Monday, November 22, 2010

The Odyssey Readalong Part III

This week was books 13 through 18.  I'm surprised that I have kept up with the schedule.  Only six more books to go!  Odysseus finally sets sail from Phaeacia and makes it to Ithaca laden with treasure.  He arrives while asleep and the Phaeacians somehow remove him from the boat without waking him.  Wow, he must be a deep sleeper!  Athena plays a trick on him and makes the land seem different to Odysseus' sight when he finally awakens and he thinks that he has been left on a foreign land.  I'm not quite sure what the point of that was, but she tells him he's in Ithaca and lays out her plan for him.  She wants to disguise him so that he can seek his revenge on the suitors before they know that he has arrived home.  She clothes him like a beggar and sends him to the swineherd, Eumaeus to seek shelter.

Athena sends Telemachus home and helps him to avoid the ambush of the suitors.  Telemachus goes to the swineherd and meets Odysseus, disguised as a stranger.  When Odysseus is alone with his son, Athen removes the disguise and Odysseus reveals himself.  Father and Son have a sweet reunion and together plan their revenge.  They eventually make it to the palace and Odysseus, disguised as a beggar again, verbally spars with the suitor.  He is taunted by another beggar, Irus, and the suitors challenge them to fight one another, and Irus is decimated.  The suitors have all gone home and Odysseus is soon to meet with Penelope, still disguised as a beggar.

What surprised me most about these six books is that Odysseus is an incredible liar.  He can come up with the most intricate stories on the spot.  Athena even complimented him on his lying skills when he first arrived in Ithaca.
Any man--any god who met you--would have to be some champion lying cheat to get past you for all-round craft and guile!  You terrible man, foxy, ingenious, never tired of twists and tricks--so, not even here, on native soil, would you give up those wily tales that warm the cockles of your heart.  Come, enough of this now.  We're both old hands at the arts of intrigue.  Here among mortal men you're far the best at tactics, spinning yarns...
I really do wonder how much of the tale he shared in Phaeacia is true if Athena accuses him of "wily tales."  He seems to enjoy painting himself as a hero.  It seems to me that Athena is implying that he likes to embellish a bit.

I'm excited to read the next six books.  The time for Odysseus and Telemachus' revenge on the suitors is fast approaching, and I'm curious to see how it all plays out.

For more readalong posts, visit Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity.


  1. I know and for Athena to encourage him in his lying too! Shouldn't the Gods encourage mortals to be better people? Although with the Gods being that scheming maybe that's not the point at all!

    I'm looking forward to the revenge part too. :-)

  2. Ha! All I could think about when Odysseus was telling the swineherd about his time in Egypt was "where the heck is this coming from!" And better...what's the point?

    But you make a great point about how reliable Odysseus is of a narrator. How much of his story can we believe?

  3. Just coming back to subscribe...forgot the first time. ;)

  4. I noticed all the lying in these books, but it didn't occur to me to question his "true" story! I found these six books to be a little slow. It seems all the action is being saved up for the end!

  5. Joanna--Athena loved that he was "crafty". Seemed kind of weird.

    Trish--I know. He sure pulls his stories out of his butt. His lies are so intricate too. He must really enjoy lying.

    Erin--All of his lying definitely made me wonder about his tale. I'd imagine that most of it happened, but I wonder if he embellished a bit or left things out to make himself look like more of a hero. He seems like a pretty arrogant guy!