Posts Tagged by Odyssey Rhapsody 21
|August 10, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under Homer commentary|
2017.08.10 | By Gregory Nagy
Toward the end of Rhapsody 21, Odysseus will pass an all-important test set by Penelope: he will string his famous bow—which none of the suitors could string, no matter how hard they tried—and he will shoot an arrow straight through all the holes of twelve axe-heads lined up in a row for this one-time occasion, designed to be viewed as the contest to end all contests in the skills of archery. This contest will determine, once and for all, who is really eligible, among all the Achaeans, to be recognized as the husband of the queen. But the winning of this ultimate contest by Odysseus is not enough: the king must now kill, with the same bow, all the would-be husbands of the queen. So, once Odysseus passes the test set by Penelope, as narrated toward the end of Rhapsody 21, the killing of the rival Achaeans can begin in Rhapsody 22. And the overall occasion for both the passing of Penelope’s test and the killing of the suitors is the beginning of a grand festival celebrating the god Apollo and the arrival of spring.