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

How important is the episode in Phaeacia compared to the rest of the poem? "The Odyssey," written by Homer

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How important is the episode in Phaeacia compared to the rest of the poem? "The Odyssey," written by Homer, is the story of Odysseus and how he faced misfortune in his attempts to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Homer describes Odysseus' journey and shows that his return back home is greatly influenced by several Gods and Goddesses. Three such influential Gods are Calypso, Athene and Poseidon. This intervention of the Gods is a recurring pattern and stylistic technique that Homer utilises in his Greek epic, "The Odyssey." Book five opens with the Gods sat down in assembly and with the goddess Athene feeling sorry for noble Odysseus due to him being imprisoned in Nymph Calypso's home on the island of Ogygia. She said before them that the she wishes for him to return home and to return quickly, this she asks the Gods to help her with. Hermes the Messenger is sent by Zeus to deliver the news to Calypso that it is time now for Odysseus to return home. However, his return would not be simple. Odysseus should be given no help, he should build a raft with his own hands and set out to sail with the help of no man or God. When he reaches a certain city that is owned by the Gods they shall make him a boat and give him riches. Already, from the opening of book five, Odysseus' challenge is set and the reader learns where he has been for the past seven years, on an isolated island with the beautiful Calypso. ...read more.

Middle

When Odysseus wakes, she is down by the river with her friends washing laundry and playing games. He wakes up naked and so showing modesty and good manners, being the gentleman he covers himself up with a "leafy bough" so as to not meet the islands people naked. He travels towards the girls, who all run away apart from Nausicaa who stands firm, eager to listen to the stranger's words. Odysseus is a cunning man, and is always quick with flattery as he speaks to Nausicaa, which takes the emphasis away from his shabby appearance. Fearing that she may become scared if he were to grab her knees in an act of supplication, he decides to speak to her from a distance. This shows how Odysseus always thinks of every situation before he decides what to do; ensuring that the decision he has made is correct and plausible. With his speech to Nausicaa, he makes her feel sorry for him, partly because he tells her off his suffering, and partly because he seems to appear so pleasant to her. Odysseus knows that in this situation he cannot use his handsome good looks to get around her but must instead use the power of his speech to persuade her for help. This is does by using flattery and by charming her, which Nausicaa seems to respect. She is stood alone, without her two maidservants and without her veil, two things that normally protect her person and reputation, perhaps showing that how Odysseus is speaking to her she feels comfortable with. ...read more.

Conclusion

Though its discussion of the planned trysts between the two lovers and the cleverly wrought trap used by Aphrodite's cheated husband, Hephaestus, to catch the adulterers in the act ends the song on a light note, the song clearly has relevance for the morose and dejected Odysseus. It invites us to recall his helpless transgression with Calypso and points to the future, when, like Hephaestus, Odysseus will take vengeance upon those who have tried to steal his bed. The contrast between the Phaeacian youths' na�ve glory-seeking and Odysseus's somberness despite having achieved considerable glory highlights how Odysseus's painful experiences have matured him. Inexperienced in life's hardships, the youths act rashly, as when Broadsea insults Odysseus, to attempt to demonstrate their manhood. The exhortation of the youth Laodamas to Odysseus, "What greater glory attends a man . . . / than what he wins with his racing feet and striving hands? / . . . throw your cares to the wind!" illustrates the youths' simplistic preoccupation with physical prowess ("racing feet," "striving hands") (8.170-172). Odysseus, on the other hand, though clearly capable of besting the youths in athletic competition, exudes poise in the face of the youths' carefree brazenness, exerting himself only to defend his honor after Broadsea's insult. His retort that "[p]ains weigh on my spirit now, not your sports," displays his prioritization of the more grave concerns of family and loss over the trivial concern of glory for its own sake (8.178). Likewise, Nausicaa's immature attraction to Odysseus proves insignificant to him and cannot trump his desperate longing to return home. ...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. Book 9 & 10 - The Odyssey.

    men could barely lift and throw them, killing many men and wrecking ships. Odysseus ordered his men to board the ships and escape, fearing for their lives they obeyed. They managed to get away, Odysseus' ship was the only one to survive.

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

    is unable to stop the crew from landing and the crew finally break their oaths to him and eat the cattle of the Sun-god ("my men planned this awful crime"). It seems strange that Odysseus is a hero who can not even control his own crew.

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

    The Odyssey is much more concerned with the development of the character. In the Odyssey it is Athene who has the most divine influence over the events that occur in the epic. She is primarily a spiritual guide. She acts as the guide to Odysseus on his journey ensuring he is able to overcome any obstacles that come before him.

  2. Whom do you admire more as a leader – Odysseus in the Odyssey or ...

    The only time that the ship goes on course for Odysseus is when they are going over the River of Ocean and when Circe directs them where to go.

  1. Compare the portrayal of Dido in the Aeneid to that of Calypso, Circe and ...

    the other characters, the fact that Dido has such a troubled past means we sympathize with her from a very early stage, which makes her ultimate down fall even more tragic i.e. this is a character we know rather then an other faceless characters that is sacrificed for the quest

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

    But the divine cast-list is considerably less extensive, with a number of the great gods of the ">Iliad<-" barely appearing, such as Hera, Apollo, Artemis, and Hephaestos, and no more lively scenes of divine dissension. Poseidon does not want Odysseus to return home, and so the subject is simply not

  1. &amp;quot;Virgil invites us to see in Aeneas a new Odysseus often in similar situations ...

    Odysseus' gives up any hope of reaching home whilst stranded on Calypsos' island and spends his days crying because he believes that he will never see his home again. Both Aeneas and Odysseus have gods pitted against them. Aeneas has Juno against him "By the powers of Juno suffering much in war until he could found a city."

  2. The Odyssey by Homer

    'Iliad', there are some that offer crisp images that have a powerful effect on the surrounding narrative. Critics have noted the effects of many of the epic similes: the pebbles clinging on to the octopus' tentacles give us a vivid, negative impression of the skin being torn from Odysseus' fingers;

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