Download free eBooks of classic literature, books and novels at Planet eBook. Subscribe to our free eBooks blog and email newsletter. The Odyssey. By Homer . Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Homer. " meant the whole mass of epic poetry. —for this there is definite evidence— and that our Iliad and Odyssey, both as regards text and content, were in a.
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Full text of "terney.info (PDFy mirror)". See other formats. HOMER THE ODYSSEY TRANSLATED BY Robert Fagles Book I Athena Inspires . The Odyssey / Homer; translated by Robert Fagles ; introduction and notes by Bernard. Knox. p. mm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN . The Odyssey-Homer (Full text).pdf - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online for free.
Halitherses, a man skilled in reading birdflight, interprets the omen: he foretells that Odysseus is near, and he will arrive unrecognized, plotting destruction for those plundering his house. Telemachus petitions the assembly for a ship. Mentor rises to speak; to him Odysseus had given control of his house during his absence. Odysseus was like a gentle father, he reminds the gathered men, how can you perpetrate this revolting insolence?
And how can the rest of the citizens passively sit by, in tame content? Leocritus rises and dismisses Mentor, confident that should Odysseus return, he could never single-handedly best the suitors, who greatly outnumber him.
But, he says, let Halitherses and Mentor prepare a ship. The assembly dissolves, and Telemachus ambles down by the ocean, washing his hands in the water. He prays to the god of yesterday, in despair. Athena answers, and appears in the guise of Mentor.
You get provisions ready, she suggests, while she chooses an able ship. Heeding her, Telemachus returns home to the mocking jeers of the suitors. He escapes to the storeroom to begin provisioning.
His trusty nurse Eurycleia aids him, and he demands that his mother not be informed of his plan. Athena weighs down the eyes of the wine-saturated suitors, so that they wander home to bed, and wakes Telemachus to send him on his way. Book II offers a glimpse into a nascent political institution that will be the hallmark of Greek democracy. For a Greek political thinker like Plato or Aristotle, a sovereign assembly, to which all citizens are entitled to attend, is the foundation of the democratic polis.
Discussing history in Homer is made difficult by the various strata of Greek history that are combined in his poems. The Iliad and Odyssey are a kind of haphazard amalgam of customs and practices of several hundred years of Greek society. But the assembly scene, though surely not democratic, shows in embryonic form commitment to oratory and persuasion that would characterize later Greek political institutions.
There is certainly, in these images, a freshness, a majestic simplicity, which is surpassing. Homer speaks to that nucleus of childhood within, which no amount of commerce with the world can smother. Telemachus and his men arrive at Pylos, against this auroral backdrop. They sacrifice many bulls to the earthshaker, Poseidon. Athena approaches Telemachus, who has held back in disembarking, and encourages him: No shyness now, ask for tidings of your father.
They come upon Nestor, enthroned in his palace among family and retainers. Nestor was the oldest and wisest of the Greeks who set out for Troy. To his seasoned judgment the Greeks directed their most vital decisions. Nestor asks Telemachus and Athena to join in their libations to Poseidon. They all feast their fill before Nestor asks their stories: Who are you, xenoi?
Are you here on some business? Or are you marauding pirates, wandering over the sea? Kleos is the attainment of the Homeric hero that expands him or her 3 beyond the limits of life; it is for kleos aphthiton—imperishable fame—that Achilles chooses a short lifetime over a safe return. One critic has argued that simply exposure to Pylos and Sparta, 32 and to the old heroes of the Trojan War, will give Telemachus kleos. Not knowing how or where his father died, Telemachus feels the bitterness of ignorance: As to the other men who fought that war, We know where each one died, and how he died, But Zeus allotted my father death and mystery.
Achilles died on the battlefield, and his crematory fires radiated an appropriate consummation of a heroic life. In the first book of Herodotus, Solon reminds Croesus that one cannot judge a life until its end in death. A death of anonymity threatens to swallow Odysseus in eternal meaninglessness, like an unfinished sentence. Nestor reminisces on the miseries the Achaeans endured in Troy. After Troy had fallen, Menelaus and Agamemnon, two brothers, quarreled over when to leave for home, the latter urging that they delay so as to sacrifice to Athena.
The Achaeans thus were divided in their various nostoi. Odysseus had left with Nestor, we learn, though he decided to put back, in order to please king Agamemnon. Nestor briefly charts the nostoi of a catalogue of heroes, ending with the sad fate of Agamemnon, and the just revenge of his son.
