Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Odyssey - Check-in the Last

And here we are. I can't believe I finished. I was even on time, it's just been a really hectic week so I didn't get a chance to do this post till now.

The last books were mainly about the preparation for the slaughter, about the slaughter itself and about the aftermath. I think that, of those, the slaughter was my favorite... though slightly gory. What I REALLY didn't like is the last book, where nothing really happened except a visit to Ody's dad and even that seemed kind of pointless.

A few random things that struck me:

  • Ody, when still playing the stranger and lying to Penelope about how he'd seen Odysseus and all that, says to her: "In fact Odysseus would have been here beside you long ago but he thought it the better, shrewder course to recoup his fortunes roving through the world." And Penelope just accepts this. Seriously? You don't see anything wrong with this Penelope?
  • Athena's meddling pisses me off in these last books. At one point she actually makes the suitors laugh uncontrollably. Even laughter is no longer their personal choice?
  • The way Penelope listens to Telemachus gets to me. I mean I know he's the man, but she's the Mom, shouldn't she get some respect from him? Honestly.
  • And last, but certainly not least, when the suitors try to get Ody to forgive and forget, they offer to pay him back for all the stuff they used up at his house by 'laying a tax upon the land'. Now, is that really fair? The saddest part is that nothing's really changed...
And that's it. I can't say that The Odyssey is going on my favorites list, but I am soooo glad I read it. Thanks, Trish. And I was thinking of reading Ulysses next too, so I'm totally in for that!


Shelley said...

That laughter scene was freaky! I didn't really get that.
Even though there are several times that some of the women are treated very disrespectfully, I'm still glad there were so many female characters. Sometimes the women are just ignored in other old works.
I plan to tackle Ulysses too, but I don't know how it will go!

Erin said...

Great points! I forgot about the parts where Odysseus says he chose riches over his wife and his home and the suitors offer to instate a tax to repay what they've eaten. And it wasn't much of a battle with Athena deflecting the suitors' arrows and spears!

Telemachus seemed to go from a whiny baby at the beginning of the story to a pompous jerk at the end. I agree, he should've respected Penelope more!

joanna said...

Shelley - very freaky! what a strange thing to do! You're right about the number of female characters. And I'm also glad that Penelope was in the end portrayed as shrewd, that helped.

Erin - Telemachus isn't a great character, really. Although he develops a lot I guess so his character development is probably interesting to dissect!

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...


Are you watching any of the adaptations to celebrate?

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I think the only point I might disagree with you on is Athena's meddling being annoying as hell in the last couple of books. For me it was the ENTIRE Odyssey! ;)

It's been so fun to see everyone's perspective of the book and especially how Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus are perceived by each of us. I think we've come to some conclusions that Odysseus is an ass, Telemachus is a whiner, and Penelope needs to slap them both as hard as she can and perhaps move to the island of Lesbos?

Thanks for reading with us Joanna--not my favorite either but like you I'm so glad I read it. Ulysses, huh? I have my copy all ready to go but am scared to death of it!

joanna said...

Alex - Nah, I think I've had my fill of this storyline for now. Although I'm always in the mood for Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? so maybe!

Trish - I'm scared too, but I think it'll be fun to read Ulysses with you guys!