Week Nine

Monday, October 19, 2015 8:00 pm

Book Six

Odysseus crash landed in the city of Scheria, land of the Phaiakians. Athena enters the dream of Princess Nausikaa, who resembles the Greek goddess Artemis, as her close friend and basically tells her that being single is cool and all, but it’s time to marry. When the princess wakes up she takes her clothes to the stream to wash and finds Odysseus (naked) and sleeping. Princess Nausikaa and her party she brought along with her woke the sleeping Odysseus and scared the girls with his massive size, not to mention that he was naked. Athena instilled courage in Nausikaa so she won’t run away in fear like her friends. At this point Odysseus had to decide whether to use his wits to win the princess over, or if he should use a speech complimenting her beauty. He went with that route; asking for her help, she offered to bathe him. However, Odysseus did not want to scare her again and politely refused. By now the princess is slightly in love with Odysseus and wants to marry a man that looks just like him. She gives him the clothes she has and they go into town. She warns him that he would need to appeal to the Queen, so he stays in the garden and prays to Athena for good luck.

Nausikaa and Calypso vs Penelope

Nausikaa, Penelope, and Calypso have different personalities while all of them are extremely beautiful.

Nausikaa has a similar “danger” to her as Calypso because she gives Odysseus the thought of remarrying and not gong home. Although Odysseus refuses, he was still drawn into Nausikaa by her beauty just as he was with Calypso. On the other hand, Calypso’s “danger” is more open and prominent because she and Odysseus both knew that he was being held captive to be a sex slave and he did just that.

As for Penelope, being Odysseus’ wife, she is the only woman that remains constantly on his mid. Regardless of the other women that he encounters along the way, Nausikaa or Calypso, Odysseus is focused on going home and going home to his wife. Meanwhile, Penelope herself is only concerned about the return of her husband. She isn’t giving into any of the suitors and she still has hope that Odysseus will come home.

The Phaiakians and King Alkinoos

In a way, the Phaiakians are heroes for “rescuing” more so, offering Odysseus a place of refuge while he is still considered a stranger to them. Opening up your city to a strange man that could very well be a threat to your city is a heroic thing for anyone to do as well as it displayed an exemplary amount of hospitality which is essential to Greek life.

King Alkinoos is just as equally heroic for opening up his home to Odysseus and treating in a fashion that makes him feel at home. For a king to go to such great lengths for a “beggar” who has foreign whereabouts shows nobility and his value of xenia, which in turn is a form of heroism.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 2:10 pm

Protean: adaptable/shape shifting. Odysseus’ character is considered to be a protean because of his ability to adapt to any situation and appeal to more than one group of people.

During class we discussed Odysseus’ future trials that he will encounter like his battle with the cyclops and his trip to the underworld. We’ve already learned that he’s spent seven years on the island enslaved by Calypso, and we discussed his ability of sophrosune that he has on the emotions of other people as well as himself. Sophrosune is sound-mindedness and the ability to have self-restraint. Homosophrosune, on the other hand, is like-mindedness. For example. having the ability to complete another person’s sentences would incline that person to have homophosune.

We also talked about the differences in Menelaus and Helen’s relationship prior and after the Trojan War. We came to the conclusion that before the war, they had a connection that was clearer to determine as a couple and right now, their relationship is more of a partnership. They seem to be together just to protect the title of their relationship and for the good of the people in their town.

4:00 pm Book Seven

Athena disguises Odysseus in a cloud of sea mist so he isn’t seen wandering the city. She then turns herself into a child and Odysseus asks the child (Athena) for directions to the king’s palace. She tells him a lot of information about the palace and the king and queen so he is prepared when he walks in. Kind Alkinoos and Queen Arete, the queen “calls the shots” and Odysseus must appeal to her because apparently her opinion of him is heavily valued and holds weight.

Upon arriving to the palace, Odysseus falls to the queen’s knees and hugs her. His mist surrounding him disappears and everyone sees him as a beggar. The King’s oracle scolds him for not showing Odysseus hospitality. (He and everyone are just starring at him in an awkward silence as he hugs the queen.) King Alkinoos makes one of the princesses get up out of their seat so Odysseus can sit and feel comfortable. He declared that the following day, there will be a feats in his honor.

Everyone is eating and talking and the question that lies in the air that most are wondering is “Is he a god?” So, out King Alkinoos goes with the question; he asks Odysseus, “Hey, any chance you’re a god?” Odysseus replies and says no, and asks if he can have a ship so that he can go home. Everyone says sure while Queen Arete recognizes the clothes he is wearing as the same clothes she made for Princess Nausikaa. She asks Odysseus, “ Hey big strange man, what are you doing wearing my daughters clothes?” Odysseus tells the story of his troubles not mentioning his name, or the fact that their daughter stripped her clothes for him.

