Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review of The Odyssey by Homer

Name of Book: The Odyssey

Author: Homer

ISBN: (from Norton World Anthology Vol A, 2nd edition) 0-393-92450-5

Publisher: Norton World Anthology

Part of a Series: The Illiad is the prequel

Type of book: Journey, Greece, fealty, adventures, monsters, classic, Ithaca, war, underworld, 8th century PME

Year it was published: 8th century, PME

Summary:

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life.

"It recounts the story of Odysseus' return to Ithaca from the Trojan war and tells how, championed by Athene and hounded by the wrathful sea-god Poseidon, Odysseus encounters the ferocious Cyclops, escapes Scylla and Charybdis and yields temporarily to the lures of Circe and Calypso before he overcomes the trials awaiting him on Ithaca. Only then is he reunited with his faithful wife Penelope, his wanderings at an end."

Characters:

Stock and boring characters with personalities and lives that have little changes. I feel that adventures they had taught them not at all or very little and one can't see the character growth. Penelope remains and will always be loyal no matter what; Odysseus will continue to be cunning no matter the consequences and so forth.

Theme:

Have faith in life.

Plot:

Mostly in third person narrative from Telemachus and later books at least. The early books, well, first person narrative from Odysseus's point of view. The story is moving and going, but I couldn't connect and relate to it. I would guess its designed for a more masculine perspective rather than feminine, or else one could blame society. I'm not an airhead, which should be obvious, but I like them relationships in stories...oh yeah I do.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
Greece

gender
male

About this author
Homer (ancient Greek: Ὅμηρος), or Omero (in Italian), is a legendary ancient Greek epic poet, traditionally considered the author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. No reliable biographical information about Homer survives from classical antiquity, and he is generally considered a legendary, rather than a historical figure. The Iliad and the Odyssey are now considered by many to be the products of a centuries-long tradition of orally composed poetry; the role of an individual poet, or poets, in composing the poems is a matter of dispute. According to some scholars, the Iliad and the Odyssey are the product of the same poet, but for others, such as Martin West and Seaford, the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed by different poets. For other scholars, such as Gregory Nagy, the epics are not the creation of any individual, but rather slowly evolved towards their final form over a period of centuries; in this view, the poems are the collective work of generations of poets.

Homer's works begin the Western Canon and are universally praised for their poetic genius. By convention, the compositions are also often taken to initiate the period of Classical Antiquity.

Opinion:

In middle school, I strangely enjoyed reading the book, especially the Cyclopes part. But as an adult, I feel it tended to be boring. The adventures lasted only for a few books and then nothing but talk and action and so forth. I have no idea why I disliked the story so much. One thing that did upset me is the implausibility of Penelope wasting her youth away in waiting for Odysseus to return. Yeah, for Odysseus its okay to sleep with Circe and whatnot, while everyone came down hard on Penelope for finally wanting to marry someone after twenty years. Umm, hello, if no news comes from a guy, that usually means he died...and why didn't he ever write her letters or whatnot? "My dear Penelope, The weather is sunny with a hint of the storm created by the mighty Zeus. Circe is keeping me still a prisoner." This is a very double standard book/story obviously.

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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