Monday, November 29, 2010

The Odyssey Readalong Part IV

I finished!  I'm really surprised that I kept up with all of the reading each week.  This week starts off with Penelope meeting Odysseus, disguised as a beggar.  She treats him kindly and asks him about himself and of her husband.  Odysseus makes up another long-winded lie about his back story and himself, as the beggar, meeting Odysseus.  He is then bathed by his old nurse Eurycleia, and she recognizes him because of the scar on his leg.

Sorta random tangent, I got a bit behind this week and didn't start my reading until Friday.  I had to laugh when I got to the part about the bath with Eurycleia mixing the hot water with the cold to bathe him.  Thanksgiving morning our hot water heater went out and we had to boil water to take showers.  I also had to handwash all of my china for dinner by boiling water and mixing it with cold.  It took forever.  No wonder people rarely bathed back then.  It is huge pain!

Back to the summary.  So Odysseus doesn't want Penelope to know that he has returned so he makes Eurycleia promise to keep his secret.  Penelope sets up a test of skill for the next day saying that whichever suitor can string Odysseus' bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axes, she would marry.  They all attempt, and none can even string the bow.  Odysseus strings the bow with ease and shoots through the twelve axes, and the blood bath begins.  All of the suitors are killed--some more gorily than others.  Anyone else grossed out by what they did to Melanthius?  They cut of his ears, nose, hands, feet, and genitals--they kindly gave the dogs the genitals to eat (eww!)  They then have the maids who were traitors, clean up the mess and then proceed to kill the maids.  Odysseus reveals himself to Penelope and she tests him to make sure that it is truly Odysseus.  

The last book has a scene from the Underworld.  Agamemnon meets the suitors as they are complaining that Penelope is a wench and tricked them and Odysseus unfairly killed them.  He doesn't seem to be the one to complain to considering his wife Clymenestra was unfaithful and killed him upon his return from the war in Troy.  Lets just say they don't get much sympathy from Agamemnon.  He praises the fortitude of Penelope and the revenge of Odysseus.  Odysseus travels to meet his father.  He tests him first, then reveals himself and they rejoice together.  We then switch to the family members of the suitors weeping for their sons, and they decide to avenge their deaths by killing Odysseus.  Another fight ensues, Zeus puts end to it, and everyone lives happily ever after.

So...kind of weird ending.  It really should have ended with Book 23.  Besides the reunion with the father, the rest kind of Book 24 seemed pointless.  I didn't really get why Odysseus had to test his father.  Did he think he would have turned against him?  That really didn't make sense to me.

I don't have much else to say about it besides the fact that I'm very glad that I joined the read-along.  I wouldn't have picked this up on my own.  I was incredibly intimidated by The Odyssey, but discovered very quickly that there was no reason to be.  A big thanks to Trish at Love, Laughter and Touch of Insanity for hosting it.  I even asked for The Iliad for Christmas.


  1. I love that you asked for The Iliad for Christmas! Maybe we'll do a 2011 readalong when the dust settles a bit.

    Book 24 seemed really strange to me--the only thing I can think of is maybe the book needed to end in a nice even number--especially one that can be divided so nicely like 24. Other than that? Did we really need to visit the Underworld again?

    And about Melanthius! My mouth is still hanging open at that description. Also when Antinous got his head cut off (might be getting the person wrong from memory).

    Sorry to hear about your hot water heater!! Hope it's all in order now. Can't imagine having to boil water to take a bath. ;)

  2. Wow, The Iliad for Christmas, how brave! :-) Well done on finishing!

  3. What horrible timing on the water! The Melanthius thing was pretty gross. I even read that part out loud to my husband!

  4. Trish--I would love to do an Iliad readalong. I Allie might possibly be hosting one in the spring.

    Joanna--Congrats to you on finishing as well. I'm not sure if I'm brave or just stupid.

    Shelley--I was totally grossed out by Melanthius. I'll have to read it to my husband too so he can be grossed out with me!

  5. Is there anymore information you can give on this subject. It answers a lot of my questions but there is still more info I need. I will drop you an email if I can find it. Never mind I will just use the contact form. Hopefully you can help me further.

    - Robson