Moved by his story, the king offered Odysseus Nausikaa’s hand in marriage. Odysseus politely declines, and instead the king ensured Odysseus that his men will take him where ever he wants to go (home).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 4:00 pm

Book Eight

Athena disguises herself as the town crier to alert everyone of the dinner that will be held in Odysseus’ honor. She then makes Odysseus “buffer” and instills in him a desire to prove himself worthy of challenges.

The king orders that a ship be prepared for Odysseus’ journey home and invites everyone to the banquet. He calls upon his blind bard, Demodokos to tell the story of the fight between Odysseus and Achilles before the Trojan War. Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, listens to the story about himself and begins to cry. He hides his tears behind his cloak and no one notices his tears except for King Alkinoos. Seeing this, he asks for the poet to stop singing and decides to play sporting games instead.

Prince Klytoneos wins the foot race and Prince Laodamas wins the boxing match and invites Odysseus to join the games. Reluctant to join, another competitor, Euryalos says he doesn’t look like the athletic type. Odysseus hurls a disc further than any of the other men have thus far and Athena, disguised as a Phaiakian measures the distance. He then challenges everyone except Prince Laodamas to any of the competitions besides the running race; due to his long days lost at sea, his legs are weakened, and declares that he will win everyone of them. King Alkinoos decided to diffuse this situation by allowing Demodokos to sing again. He sings about the time Aphrodite cheated on her crippled husband Hephaistos with Ares. He was so jealous that he wove a net over their bed to catch them in the act, and then he shamed them in front of all the gods.

King Alkinoos bestowed Odysseus with gifts and invited everyone to dance. Euryalos apologized for his harsh words earlier and gave Odysseus and elegant sword as a gift. After all the fun, dancing and gifts, Odysseus takes a bath and asks Demodokos to sing about Odysseus and the Trojan horse. Why? I don’t know since it only exposes his identity and makes him cry again. Alkinoos asks Demodokos to stop singing since it is upsetting his guest. Then he asks Odysseus why he grieves so much over the Trojan War. His identity at this point is still unknown, so King Alkinoos invites Odysseus to tell his story.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 2:10 pm

Metis: the ability to think quickly on your feet to get out of sticky situations; resourceful intelligence

This is another trait that Odysseus has along with Hermes or Angeiphontes “Slayer of Argos” he is often put in situations where he has to play the role of something or someone he is not, or he has to act quickly like when he devised his plan to escape Polyphemos.

“How comfortable are you in solitude?” During class we discussed collection elements which were things that we take into consideration when we decide what items we want to collect. Looking deeper into this we discussed what our passions are and what would motivate us to go forth with them. The question that raised question and attention was that of solitude. We concluded that solitude plays a role within curiosity, and curiosity is one of the collection elements, possibly even the strongest that will push forth our passions deeper than any other element.

Elements consisted of

  • acquisition of the item
  • focus
  • investment: time and money
  • presentation
  • preservation
  • interest/history

5:00 pm Book Nine

Odysseus introduces himself and begins his story starting with the moment he left for Troy. He describes Ithaca, his home, and laments over the fact that he was held captive for so long by Calypso. He was held hostage for so long that he pretended to love Calypso but she “never could persuade the heart within [him]”

He begins to talk about the years between Troy and Calypso. First he and his men arrived at the land of the Kikonians where they killed everyone and enslaved their women. Odysseus tried to get his men back at sea, but they were so starved, they put up a fight with the islands’ natives. Ten days later, they end up on the island of the Lotus-Eaters. Three of Odysseus’ men end up eating some of the lotus flowers, lose their memory, and their only concern is staying on the island forever rather than going back to their family at home.

Next, they arrive at the land of the uncivilized cyclopes where they tend to their herd of sheep and let their land go to waste. His men run across a cyclops cave and wanted to steal from it, however, Odysseus did not let them. Instead, he wanted to treat the cyclops as a human being and express xenia. They burned a fire waiting for him return, but when the cyclops got back, carrying a huge boulder behind him, he did not want any part of Odysseus’ hospitality.

