Odyssey

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 21

2017.08.10 / updated 2018.10.13 | 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… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 20

2017.08.03 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Rhapsody 20 reveals the darkest thoughts of Penelope. There she is, lying awake in bed, unable to fall asleep, and now she starts to think the unthinkable, tearfully spilling her private thoughts by praying to Artemis: I want to die in the worst way, she confides to the goddess, so why don’t you shoot me with your arrows, putting me out of… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 19

2017.07.24 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Rhapsody 19 is best known for a scene where Odysseus is recognized by his old nurse Eurykleia. She notices a tell-tale scar on his leg—the result of a wound that marks the moment in his youth when he was gored in a boar hunt. This scar can be seen as a sēma or ‘sign’ of the hero’s identity. [[GN 2017.07.22.]] Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 18

2017.07.19 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy In Rhapsody 18, Odysseus as a make-believe beggar is challenged by a most questionable character named Iros, who figures as a real beggar. What makes Iros so questionable is his similarity to characters who figure in a poetic form that can best be described as mock epic. [[GN 2017.07.20.]] Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 17

2017.07.14 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Back in Rhapsody 16, Eumaios the swineherd had left behind in his shelter an unrecognized Odysseus and had gone off to the palace in order to contact Penelope; in the swineherd’s absence, Telemachus, left alone with Odysseus, could now get to see his father transformed into an idealized godlike hero, made visible through a luminous epiphany produced by the sacred wand of… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 16

2017.07.06 / updated 2018.10.12 | By Gregory Nagy Odysseus, because of his external appearance as an old beggar, cannot be recognized by his own son Telemachus. To make the recognition happen, the goddess Athena temporarily transforms the father into a young aristocrat. For Telemachus, however, the transformation itself can be read as the epiphany of a god. [[GN 2017.07.06.]] Read more