Monday, November 8, 2010
The Odyssey - Check-in the First
The first Monday of The Oddyssey readalong organised by the lovely Trish has come around far too soon! I only managed to read four books out of the six I was meant to. Oh well, maybe I'll make up the time this week. Or maybe I'll finish way later than everyone else, but at least I'll have read it, which will be a huge achievement for me!
On this first Monday, Trish posted a short summary of what happened in the first 6 chapters and asked a couple of discussion questions, which I'll answer here.
How does reading The Odyssey compare to my expectations? Well, I was expecting to be bored stiff and I'm not, so that's gotta be a good start. :-) Most of my reading time is on the subway to and from work and I thought that I wouldn't be able to get into it enough. I'm finding it very readable though (the Fagles translation) and I'm enjoying it.
Trish's second question actually addresses one of the things I wanted to talk about anyway, the involvement of the Gods and especially Athena. They're really involved in everything aren't they? Athena especially seems meddlesome in this story, although I must say that I'm surprised by how good she is since most of her meddling aims to help people in need. I suppose someone must help them, since it's other Gods who put them in various complicated predicaments in the first place.
It must be very easy to be able to explain everything away with the Gods. Good things that happen, bad things that happen, your destiny, everything. Did free will feature at all in the ancient world? I guess it must have, since you could go against the Gods and be punished for that. But the role that the Gods play in everything is enormous - I'd love to time travel back there and see what that was like.
I do find the idea of the Greek Gods great though - that they interact with each other and with mortals and that they really they have lives of their own. The path I follow has similar ideas; this way of thinking really works for me.
But boy oh boy did they like their sacrifices! The sacrifice scenes didn't appeal to me at all, way too gory and cruel. I caught myself thinking that I'm glad that doesn't happen any more. And then I remembered Anya's line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, about Thanksgiving - "To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice... with pie." :-)
The Odyssey so far is better than I expected. And I haven't even met Odysseus yet!