Telemachus asks for more information on the slaying of Agamemnon, and more precisely, why did his brother, 33 Menelaus, not protect him? Nestor explains that he had begun his homeward voyage with Menelaus, who split off when grounded to bury a crewman who had died suddenly. Menelaus was blown by a tempest down to Egypt, where he tarried, accumulating money in sea traffic.
He was in Egypt for the perfidy of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. Nestor urges Telemachus to visit Menelaus in Lacedaemon, as he may have more information on his father. Athena urges all to turn their thoughts to bed. More sacrifices are made to Poseidon, and Nestor insists that his xenoi stay in beds in his palace. Athena declines, and her sudden disappearance convinces all onlookers that she is immortal. Telemachus agrees to spend the night.
Another rosy-fingered dawn appears, and then an elaborate description of a sacrifice. They reach Lacedaemon on the second day, after sundown. In happiness they feast, while a minstrel harps and sings, and acrobats tumble and flip around. The two strangers at the door are met by Eteoneus, a squire of Menelaus. Should we receive them? Menelaus gently reprimands him: You are talking like a foolish child, he says.
As Menelaus warmly welcomes Telemachus, an exemplar of xenia, two perversions of xenia motivate the action of the epic: the suitors, guests in the palace of Odysseus, uninvited, plunder and abuse the opportunities of the house.
Meanwhile Odysseus himself is marooned on an island, the xenos of a goddess who craves him for her own. She has detained him against his will. Maidservants bathe and clothe them, and they sit beside Menelaus.
Their plates are heaped high with food, and their cups brimmed with wine. Menelaus overhears; he wisely reminds the young Telemachus that no mortal can vie with the gods.
How, Menelaus continues, can he enjoy these earthly possessions when his brother was so foully murdered? He would give them up to see his friends safe home from Troy. There is one companion he misses more than the others: Odysseus, man of woe. He is pained by this absence, and by his own consequent ignorance. He does not even know if he is alive. At this, Telemachus cannot beat down the pangs for his unknown father, and his weeping behind his cloak betrays him to Menelaus.
Helen enters, with her train, and immediately comments on the likeness of Telemachus and Odysseus. Battered by bereavements, 35 distanced from a will to live, food is the instrument that reengages us to life.
The opiate was supplied her in Egypt. The later books of the Odyssey will explore the necessary cognitive kinship that underlies love, and call in homophrosyne— like-mindedness. This quality finds its apotheosis in Odysseus and Penelope. Helen and Menelaus reminisce, exchanging stories about Odysseus. She alone recognized him—though in his cunning he avoided her. Finally, unmasked, he slaughtered many Trojans on his departure.
Eros is a form of ate: madness and blindness. Menelaus tells all that no man could rival Odysseus for steadiness of heart. While all the Greek heroes were hidden, packed inside the Trojan horse, Helen walked round it, calling out to all the fighters in the voice of their wives. Odysseus fought all down, despite their longing to reply, and clamped his hand over the weak mouth of Anticlus before he could betray them.
Telemachus is saddened that these valors could not protect his father from death. The heroes awake as another rosy-fingered dawn brightens the earth. Telemachus tells of the situation in his home—his mother besieged by arrogant men consuming his patrimony—and asks for news of his father.
Menelaus narrates his own story: Being too scant in sacrifices to the gods, he was detained in Egypt. Becalmed and 36 starving, he asks advice of Eidothea, who is the daughter of Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea. She explains how to subdue and question her father, who knows all things. From Proteus Menalaus hears of the nostoi of other heroes. Hubris against the gods incurred disaster.
Proteus then tells of Odysseus, marooned at sea, detained by the goddess Calypso. Last of all Menelaus learns his own destiny. He has married a daughter of Zeus, so he gains admittance to the Isle of the Blest. Snowfall is never known there, neither long Frost of winter, nor torrential rain, But only mild and lulling airs from Ocean Bearing refreshment for the souls of men … Fitz. Menelaus has told Telemachus that a life among his Olympian possessions, a life of sensuality, cannot give him happiness—he is already living, miserably, in a human Elysium.
The story each spouse tells of Troy, moreover, is in conflict with the other. She recognized him; she rejoiced; she repented what she had done. And we can hardly believe her plea of repentance: she would still have another dalliance with Deiphobus, and would aid the Trojans in the very story that Menelaus tells. We can only imagine the rage and frustration of Menelaus, pent up in the Trojan horse, 37 as his wife tries to seduce out all of the heroes.
