• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"How do Books 1-4 of the Odyssey prepare us for the introduction of the hero Odysseus in Book 5?"

Extracts from this document...


Unit 1 Topic 4 Assignment 1 "How do Books 1-4 of the Odyssey prepare us for the introduction of the hero Odysseus in Book 5?" Books 1-4 of the Odyssey (the Telemachy) contain much information on the character and reputation of Odysseus given in the opinions of the other characters, as well as setting out the situation in Ithaka, and the problems that Odysseus will face on his return. There remains, however, the possibility that the Odyssey as we know it is actually two poems: one of the Nostoi specifically relating to Odysseus, and another centring on his son, Telemachos, the two being joined at the start of Book 5. The reader actually knows quite a lot about Odysseus before he finally appears in person in Book 5 , thanks to the reminiscences of the ohter characters. ...read more.


They include descriptions of Odysseus' kingdom and family, which help to provide the key element that would be lacking if the story began at Book 5: Odysseus' motive for returning home. Odysseus is willing to forego man y things that other people would consider as blessings (for example, life with Kalypso or Circe), in order to return to his home and family. As well as introducing the main character, the Telemachy also introduces certain themes that run throughout the book. Notable, how a household or kingdom goes down hill in the absence of a good patriarch, as Athene says "How great your need is of the absent Odysseus". Also, the rewards of fidelty/unfaithfulness, as exemplified by Penelope, Helen and Klytaimestra, and the question, central to Odysseus' predicament, of whether human misfortune is cause by the gods or whether people are "destroyed by their own wild recklessness". ...read more.


It is established early on that while people may have their problems with the gods, they will not be quite the inescapable malign influences that they were in Troy, and things will end "happily ever after" even if Homer has to remove the old ending of the story, with Odysseus exiled and killed by his own son, to get his characters there. If, as seems likely, the Telemachy was added to the Odyssey as a handy way to get the story rolling, we have to accept that it was done for a reason. The Telemachy provides a connection to this Iliad with the inclusion of several characters from the other poem, while showing that the Odyssey is going to have a different tone to the Iliad. It gives us an introduction to the situation on Ithaka and to Odysseus' family, and, perhaps most importantly, introduces us to Odysseus himself. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Aeneas can be considered an excellent hero. Discuss.

    5 star(s)

    He slaughters countless and even takes some prisoners to sacrifice to the ghost of Pallas which indicates how much Aeneas truly cared for his men even on a personal and individual level. Aeneas also physically provides for his men which reflects his care for them, he hunts and prepares a

  2. Bacchus in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 3

    The nature of this frustrated desire is obviously sexual; Ovid emphasizes this by including the noun alimenta (lit. food) in his description of Narcissus' emotional suffering. Unable to fulfill his sexual cravings, the young boy forgets about other needs, such as actual hunger.

  1. Similes in the Odyssey: Books 5-7

    The fact that a wind is doing this adds a natural edge to proceedings, which is further enhanced when one considers that a super natural entity, such as Poseidon, is the purveyor of such doom. The weakness of the "thistledown" compares well with the weakness of Odysseus' handmade raft and

  2. What qualities does Odysseus show in the episodes he relates in Books 9-12? Does ...

    If Ajax were to go on that same voyage as Odysseus then he wouldn't have succeeded, not having the same skills of deception or mental prowess. One could view Odysseus' vanquishing of Polyphemus by one of his stratagems as physical proof that 'bi�' without 'metis' can not be victorious.

  1. Compare the treatment of the Gods in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

    He is not personally involved with the events happening in the current story, as opposed to the Iliad, for example his vested interest with Sarpedon, his son and also his promise to Thetis. This allows him to maintain distance and a sense of aloofness from the proceedings and carry out

  2. Select one important episode/figure (human or divine) from The Odyssey and show what contribution ...

    Through this Athene gives him ample opportunity to carry out his revenge against the suitors, which Homer explains in detail, "To make Odysseus unrecognisable, to tell him precisely how things stood, and to prevent his being recognised by his wife and friends or the people of the town before the

  1. Assess the significance of the Gods in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

    For in their Olympian abodes (as in 1.571ff.) they pale into a desultory immortality. The Olympian scenes are the only ones in which anything frivolous takes place. It is from the human action that the gods draw their life-blood. By being so frequently associated with specific heroes, they themselves become human and even end up resembling their heroes.

  2. What impression have you formed of the Gods from books 1 and 3 of ...

    Zeus agrees to help Thetis but angers his wife, Hera in doing so. He appears not to care about her anger and even threatens to beat her. This is shocking to a modern audience abuse is never a good thing in our culture.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work