Odyssey Books 9–12

  1. Why does Odysseus agree to tell his story to the Phaeacians?

A: After Odysseus cry a few times to songs involving him and Achilles along with the sacking of Troy, the king asks Odysseus for who is and where he is from. Odysseus crying twice in arrow was strange and suspicious. So reluctantly Odysseus tells the Phaeacians who he is and of his wanderings.

Odyssey Books 13–14

  1. What does it mean to be “civilized”? Are the people that Odysseus encounters in his wanderings civilized? Why or why not?

A: Civilized can mean to be polite or well mannered. The people that Odysseus encounters in his wondering are not considered civilized because they are cunning. They continuously try to trap Odysseus and his men. The Lotus-eaters give them fruit to make them lose the eagerness to go home. They come across one eyed Cyclops who was Poseidon’s son, Polyphemus. Polyphemus starts of being hospitable but them gets very hostile and eats two of Odysseus’ men and saves the rest of his men for future meals. Of course the great Odysseus saves his men by goring Polyphemus’ eye out and escaping. Then they encounter the witch goddess Circe who drugs the men and then turns them into pigs, Odysseus also saves them from her. So in practically all cases he deals with people who are hostile and uncivilized.

  1. Odysseus goes to the underworld to find out how to get home. But what else does he learn in the process, about himself, about how the world works, or about what’s important in life?

A: In the process of going to the underworld Odysseus learns about those who have passed. He encounters Agamemnon who tells him of his murder at the hands of his wife. Then he sees Achilles who asks about his son. Odysseus tries to talk to Ajax but Ajax refuses to speak. Odysseus notices that the underworld is split into section of how people die and the type of lives they lived. He gets mobbed by souls that want to know about people in the world above. This frightens him and he runs back to his ships. I think that this made him scared of death and not being able to return to his family.


Sunday, October 22nd, 4pm — 8pm: I read books 9–12 and it was a read that actually was a page turner. It was intersting to have Odysseus tell his own story. I wish that instead of Homer telling the stories, that there were versions of the stories in first person from various characters. But above that I was suprised to read that his story wasn’t as simple as I thought. I thought that he was just on his way back from the war and there was a storm and he landed on Calypso’s island. When actually Odysseus went through Lotus-eaters and Cyclops. His story was very eventful and adventurous. Odysseus also comes out being a hero at the end of each story. I thought it was so slick when Odysseus said that his name was “Nobody” to the Cyclops, but it killed me that he revealed his name. I felt like it was egotistical of him to reveal his name. Sometimes when you overcome things and that adrendaline is pumping then you do savage things. It was just real ruthless to say his name without any thought of the consequences that could follow. Book 10 was aggravating because the were so close to being home and I didn’t understand why Odysseus’ men all of a sudden didn’t trust him. I wonder if it was the gods that put folly into their heads to think that he had was withholding treasure from him. But it was so tragic that they tore the bag of winds open. I literally was so upset because Odysseus, though he is a trickerster, he had deleivered you all from so much. How can you just all a sudden doubt the one who has delivered you?

Monday, October 23rd, 6am — 8am: I answered the questions for books 9–12 and began reading for books 13–14.

Tuesday, October 24th, 11am — 3:30pm: We talked about Odysseus’ journey and what part was our favorite. I think mine was the Cyclops or when he went to the underworld. Probably moreso the underworld because I felt that it was just so cool for to be able to encounter the dead people he knows. I don’t have too many dead relatives that are close to me but I wonder what that must feel like. That entire experience would seem so surreal. I would have so many questions. I then went home and finished the rest of book 14. Odysseus not even recognizing his home and to the point that it upset and him being incognito was funny to read. It is awesome to know who he is and see how people react and treat him.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2pm — 5pm: I spent time answering the questions for books 13–14. I also wrote out my journal. I started reflecting that is more clear that Odysseus I think really did want to come home. At the beginning of the Odyssey I wasn’t too sure because how could the great Odysseus be truly confind to an island? Isn’t he too cunning and too much of a trickster? But after him telling his story himself he said that Calypso held him captive but could not captivate his heart. That is so powerful. A gorgeous goddess could not capture his heart even after twenty years. Mind you Calypso doesn't age or anything and she a goddess… Odysseus’ love for Penelope must be more than a simple minded human could really understand. I wasn’t expecting this to be a great love story, it truly has turned out to be one. Dr. S even said that at the end of the poem Odysseus tells Penelope that the reason the gods seperated them was because they were jealous of how grand their love was. Interestingly enough their love seems even more grand with them being so in love with each still after twenty years of being a part and twenty years of aging. A lot of people can’t even say they are still in love with the same person for twenty year and they get to be with that person. Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not to sound like a girl but I love a good love story, I’ve never seen real down to earth, committed, unbreakable, unconditional love between a couple up close. Stories like this make me think what it must be like. Reading the Iliad first I thought that Hector and Andromache was really the great love story, or Aphrodite and Ares for the gods. But their stories don’t even touch Odysseus and Penelope. Andromache and Hector came close because the were such a cute perfect little family, and maybe if Hector lived on he could have had an awesome love story but he died. His death killed off the potential to make their love story more epic. Or actually his death made Odysseus’ love greater, because if the Greeks would have lost Odysseus probably would have died. So maybe there’s only room for one epic love story.

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