The narrative shifts back to Ithaca, to the suitors blithely competing, gaming away the time. In the Iliad, games are a temporary diversion from meaningful heroic action. Noemon, who had lent Telemachus his ship, unwittingly reveals to the suitors that Telemachus has gone voyaging. They convene, baffled and hostile. Antinous conspires to trap and kill him at sea. Medon, who had heard the suitors conspiring, runs up to tell Penelope. Her knees go slack with grief.
She cries; she is unable to speak. Must he, too, be forgotten? Once again the pain of death is a matter of amnesia. Eurycleia, her trusty nurse, advises her to bathe and pray to Athena. The suitors, meanwhile, load and arm a ship. They moor it offshore. The dream-vision assures her that Telemachus will return unharmed, and that Athena is by her side. Penelope asks about Odysseus; there is no reply.
The suitors wait in ambush for Telemachus. Book V The most straightforward approach is this: The Greeks had a tragic conception of life. They understood both the immense potential of the human, and the inevitable gloom of mortality. Locked in this circumstance, the Homeric hero will compete for the only immortality available to him: kleos aphthiton, imperishable fame. That is a consolation and bulwark against 38 the horror of death.
Immorality of this kind is intellectual, metaphorical: the hero will not breathe, or think, or sense. In the absence of the reality of immortality, a hero will settle for its metaphor. This is contradicted by Odysseus: when Calypso offers him literal immorality, the life of a god, he chooses the metaphor over the truth. He chooses death and figural immortality his song , kleos aphthiton, over its reality.
He chooses humanity— with its imperfections, limitations, and tragedy. Nostos, his return; gyne, Penelope, his wife; Ithaka, his homeland, son, aging father faithful companions; and then thanein, to die.
Dawn arises from her couch, and the gods convene on Olympus. The assembly of the gods that begins Book V resembles very closely the assembly of Book I. Critics who would cheerfully apply the Analyst scalpel to Homer point to this needless repetition as evidence that the Telemachy is a later interpolation, while the Odyssey proper begins here.
This opinion neglects two general points about Homer: First, questions of composition notwithstanding, the Homeric poems were intended to be delivered orally. The magnitude of the poems necessitates that performances be divided.
Second, Homer never employs the narrative nuance of giving simultaneous events. Synchrony is not in his repertoire; instead, he is constantly linearizing.
Hermes courses over the sea to Ogygia, and finds Calypso by a fragrant fire, weaving and singing. Around her, buds, greenery, and springs abound in idyllic splendor.
Odysseus sits apart, groaning. Calypso effuses her grief, hating the gods for their jealousy, that immortal and mortal flesh should mingle. Broken, she complies. Calypso goes to find Odysseus, who sits scanning the sea through teary eyes. Ultimately, this pleasure and isolation began to undermine the self he had fought so long to attain. Calypso tells Odysseus he is free, but offers him immortality with her.
Immortality had long before lost its appeal with his extinguished sensuality. She has offered not eternal life, but an eternal death-in-life, in which all of his past achievements, loves, and aspirations lose their meaning. He declines. Odysseus builds a ship, and in five days is on the open sea, navigating by the stars. But his easy passage is foiled. Poseidon spots him, and conjures a tremendous storm. Odysseus is battered by gales and foaming surges.
Odysseus at first disobeys, following a course that to his discernment seems best, but circumstances compel him to follow the nymph. Athena quiets the winds, but for two days and two nights he drifts on the swollen waves.
Then he spots land: What a dear welcome thing life seems to children whose father, in the extremity, recovers after some weakening and malignant illness: his pangs are gone, the gods have delivered him. So dear and welcome to Odysseus the sight of land, of woodland, on that morning. He clasps a crag as a billow launches him forward; its ebb tears him away, scraping off skin from his hands.
He spots an inlet stream and floats into the quiet water. He prepares a bed among the leaves: A man in a distant field, no hearthfires near, will hide a fresh brand in his bed of embers to keep the spark alive for the next day; so in the leaves Odysseus hid himself, while over him Athena showered sleep that his distress should end, and soon, soon.
In quiet sleep she sealed his cherished eyes. But Ogygia can also be a 41 pre-natal oblivion. As Odysseus leaves this island, where he exists without identity, he undergoes symbolic birth. With birth inevitably comes hardship, but without hardship there is no manner of assuming an identity.
