At first glance, those first two questions indeed seem troubling.For the Odyssey tells of a long-dead epoch that seems utterly alien to us. Indeed, the Bronze Age Aegean was a distant memory even to the original audiences of these works.But age seems only to have burnished the luster of this epic.It may be precisely because of its very strangeness and distance that generation after generation of readers have come to love it so much.This strangeness and distance throw sharply into focus the timeless human issues that ride along on Odysseus's journey, voyaging to strange lands on the shores of wine-dark seas, dealing face-to-face with gods and monsters.
A Single Riveting Question... and the Others It Raises
The epic's exploration centers around a single question about the protagonist, and the two related questions it immediately suggests:Why does Odysseus long so powerfully to go home? What holds people together and keeps them going in extreme situationn such as war or shipwreck? Why do we love our own so strongly? It is this universal theme that seems of paramount importance. What does it mean to live?Professor Vandiver builds her analyses skillfully around meticulous, insightful examinations of the most important episodes in the Odyssey.She explains the cultural assumptions that lie behind Homer's lines, and you join her in weighing the basic critical and interpretive issues.Just as knowledge of the Trojan War legend is necessary for understanding the Iliad-available as a companion course-the Odyssey assumes that its audience knows how the war ended and what happened next.
Learn the Story between the Epics
Lecture 1. We begin with an overview of the traditional Trojan War story that took place after the Iliad. Next we examine the difference between kleos epic, with its primary focus on glory, and nostos epic, which focuses instead on homecoming.
Lecture 2. This lecture defines and examines xenia, a concept that is of key importance for understanding the Odyssey and the characters of Telemachos and the suitors.Xenia is usually translated "guest-host relationship." It is a reciprocal relationship between two xenoi-a word which means guest, host, stranger, friend, and foreigner. It is not based on friendship, but rather on obligation.In addition to examining xenia, the lecture also highlights two other important narrative elements established in the Telemachy: the use of Agamemnon's story as a parallel for Odysseus's own Telemachos's need to assert his maturity.
Lecture 3. In this lecture, we turn to Odysseus himself as a character in the Odyssey. The lecture concentrates on the aspects of Odysseus's character that are introduced in these two books: his desire to return home as a desire to reestablish his own identity his superb skills as a rhetorician, able to craft his speech to appeal to whomever he is addressing.
Enter Odysseus... in His Own Voice
Lecture 4. This lecture continues to follow Odysseus's interactions with the Phaiakians, and moves on into the beginnings of his own great narrative of his past adventures.The lecture addresses several key themes, including the continued importance of xenia as offered by the Phaiakians and how the conception of kleos in the Odyssey differs from that of the Iliad. Professor Vandiver also discusses how the appearance of the bard Demodokos in Book VIII may reflect the original three-day performance structure of the Odyssey. As the lecture concludes, we see how the encounter with the cyclops Polyphemos shows Odysseus at his most clever and quick-thinking but also causes all his subsequent troubles.
Lecture 5. We continue following Odysseus's own narrative of the "Great Wanderings"-Odysseus's narrative of his trip to Hades-including an examination of his encounter with Circe and the implications of the sexual double standard reflected in it and in the rest of the Odyssey. A Journey into HadesThe lecture looks at the first half of the pivotal episode in the Great Wanderings and ends with a discussion of the reasons for and effects of the abrupt break in the text, where the poem returns briefly to the third-person narrative.
Lecture 6. This lecture continues to look at Odysseus's narrative of his journey to Hades. Professor Vandiver notes elements in the Hades narrative that seem particularly designed to enchant Odysseus's Phaiakian audience.She also considers the vexing question of Odysseus's own veracity before moving on to the final episode of the "Great Wanderings"-the killing of Helios's cattle and the death of Odysseus's remaining companions.
Lecture 7. This lecture moves to the second half of the Odyssey by discussing the change in pace and subject matter in the "Ithakan"books.The lecture looks in detail at several important moments in the story: Odysseus's arrival on Ithakathe significance for xenia of the formulaic lines he speaks here for the third time his encounter with the disguised Athena their plan for his vengeance on the suitors.
Lecture 8. The two books covered in this lecture, XVI and XVII, include Odysseus's reunion with his son Telemachos and his entry into his own palace disguised as a beggar.Follow Odysseus's Trials of SuppressionThroughout this section of the Odyssey the poet stresses Odysseus's emotional trials, for he must not: show joy at the sight of Telemachos display anger at the evil goatherd, Melanthios reveal sorrow at the death of his dog Argos.Each encounter reiterates Odysseus's supreme self-control and moves him closer to his utmost danger and most extreme trial.
Lecture 9. This lecture looks in close detail at the two lengthy conversations between Odysseus-still disguised as a beggar-and Penelope in Book XIX, and the scene that separates those conversations, in which Eurykleia recognizes Odysseus.
Lecture 10. This lecture, which covers Books XX through XXII, examines the "contest of the bow," Odysseus's revelation of his identity to the loyal slaves Eumaios and Philoitios, and the slaughter of the suitors.Professor Vandiver continues her consideration of Penelope's knowledge and motives, as well as her focus on Homer's narrative strategies for increasing the sense of inevitability as the suitors' doom approaches.
Lecture 11. This last lecture on the Odyssey itself discusses the final reunion of Odysseus and Penelope in Book XXIII and the resolution of several themes and issues in Book XXIV.Does Homer's Ending Work?The lecture concludes with an examination of the Odyssey's ending and a discussion of whether or not it is effective.
Lecture 12. In this final lecture, Professor Vandiver turns to the question of whether the Trojan War has any historical basis.After looking at the history of this question, she recounts the story of Heinrich Schliemann's 19th-century excavations at Hisarlik and Mycenae and examines some of the issues still left unresolved by those excavations.
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|Title||The Odyssey of Homer (Great Courses #302)|
|Publisher||The Great Courses|
|File size||5.7 Mb|
|eBook format||Audio CD, (torrent)|
|Book rating||4.38 (88 votes)
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