Greek Literature Weekly Journal Update Eight

Reflections for October 11, 2016 — October 13, 2016

October 10, 2016

  • Studied for the exam in my dorm room (12:56 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.)

October 11, 2016

  • Studied for the exam in my dorm room (5:30 a.m. — 7:00 a.m.)
  • Wrote class reflection for Tuesday in my dorm room (5:05 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.)
  • Read the first book of the Odyssey in my dorm room (11:24 p.m. — 12:03 a.m.)

Class Reflection for October 11, 2016 (11:10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.):

We had an exam on The Iliad in class today. It focused on the major characters and their respective purposes in the work. The exam also inquired about significant actions the chracters took and asked students to analyze the importance of these events. I believe I performed well on the exam. My preparation was very thourough in that I knew the details of the epic and understood underlying principles which allowed me to make convincing arguements. My preparation for the exam consisted of three techniques. The first technique I employed was the spider charts that Professor Sandridge introduced last week. I completed two series of these. The first series was completed before I began studying. As Dr. Sandridge stated, the exercise showed me how much material I had retained and what areas I needed to concentrate on during my review. The second series of charts I completed were done after I finished reviewing the material. I then compared the two sets of charts. By comparing the two, I discovered which areas of the text I had mastered and which ones I needed to revisit one last time in order to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the entire work. The second method I used to study included committing summeries of each book’s events to memory. The third and final technique I used to prepare for the exam was reviewing the notes I took in class and while studying for weekly quizzes. By doing this, I was able to recall vocabulary words and explanations as to why certain events or speeches were deemed as being noteworthy.

Assignment for October 11, 2016

October 12, 2016

  • Read the second book of The Odyssey in my dorm room(6:05 p.m. — 6:39 p.m.)
  • Answered the questions that corresponded to the readings in my dorm room (7:18 p.m. — 7:53 p.m.)
  • Studied for the weekly quiz in my dorm room (8:01 p.m. — 8:43 p.m.)
  1. The most evident way the books differ is that one of the books conveys a resolution to the current conflict while the other introduces a new challenge. Book 1 of The Odyssey also contrasts Book 24 of The Iliad in that the key characters are at differing stages of the grieving process. Book 24 of The Iliad shows Andromache, Hecuba, and Helen as being heart broken, yet learning to accept Hector’s death. Book 1 of The Odyssey showcases the denial stage of grief. Despite having no definitive proof, Telemachos and Penelope refuse to accept the widely accepted conclusion of Ithacans that Odysseus is dead. The difference in the respective stages of grief indicates opposing relationship statuses between the characters and the lost loved ones. With respect to The Iliad, Hector’s family is learning how accept that their connection to Hector has been permanantly severed. On the contrary, the actions of Penelope and Telemachos regarding their feelings towards Odysseus insinuates that they are desperate to revive their connection with Odysseus. These observations lead me to conclude that the two books are opposites of one another.
  2. Telemachos seems fairly heroic in Book 1. His multiple encounters with Athena suggests that he is in close proximity or has an honored relationship with the gods. His extention of xenia to Mentor starkly contrasts the collective rudeness displayed by the suitors; thereby depicting him as having a superior conscience. Both of these traits suggest Telemachos is heroic according to the class’ previously established standards (see Weekly Journal Update Three).
  3. Penelope is refreshingly more composed than women in The Iliad. While she does become emotional upon hearing references to the Trojan War and is still grieving over the absence of Odysseus, she does not become exessively dramatic or constantly lament her possible circumstances if it turns out that Odysseus is actually dead — unlike Andromache. Penelope is also very calculating like Athena and Hera. The way she postpones choosing a second husband through her weaving project displays her cleverness. This is not unlike Hera in Book 14 when she sedeuces Zeus to help Poseidon. Penelope’s calculated actions are also similar to the cleverness exhibited by Athena when she tricks Panduras into restarting the war in Book 4 or when she tricks Hector into thinking Deiphobos has come onto the plain to help him fight Achilleus in Book 22.

