Homer's Odyssey - role of the Gods and questions on Book 18 Lines 152-168

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Question 2

Book 18  Lines 152-168

Briefly describe what happened to Odysseus just prior to this passage 10


Odysseus disguised as a slave has met Eumaeus after his return to Ithaca. Odysseus then meets his son Telemachus to whom he reveals himself.  Odysseus then makes his way to town in his disguise, he then continues to his palace. Odysseus is continually mocked and insulted by the suitors upon his arrival. A pig farmer who is friendly with the suitors also insults and threatens Odysseus, the pig farmer and Odysseus is goaded into a fight by the suitors. Odysseus beats the pig farmer with ease and leaves him outside the palace gate. Odysseus is congratulated by the “good” suitor Amphinomus and offered food and wine as his spoils. Odysseus offers Amphinomus council and warms him of an impending doom, Amphinomus is troubled by this however his fate is already sealed

How effectively does Homer convey tension in this passage  20


Homer uses a series of techniques to build suspense and drama in his scenes.  Homer uses emotive words, literary techniques, divine intervention  and  a slow build up in his passages  this combination of methods creates drama and suspense.

First of all, consider the individual words and the sentences Homer uses, he says that “Amphinomus went back through the halls with a heavy heart, shaking his head; for he was filled with a sense of foreboding and disaster” this passage creates a great deal of tension, it gives a clear image in the reader mind of just how Amphinomus is feeling whilst also creating a brooding sense of some significant series of events that are read to occur .The word “foreboding” is particularly effective in enhancing a feeling of impending darkness. Homer's use of individual word also adds tension and mystery to the passage, he places words such as “detest” and “evil” into a normally restrained and considered Penelope, by placing such emotive word into Penelope's language the  tension is increased as the reader is not used to  Penelope using such visceral language . Penelope's change of language may  signify a change of actions, further more Penelope also says “my heart moves my like never before” this adds to the  possibility of recklessness  to Penelope that was not previously expected.  

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Homer's use of dramatic irony is used to good effect, Homer tells us of Amphinomus fate informing us of Athene's plans for his death  “for Athene had already marked him out to fall to a spear from Telemachus's hand “ yet the reader is unsure of how it will come to happen, this ensures that the reader knows what is going to happen yet not being sure of when or how.

Divine intervention is used on the passage with Athene playing a fairly important role. The use of a divinity offers both additional tension and uncertainty. As eluded to above ...

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