The cyclops asks Odysseus where he landed his ship and Odysseus responds saying that they have been ship wrecked. He then eats three of Odysseus’ men and goes to sleep… Now Odysseus attempts to kill the cyclops in his sleep but realizes that they need him to move the gigantic rock out of the way so they can escape. Waking up the next morning, the cyclops eats some more of Odysseus’ men and leaves for the day. Odysseus and what’s left of his men carve a wooden pole and sharpen one end of it in fire. When he returns, Odysseus offers him wine and talks to him saying his name is “nobody.” The wine gets him drunk to the point where he passes out. Odysseus and his men shove the pole into the cyclops eye while he is asleep and blinds him. He wakes up and starts screaming so loudly, making a ruckus that all the neighboring cyclopes come out and ask him has anyone tricked him. The cyclops replies and says “Nobody’s tricked me” and the other cyclopes are pretty much like alright, well stop acting so crazy.

Now we learn that the cyclops name is Polyphemos and he is the son of Poseidon. Odysseus decides to take time to congratulate himself and devises part two of his escape plan. While the cyclops goes to sleep, he ties his men to the rams and when he wakes up, he’ll let the rams out not knowing that Odysseus and his men are tied to them.

The next morning when Polyphemos sets the rams loose, Odysseus unties his men and can’t help but torment Polyphemos as they sail away. Angry, Polyphemos throws a giant boulder at his ship and it nearly hits them. Odysseus’ men wants him to stop teasing Polyphemos but he cannot help himself. Foolishly, Odysseus reveals his name and, well, what would be considered his Howard intro had he went to Howard University. Polyphemos runs to daddy and asks that he puts a curse on Odysseus which entitles that he does not go home and if he does, all his companions should die on the way there. This explains why Poseidon hates Odysseus so much. Still angry, Polyphemos throws another rock at the Ithacan ship and it hurls them out of the water. Odysseus decides to make a sacrifice to Zeus, but he does not accept it.

Friday, October 23, 2015 3:00 pm

Book Ten

Odysseus and his men sail from the land of the Cyclopes to the home of Aeolus, ruler of the winds. Aeolus gives Odysseus with a bag of winds with specific westerly winds to lead Odysseus toward Ithaca. Ten days later, they are able to see Ithaca, but Odysseus’ men thinks that Aeolus has given Odysseus a bag of fortune and gold so they open it up releasing the winds and causing the ship to spin out of control and out of sight from Ithaca. The winds created a storm that brought Odysseus and his men back to Aeolia. This time, however, Aeolus refuses to help them and is convinced that the gods are against him.

Odysseus and his men now have to row to the land of the Laestrygonians, a race of powerful giants whose king, Antiphates, and queen turn eat some of Odysseus’ men for dinner. Odysseus and whats barely left of his men run toward their ships, but the Laestrygonians throw boulders at their ships which causes them to sink. Only Odysseus’ ship survives.

Odysseus and his men travel to Aeaea, home of the beautiful witch-goddess Circe. However, Circe drugs some of Odysseus’ men and turns them into pigs. Hermes approaches Odysseus in the form of a young man and tells him to take a herb called moly to protect himself from Circe’s drug, then lunge at her when she tries to strike. Listening to Hermes, Odysseus overpowers Circe and forces her to turn his men back into their human selves. He becomes Circe’s lover and he and his men live on her island in luxury for about a year. After a while Odysseus’ men convince him that they still need to return home so Odysseus asks Circe for directions to Ithaca. She says he must sail to Hades, the realm of the dead, to speak with the spirit of Tiresias, a blind prophet who will tell him how to get home.

The next morning, Odysseus rouses his men for to go to Hades. He discovers, however, that the youngest man in his crew, Elpenor, had gotten drunk the previous night, slept on the roof, and, when he heard the men shouting and marching in the morning, fell from the roof and broke his neck. Sadly, no one realizes because they are in despair of the news that Odysseus has just bestowed upon them; a trip to the underworld.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Odysseus’ Trials

I think Odysseus is agreeing to tell his story to the Phaiakians so that he can gain more kleos. Aside from that, it is already weird that he has cried over the Trojan War twice upon hearing songs about it so now people are clearly questioning what his deal is. He is also coming off as a mysterious person and the Phaiakianas already asked if he is a god. In my eyes it only makes sense that he finally tells him who he is, and now he can actually get more help going home.


In Ancient Greek times being civilized would be knowing how to properly take care of yourself like hunting and gathering and being able to take care of land; respecting all of the gods and being aware of what is considered morally correct and incorrect as well.

Odysseus has encountered one group of people who are civilized and that is the Phaiakians. When he encountered the land of the cyclopes, Circe, the Laestrygonians, and Calypso, they were all uncivilized in a way that Circe and Calypso were not respecting xenia for keeping Odysseus hostage and the land of the cyclopes and the Laestrygonians were giant ogre like monsters who resort to cannibalism.