Weekly Journal 10/19/17

Reading for Class 10/17/19

Books 3–6

I did not read the email fully so I read books 3 through 6 already.

Question 1

Telemachus went from having no plan to save his mother and his home. The suitors do not believe him when he tries to assert his power. Athena tells him how is going to take charge of his home. He must go to visit Nestor and Menelaus. He is hesitant and tells Athena that he does not know how to speak speak to elders of great power.

After he spoke with Nestor, he confidence begins to grow. They treat him with great hospitality. Nestor tells his son to accompany Telemachus to visit Menelaus. Menelaus welcomes them and they have a feast. During this feast, Telemachus weeps for his father, but recovers quickly. He does a ton of maturing during his journey. He can return home and protect his mother until Odysseus makes his way to Ithaca. I think that hearing that he looks like his father was a major confidence boost.

Question 2

Helen and Menelaus were happy with each other. They were celebrating the weddings of their children. Her being happy with Menelaus shows that she cares about klaos, because Menelaus won while Paris was murdered.

Calypso is described as a goddess divine. I think Calypso is lonely and would like a husband. Also, I thought about how she could be full if ate and does not have control of how she thinks. She wants to protect him from further suffering after he lives her island. Calypso prevented Odysseus from returning to Ithaca for seven years by keeping him captive on a island. I think her keeping Odysseus was a way of allowing Telemachus to grow in age and maturity.

Class Time 10/17/17 (11:10–12:30)

We talked about the male-female relationships in Homer. The best of the relationships being Odysseus and Penelope. They share homophrosune and have a close friendship even though they have been apart for so long. The worst of the relationships being Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. They do not have a close relationship which is why he falls for Chryseis. They are not like-minded which led to Agamemnon’s death. Other relationships in Homer fall in between these two extremes. There could be lust or love between two people but their relationships are not strong because they are not of the same mind.

Why is Telemachus travelling?

Firstly, he is travelling to find out if Nestor or Menelaus know anything about his father. Secondly, he is travelling to gain a reputation. The suitors that have taken over his home do not respect him because he is not well known and is still seen as a boy. The goal is to make allies with Nestor and Menelaus and receive gifts of hospitality to bring back to Ithaca. The gifts would be an assertion of Telemachus’ manhood.

Menelaus and Helen

Reading the Iliad did not give us a view of Menelaus and Helen’s relationship. Now that the war is over and they have returned home, we get to analyze their relationship. Menelaus and Helen have conflicting stories about Helen’s role in the war.

In line 235 of Book 4, Helen tells Telemachus of how good his father is. The reality is that she has no first hand experience with Odysseus. It was all an attempt to improve her reputation and prove her loyalty to the Greeks. Instantly, Menelaus contradicts her story. He tells Telemachus that Odysseus was a brave fighter and that he does not remember the war happening as Helen described it. As someone said in class on Tuesday, their relationship is aunt and uncle that shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and argues through subliminal outbursts in front of everyone.

Odysseus and Nausicaa

Nausicaa discovers Odysseus and takes him back to the kingdom of the Phaeacians. She is young and unmarried. After Odysseus’ reputation becomes known to the king, it is suggested that Odysseus should marry Nausicaa. He gently lets her down in line 178 of Book 6. He claims that they are not like-minded and likemindedness is something he has with Penelope and values very much.

Helen and Her Potions

Upon her return back to Greece, Helen learned how to mix potions. During the welcoming feast for Telemachus, she makes a potion, nepenthe, that causes forgetfulness and the absence of pain. She does not want Telemachus to be sad and weep anymore.

Reading for Class 10/18/17 (2:00–6:00 PM)

Books 7 and 8

I find it extremely weird that Alcinous and Arete would want to marry their daughter to a stranger. They did not even know of Odysseus’ true identity so they do not know of his wealth or power. After the competition, Odysseus’ strength was exposed, when he out threw all the other Phaeacians in javelin competition. The cultural difference is very evident because I am sure if I had a boyfriend, my parents would run a background check on him.

Question 1

Odysseus wants to go home extremely bad at this point in the story. Odysseus conceals his true identity from the Phaeacians. He literally begs at the feet of Queen Arete to send him home in one of their ships. He takes on many ways to make sure he is not turned away from the Phaeacians. Athena improves his looks so that the Phaeacians would be more willing to help him. Odysseus is being extremely charming to the king and queen that they offer their daughter’s hand marriage. When Demodocus sings the falling out that Odysseus had with Achilles, he weeps and is full of sorrow.

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