The Odyssey is characteristically classified as an epic though not all readers may find this book an epic. This book is certainly an epic since it is a heroic tale that is filled with many obstacles which the hero concurs. Also the tone that is used in the book is one of admiration which goes to increase the worthiness of the hero. This book is also full of supernatural powers that influence what is happening in the book. In this essay each of these three characteristics will be proved thus proofing that the odyssey is indeed an epic.
Book one of the Homers Odyssey foretells what is going to happen in the next twenty three books of the Homer’s Odyssey after the incantation of the Muse, the book then vividly shows the events leading to Athena’s appearance before the council of gods to seek their assistance in bringing Odysseus safe and sound back to his kingdom of Ithaca. After Troy is destroyed, the Greeks try to go back home but are unable after they were cursed by the gods. The ones who make it are met by death upon their return. However, Odysseus is left alone on the island of Ogygia and is held captive for eight years by the beautiful goddess Kalypso. Odysseus tries to go back home but his journey is blocked by Poseidon the sea god as Odysseus had blinded his son the Kyklops Polyphemos. However, all the other gods apart from Poseidon are in support of Odysseus return home.
Poseidon goes on vacation and the gods finally, in support of Athena, send out a messenger Hermes to instruct Kalypso to release Odyssyus after detaining him for seven years.
“But now that god
had gone off among the sunburnt races,
most remote of men, at earth’s two verges,
in sunset lands and lands of the rising sun,
to be regaled by smoke of thighbones burning,
haunches of rams and bulls, a hundred fold”.( D’emilio)
In the intervening time, Athena arranges to influence Telemachus to take action. She does this by Disguising herself as a loyal friend of the family, Mentes, she descends to Ithaca to convince Telemachus to hold an meeting, reprimand the suitors, and commission a boat with crew to journey all the way through Hellas seeking news of his father.
The gods feast as they discus Aegisthus, Agamemnon and Orestes. This is due to the fact that Aegisthus had made love to Agamemnon’s wife unlawfully and after that he went out and killed Agamemnon. The gods found this a great folly on Aegisthus as Hermes had been sending to warn him of his actions though he Aegisthus would not listen. His unlawful actions caught up with him when Agamemnon’s son Orestes killed him for the death of his father. This assists Agamemnons son to evolve to manhood and he then wins himself his patrimony.
“Don’t kill the man, don’t touch his wife
or face a reckoning with Orestes
the day he comes of age and wants his patrimony.”(D’emilio)
Telemachus had to obtain the support of the Ithacan elders the same way Athena held a meeting of the gods before she was able to get her plan underway. Athena said she will go to Ithaca to rouse Odysseus son to action. Telemachos complains to the congregation about the demeanor demonstrated by the suitors upon which he requests them to retreat to their dwellings. Two of the most important suitors, Antinoos and Eurymachos, are the potential candidates in this course. Antinoos whines about the way Penelope tricked them while she delayed her promise of choosing her husband. With Athene’s assistance, Telemachos heads to Pylos, or the the city of Nestor.
At Pylos, Telemachos is welcomed received by the king Nestor who narrates him stories of the leaving from Troy, the assassination of Agamemnon and the return of Menelaos. Encouraged by Telemachos’, Nestor narrates in more detail the tale of Klytaimestra and Aigisthos their scheme not in favor of Agamemnon, and Orestes’ avenging of his father’s murder. Telemachos and Peisistratos reach Menelaos’ palace and find king celebrating having a celebration. The following day, Menelaos narrates his close-up with Proteus, the Sea.
Helen remembers how happy she was when Odysseus slayed many Trojans before he left.
“The Trojan women raised a cry – but my heart
sang – for I had come round, long before,
to dreams of sailing home, and I repented
the mad day Aphrodite
drew me away from my dear fatherland,
forsaking all – child, bridal bed, and husband –
a man without defect in form or mind.” (D’emilio)
Odysseus is released by the nymmpho Kalypso and he goes to the land Phaiakians. When odessyeus disembarks at the fortress of Alkinoos he is accorded a place at the banquet and the king promises him that he will assist him to get back to his home. Odysseus narrates his return to Circes’ Island and how she alerted him of the threats they would get ahead. After he ends his story, Nestor starts to sum up the events of the Trojan warfare involving Telemachos, Odysseus son, but he gives up somewhere along the way, exclaiming:
Odysseus and his son return to, though separately, to Ithaka. Odysseus makes himself known to his son and planned revenge on the suitors. He then returns to his palace. He returns dressed as a beggar. Penelope comes up with a contest to figure out the suitor she will marry. Each of them fails to shoot the mark with Odysseus bow. Disguised Odysseus is however, able to shot the mark and he reveals himself to the suitors. All of them are killed while the servants who were disloyal are punished. Finally, Penelope and Odysseus are reunited.
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