresias. She tells him that when he gets there to dig a hole and pour milk, wine, honey, spring water, and flour into it, and that will attract the dead. While at Hades, first he converses with Tiresias , Elpenor, who tells him that when he gets home to have a funeral for him; and his mother, Anticlea, who tells him about his family's future. He also makes encounters with Agamemnon, Achilles, Ajax, Tityus, Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Hercules, some of whom were dead kings. After he leaves the Land of the Dead, he returns to Circe and gives a funeral for his dear friend, Elpenor. Circe gives him the supplies and cautions needed to get home. Those warning included the Sirens, who sang deathful song; the Rocks, which destroys only one ship; Scylla , a six headed monster; and Charybdis, a whirlpool. Next he reaches the Thrinacia, the island of Helios, sungod where there are seven herds and seven flocks and in each flock and herd, there are fifty animals. If Ulysses and his destroy the animals, they survive, but if the animals die, the men die. All the men die, except Ulysses. Ulysses then arrives at Calypso where his journey continues.

He ends his story and leaves King Alcinous and Queen Arete, and he arrives in Ithaca with their help. Pallas tells Ulysses how to destroy the suitors and disguises him as an old beggar. He arrives at the home of Eumaeus, Ulysses faithful servant. Meanwhile as Ulysses and Eumaeus converse, Telemachus returns to Ithaca safely with the Pallas's help, and she also tells Telemachus to go directly to Eumaeus's house upon his arrival. Telemachus sends Eumaeus to tell Penelope that he is home. Ulysses reveals his true self to his son, and they plan to kill the suitors. Antinous and the other suitors plan to kill the prince, but Amphinomus convinces them hold off the murder. Pallas turns Ulysses back into the old beggar and only Telemachus knows who he really is. Telemachus tells his mother about his journey.

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