The Odyssey is full of fabulous creatures. Choose any one of them and indicate how such an image might have come into being. What is its relevance to the story and to the world? What does Odysseus’ interaction with the creature, even if it is a demigod, say about the place of human beings in the world of the ancient Greeks? What powers does the creature have that humans do not possess? How does Odysseus overcome that limitation?
The fabulous creature from The Odyssey I would like to examine is one of the earliest, strangest direct encounters Odysseus has with supernatural obstacles he has to use his cunning and guile to overcome: that is the cyclops, Polyphemus.
Continue reading “The Odyssey’s Cyclops, Polyphemus”
Homer’s portrayal of the gods and goddesses in The Odyssey is completely different from the majority of literatures’ handling of the Greek Gods, and even differs from Homer’s previous work, The Iliad. In most of literature dealing with these Greek Gods, including The Iliad, they are seen as true deities: omniscient and omnipresent, blamed or thanked for every bad or good thing that ever happens. However, with The Odyssey, we have a divergence from this literary theme. While the gods and goddesses are still there in The Odyssey, they are not omnipresent. While they are still all-knowing, they are often seen as more aloof than accepting of blame. In fact, while the gods are acknowledged by all of the characters in The Odyssey, they are more background characters, while the focus is on the human star of the epic, Odysseus. Indeed, most of the gods’ and goddesses’ roles in The Odyssey have them interacting with Odysseus.
Continue reading “The Odyssean Gods”