Monday, November 22, 2010

The Odyssey - Check-in the Third

I'm finding Homer's The Odyssey a very curious beast - after reading a chunk of it I find myself thinking, ok, I've now had enough of this old language, time for something different. And then, out of nowhere, the chapter ends on a cliffhanger of sorts and I'm compelled to read on. Who would have expected this from such a classic? I'm very surprised at how much of it I'm happy to read in one sitting.

I'm reading The Odyssey for Trish's read-a-long, which I'm enjoying very much. The Monday posts are like one big literature class, with everyone picking up on something different and focusing on various aspects of the story. It's great!

Last week, we were reading books 13-18. I finished Book 18 this morning, so I'm right on track. This section covered Odysseus landing back in Ithaca, Athena making him appear as a beggar and him going onto his estate in this unrecognisable form to plan his revenge. I guess 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' should be this section's tagline... boy, does it take him time to plot out his plan! I would have lost my cool a thousand times already! I guess that's why I'm not a famous hero. ;-)

I found a lot of this section slow going, nothing really happens. There's a lot of talking and scene setting but that's pretty much it.

A lot of it annoyed me too. Like if beggars piss the suitors off so much how come they don't just kick them out? Why do they have to keep them in the banquet hall and insult them instead? Honestly.

And the whole having to be patient thing. Ody's been away so long, how can he wait even longer before he takes his house and his wife back? Maybe I shouldn't be annoyed by that, maybe I should aspire to it instead... Hmmm...

Also, what's up with Eumaeus the loyal swineherd? Why does the text talk directly to him, in the second person? As in 'And you replied, Eumaeus, loyal swineherd'. Is there something I'm not getting?

I'm still enjoying reading this though and am really looking forward to the next bit, when Ody meets up with Penelope... Finally. :-)


Kristi said...

I felt the same way about the writing saying, "and you said..." I kept noticing it in books 17 and 18 and I thought it was very odd. I also thought that it was weird that the plan to revenge is so drawn out. What is he waiting for?

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Oh I love cold revenges, a la Count of MonteCristo. Of course I would have also lost it the second I landed, but I admire someone who can plot like that.

How’s Penelope portrait? Someone one can relate to or your typical classic heroine?

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

OK--I'm glad you picked up on the "You" for the swineherd because I noticed that as well and wondered if I had missed something. Why would the narrator (who is omniscient, right?) be talking directly to him?

And yes, I was greatly annoyed with this section as well. Even this morning when I was typing up my summary I could barely remember what I had read yesterday. Hopefully the last six books end with a punch though!!

And I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I love how interactive all you participants are with one another and how everyone is finding something new to share with their reading. It's been a great ride!!

joanna said...

Kristi - he's way too patient for me to identify with!

Alex - Penelope isn't actually talked about a lot. She just waits... And she's expected to listen to her son just because he's a man. I think not. :-)

Trish - I love the interaction too. Thanks for introducing me to readalongs, I definitely see them in my future.