Summary: Homer's Odyssey

Attributed with the Iliad Homer, Odyssey reflects the greatness of the remote Greek civilization with brilliance and provides a point of reference in the field of epic poetry. The fantastic adventures of the hero (Odysseus in Greek and Ulysses to the Romans) constitute the framework of the Odyssey, epic poem that begins with the Iliad the Greek literature and constitutes one of the greatest epics of world literature.
Front of the Iliad, the Odyssey has a less linear structure, but no less unitary. If it is possible to distinguish three narrative nuclei (the journey of Telemachus to Peloponnese in search of news about his father, the adventures of Ulysses, narrated by himself during his stay in the country of the phaeacians and his return to Ithaca, and revenge on the suitors of his patient and faithful wife Penelope), these are skillfully interwoven and United by the fortitude of the character of the hero. In both poems the hand of a master poet, who dominated the past inherited epic stuff, order in a set that, despite the contradictions and inconsistencies of the oral poetry is undeniable, just captivating to the reader.

The poem is composed of 24 books or songs in hexametros, division, probably due to the Alexandrian scholars. The action begins ten years after the fall of Troy, whose siege Ulises had taken part in the Greek camp. At the beginning of the plot, the hero is located on the island of Ogygia, captive of the goddess Calypso, while in its homeland, the island of Ithaca, his wife Penelope, unfamiliar of the fate of her husband and stalked by the suitors, sends his son Telemachus to Pylos and Sparta to find out news about it. This episode is the first four books comprising the Telemachy.
Released by Calipso thanks to the pleas of the goddess Athena, Ulises flees in a raft, but a storm triggered by the god Poseidon releases it to the shores of the phaeacians, where just Nausica, daughter of King Alcinous, before which it is carried. After a banquet where he hears a Bard singing his own exploits and those of Achilles in the Trojan war, Ulysses has chance to show his skill and strength in a few competitions, and do an extensive account of the vicissitudes of his return trip, which has taken him from Troy to the country of the phaeacians.
Among the most important facts that the own Ulysses tells the phaeacians are staying among the Lotus-eaters, or Lotus eaters; his fight with the Cyclops Polyphemus, which leaves blind; the episode in which the companions of Ulysses unleashed the wineskin gift of Aeolus, God of wind, which triggers tremendous storms that dragged them to the country of cannibals laestrygonians, which cut most of the expedition; visit the sorceress Circe, which transformed into pigs to the companions of Ulysses; the passage of the hero with the land of the dead, where with his mother and the Trojan war figures; the flight of the song of the sirens; the transit between Scylla and Charybdis; and the death of all those who went with him to try Trinacria take cattle of the God Helios.

Circe and Ulysses (detail of an oil painting by J. W. Waterhouse, 1891)
At the beginning of the thirteenth book, Ulysses arrives at Ithaca, after saying goodbye to Alcinous. There, introduced in his house dressed as a beggar, it is recognized by his son Telemachus, which persuaded Penelope to announce to her suitors that he marry one who is able to stretch the Arch of her husband. After all, Ulysses only manage to do it. Thus reveals his identity and starts a fight in which are dead all the traitors vassals who pursued his wife. Ulises is recognized by Penelope and her own father, Laertes, and the story ends when Athena imposed a reconciliation, in the battle between Ulysses and the relatives of the dead, the two sides.
The authorship of the Odyssey, as is the case with the Iliad, has raised many controversies among researchers. Both poems Homer is traditionally attributed. This raised the problem of explaining the differences in style between the two books, but these may be simply due to how different topic. The Iliad and the Odyssey were composed around the 8th century BC, when the Greeks, after a long period in which had not had no system of writing, adapted the Phoenician alphabet to their language. It seems, in any case, the Odyssey is back to the Iliad.
Despite the variety of adventures narrated in the story, the Odyssey responds basically to a unitary conception, that it makes it likely that the work is due to a single author. In it are cleverly merged and combined a series of legends belonging to an ancient oral tradition behind which is the background of a historical character. The Odyssey collects, in all likelihood, legends of the times in which the Greeks explored and colonized the distant shores of the West. In the Western Mediterranean was a set of myths about fabulous beings; and thus, the Odyssey refers the terrible Cyclops, the seductress Calypso, of the sorceress Circe, treacherous sirens. Also, Ulises problems returning to their homeland remind, undoubtedly the historical period that the Kings of the Mycenaean era (prior to the 12th century BC) had possibly to fight enemies who undermined a power already in decline.

The voyage of Ulysses
The conception of the poem is predominantly dramatic. Despite the dangers that threaten him in his journey, Ulysses wants to return to his small island, where there will be to recover the throne. There are, however, variations between moments of greatest stress and dilatory moments. The drama is condensed at the end, but ends with an appeasement. The Odyssey lacks perhaps the grandeur of the Iliad, but has the appeal of a most varied action and ingenuity and accuracy in descriptions to the detriment of idealization, which highlights on the way to expose the episodes and characters through details family, all of which binds rich fantasy underlying stories that Ulysses of his adventures.
Odyssey presents a number of new aspects in relation to the Iliad. Firstly, the passions aroused by the beauty of nature. The second is the variety of human types offered, deserving special attention the presence of female figures. Thirdly, the poem is populated with wonderful facts: sea monsters, haunted ships, mysterious drugs, metamorphosis, to the more travel beyond, magicians, etc. The paradox is that these wonderful events aim to exalt, despite their fragility, the human condition. It is very significant in this connection that Ulises prefer his mortal wife to the immortality that Calypso offers if it remains on its side. Accents moral poem (the crimes are punished, the patience of Penelope in waiting and the courage of the hero are rewarded) contrast with the pessimism that emerges from the Iliad.
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