Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Odyssey summary

Odysseus and Circe
by Bartholomäus Spranger
Picture source

Of all the things that breathe
and move along the ground, Earth does not raise
anything more insignificant than man.
He thinks he'll never suffer any harm
in days to come, as long as gods provide
prosperity and his knees stay supple.
But when blessed gods bring on misfortunes,
he bears those, too, though much against his will.
The father of gods and men brings men the days
which shape the spirit of earth's inhabitants.
Among men I was set to be successful, too,
but, yielding to my strength and power,
I did many reckless things. I trusted
my father and my family. So no man
should ever practise any lawlessness.
He should hold his gifts from gods in silence,
whatever they give.

- Book XVIII, lines 166 - 193 (Translation by Ian Johnston)

The Odyssey online resources

The Odyssey discussion:
Books I - IV
Books V - VIII
Books IX - XII
Books XIII - XVI
Books XVII - XX
Books XXI - XXIV

Other posts:

From Zeus to Seuss--Brian Boyd’s On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction

Thoughts on The Iliad and The Odyssey, memory

The Iliad summary

Update: Comments on Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey

Picture source

1 comment:

Unknown said...

In Homer’s Odyssey, free will and fate are intertwined ideas. According to this epic, destiny may rule men but it is ultimately each one’s personal choices that takes them where they need to go. According to Greek mythology the Gods that rule fate and divine will are essentially human themselves. This implies that their will is subject to whims and pettiness as well. Therefore, if divine will can change so can one’s fate. I thought this to be a very progressive theme in The Odyssey. While looking online to find the The Odyssey summary, I found this excellent site called Shmoop, which has some novel opinions on the epic that are worth a look.