Class Reflection for October 13, 2016 (11:10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.):

The first order of business in today’s class was to take the weekly quiz. This week’s quiz material consisted of the first two books of The Odyssey. We then began discussing the text. It was established that the entire epic documents Odysseus’ nostos or homecoming from Troy— a trip that has lasted ten years. The text states the hero’s prolonged journey is due to Poseidon’s anger towards the him for poking Polyphemos’ eye out. Three of the years were spent roaming around the Mediterranean. The last seven years have been spent with the nmyph Calypso on the island Ogygia. We also learned that despite the hardships the hero has faced, the polytropas Odysseus exhibits enables him to survive regardless of the circumstances he faces. We also discussed the significant strides towards maturation that Telemachos makes in the first two bools alone. His story of growth can be classified as a bildungsroman — a narration of an individual’s coming of age. Lastly we discussed the principle of nepios, meaning foolish or disconnected. The class concluded that this disconnection can be manifested mentally, socially, emotionally, and in religious practice. A prime example of people displaying nepios would be the suitors that have taken over the palace in a futile effort to persuade Penelope to remarry; thereby establishing a new king to govern Ithaca.

Assignment for October 13, 2016

  1. Telemachos takes four major steps towards maturation in the first two books of The Odyssey. Those steps included standing up to his mother, confronting Penelope’s suitors, assembling the Ithicans for a meeting, and venturing out to learn what happened to his father. In Book 1 Telemachos reprimands his mother for asking Phemios not to sing about the Trojan War seeing the act as insensitive given Odysseus’ absence. This encounter represents an exchange of power. His assertion of dominance over his mother symbolizes his metamorphasis from a compliant child to an independent young man, thus illustrating his maturation. Telemachos’s declaration that all the suitors must leave by dawn of the following day emphasizes the hero’s sudden maturation as well. By actively telling the men to leave rather than passively complaining about their encroachment on his home, Telemachos establishes order in the household he now presides over. This act emphasizes his transition from a boy to a man. Book 2 showcases the budding hero’s progression towards maturity. The book begins with Telemachos calling a meeting among the Ithicans, someting Homer states has not been done in the twenty years Odysseus has been gone. Displaying a heightend sense of awareness of the discord in the city state and taking action to reestablish governmental order by less passive means, like waiting on the queen to finally decide to marry somebody, indicates maturity. The final act that symbolizes Telemachos’ growth in the first two books occurs when he sets sail to find his father. When he does this, he only tells Eurykleia. He never asks for anyones blessing or permission. Taking charge of one’s own life and leaving the saftey/comfort of home indicates a development in maturity.
  2. I would describe the relationship between Menelaus and Helen as harmonious, but no longer intimate. Although The Iliad does not show an affectionate interaction between the couple, Helen does express nostalgia for her husband in Book 3 when she learns of the duel. Such an expression leads the audience to infer that a certain level of intimacy existed between the two. The fact that Menelaus had Agamemnon literally call all of Greece to retrieve his wife from Troy supports the arguement that the couple was truly in love. However in The Odyssey, we do not see the couple expressing an infatuation with one another as we did with say Hector and Andromache. With the latter, their words and behavior while they were together and apart made their intimate love evident. Granted, Helen and Menelaus are no longer under the intensely emotional and stressful environment that a war creates, but their interactions do not convey intense love for one another.

Compared to the godesses in The Iliad, Calypso is just as selfish as Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena but she exercises more restraint. In The Iliad the goddesses exhibited vengeful behavior. Even when resolutions to the war were possible, they continued to draw out the fighting to appease their desire for revenge. With respect to Calypso, the fact that she is holding Odysseus captive for the sake of her own happiness knowing that he is fated to return to his family makes her worthy of being deemed as selfish. However her adherence to Hermes’ message that the gods command Odysseus be released demonstrates a level of obedience and respect that the other goddesses did not show. Her obedience in releasing the hero also progresses the plot. Not only does it give the audience Odysseus’ perspective on events, but it shows how his fight experience his homecoming is beginning to conclude.

October 13, 2016

  • Wrote class reflection for Thursday (2:25 p.m. — 2:46 p.m.)

October 15, 2016

  • Read Book 3 of The Odyssey at home in my room (8:46 a.m. — 9:19 a.m.)
  • Read Book 4 of The Odyssey at home in my dining room (3:49 p.m. — 5:02)

October 16, 2016

  • Read Books 5–6 of The Odyssey at home in my room(4:35 a.m. — 5:31 a.m.)
  • Answered questions for Books 3–6 at home in my dining room (1:56 p.m. — 2:58 p.m.)

Total Hourse Devoted To Studying: 15 hours and 45 minutes