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The narrative epic, 'The Odyssey' composed by Homer between 750 and 650 BC recounts the nostos or homeward voyage of Odysseus

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Introduction

Written Commentary The Odyssey By: Homer Pritam Narula October 14, 2005 IBHL English A1 Ms. Andrews, P5 Narrative Section: Telemachy BOOK I: A GODDESS INTERVENES If I were you, I should take steps to make these men disperse. Listen, now, and attend to what I say: 320 at daybreak call the islanders to assembly, and speak your will, and call the gods to witness: the suitors must go scattering to their homes. Then here's a course for you, if you agree: get a sound craft afloat with twenty oars and go abroad for news of your lost father- perhaps a traveller's tale, or rumored fame issued from Zeus abroad in the world of men. Talk to that noble sage at Pylos, Nestor, then go to Menel´┐Żlos, the red-haired king 330 at Sparta, last man home of all the Akhaians. If you should learn your father is alive and coming home, you could hold out a year. Or if you learn that he is dead and gone, then you can come back to your own dear country and raise a mound for him, and burn his gear, with all the funeral honors due the man, and give your mother to another husband. When you have done all this, or seen it done, it will be time to ponder 340 concerning these contenders in your house- how you should kill them, outright or by guile. ...read more.

Middle

(Lines 329-331) Athena, disguised as Mentor is ensuring Telemachus a warm salutation upon visiting King Nestor and Menelaos of Pylos and Sparta, respectively. It is almost as if this social belief of hospitality, a key theme in the epic, is enforced by Greek social norms as a culturally imperative feature. Athena's guidance of promising this hospitality upon visiting an unfamiliar land elevates Telemachus's confidence to venture out from Ithaca, expanding his ability to follow in his father's footsteps and grow into a man. Homer's use of language expressed through Athena's discourse with Telemachus provides a sense of anticipation for readers. "If you should learn your father is alive / and coming home, you could hold out a year." (Lines 332-333) Athena encouraging Telemachus to seek news regarding his father away from home is ironical in a sense because the one force that binds the sub-plots (though in a figurative sense it is the paths of these men not the plot) of Telemachus and Odysseus is Ithaca. However Telemachus must venture away from Ithaca, the core power which attracts both sub-plots (Odysseus's homeward voyage to Ithaca and the conflict that occurs on Ithaca) in order to become closer with his father. Athena herself is emotionally involved with this predicament of the two sub-plots as it is noticeable because her tone shifts in conjunction with the mood created by her initiative. ...read more.

Conclusion

Homer again reminds us about the importance of hospitality as a cultural norm yet now he expresses the theme through Telemachus as readers can notice the slight transformation of Telemachus's character. "but come / take a hot bath, and rest; accept a gift / to make your heart lift up when you embark- / some precious thing, and beautiful, from me, / a keepsake, such as dear friends give their friends." (Lines 358-362) Telemachus has already commenced his metaphorical journey into manhood through Athena's impetus because he is starting to grow out of his immaturity by offering Athena (disguised as Mentor) hospitality and warmth. This generous act of offering and providing hospitality is usually a symbol of the person's maturity; yet as it is clear from Telemachus's quote he is beginning to develop into a man with the caliber of a King, just like his father. This extract from 'The Odyssey' is an essential point for Homer to build Telemachus's character as he is encouraged to embark on a symbolic journey in becoming a man. To stress the importance of this extract Homer places vital themes, motifs and literary devices in order to maintain the passage's value. By taking revenge upon those who have caused mayhem, the sub-plot of Telemachus's predicament has Athena's watchful eyes; the opportunity for Telemachus to stand up and become man in his own household that demeans him is now. ...read more.

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