The identity of the Homeric hero is agonistic—that is, based on competition. In the motionless torpor of a life on Ogygia, where he cannot strive to be best, the hero is not alive. The god of the sea is wroth against him, he is battering him on the sea, sending him woes, and impeding an easy nostos. But Odysseus, symbolically born after leaving the womblike comforts of Ogygia, is becoming Odysseus.
Nausicaa is like a goddess in looks, prudent and virginal: the ideal parthenos unmarried maiden. Athena announces to Nausicaa that her maidenhood must end; she must bring her linens down to the fresh springs to wash in the morning. Nausicaa and her attendant maids wash their clothes and bathe in the clean water.
Then they eat a picnic lunch and play at ball. An errant toss rouses Odysseus, slumbering nearby. While her maids scatter into hiding, frightened of the burly and brine-covered visitor, Nausicaa stands to meet him. Odysseus ponders—do I grasp the maidens knees in supplication?
He decides on the latter, and devotes the famed Odyssean intelligence to flirtatious banter. Never have I laid eyes on equal beauty in man or woman.
I am hushed indeed When Nausicaa and her attendants begin to play they throw off their veils: this is an ambiguous gensture, since the veil in Homer is the emblem of modesty and chastity. Odysseus, when he awakes, compares their voices to nymphs: seductive and sexualized creatures.
They are also compared to Artemis and her attendants, enternally chaste virgins. For Odysseus, meanwhile, Nausicaa threatens to stagnate or end his quest for home, like Circe and Calypso, the other seductive females he has encountered. When they were once again at sea, Zeus sent down a punitive bolt of lightning that killed every man except Odysseus, who floated on a makeshift raft to Calypso's island, where he lived in captivity for seven years.
Here Odysseus finishes his story. The next day, Alcinous sends him home in a Phaeacian ship loaded with treasure. Athena apprises him of the dire situation in his household, warns him of the suffering still to come, and disguises him as a ragged beggar.
She sends him to the farm of the loyal swineherd Eumaeus; she also advises Telemachus to hurry home from Sparta. Father and son reunite and plot their revenge against the suitors. The next day, Eumaeus and Odysseus come to court. The king's old dog Argos recognizes him despite his changed appearance, and the nurse Eurycleia recognizes him by the familiar hunting scar on his knee. Penelope is friendly to him but does not yet guess his real identity. Some of the suitors mock and abuse Odysseus in his disguise, but the king exercises great self-restraint and does not respond in kind.
Finally, the despairing queen announces that she will hold an archery contest: she will marry the man that can use Odysseus's bow to shoot an arrow through a row of axes. But none of the suitors can even string Odysseus's bow, let alone shoot it.
Odysseus, of course, shoots the arrow with grace and ease. Mycenae Agamemnon's capital city, in the northeastern Peloponnesus of ancient Greece.
Cauconians people living to the southwest of Pylos. Summary and Analysis Book 23 - The Great Rooted Bed Summary Now that the battle has ended and the house has been cleaned, good nurse Eurycleia scurries up to Penelope's quarters to tell her all that has happened.
As much as Penelope would like to believe that her husband has returned and vanquished the suitors, she is cautious and goes to the great hall to see for herself. When she expresses ambivalence, Telemachus chides his mother for her skepticism. Odysseus gently suggests that the prince leave his parents to work things out.
He also wants Telemachus to gather the servants and the bard and stage a fake wedding feast so that any passersby do not suspect the slaughter that has taken place. To assure herself of Odysseus' identity, Penelope tests him. As he listens, she asks Eurycleia to move the bedstead out of the couple's chamber and spread it with blankets.
The king himself had carved the bed as a young man, shaping it out of a living olive tree that grew in the courtyard of the palace. He built the bedroom around the tree and would know that the bed cannot be moved. When Odysseus becomes upset that the original bed may have been destroyed, Penelope is relieved and accepts him as her long-absent husband. For the first time in 20 years, they spend a blissful night together.
Athena delays the dawn to grant the couple more time. Analysis Although she seems to suspect that the visitor might be her husband, it is not surprising that Penelope is cautious.
She has been approached by frauds before. Some critics suggest that the queen's hesitance is feigned, that she knows the visitor is her husband, and that she is simply being coy, perhaps to impress him with her prudence. This interpretation is a stretch beyond the text. Homer depicts a woman who is very hopeful but careful.
It is in Penelope's character to test the man one more time to be certain.