The Odyssey

The third work that I read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge V falls into the mythology category and it is not on my 1001 list.

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic that revolves around Odysseus, the Greek king of Ithaca, and his long journey home after the ten year Trojan War. On his way home he and his companions are captured by Polyphemus, a Cyclops.  During their escape Odysseus blinds Polyphemus and then he stupidly tells the Cyclops his real name.  Polyphemus tells his father Poseidon, the sea god, what Odysseus did to him.  Poseidon cursed Odysseus to wander for the next ten years before returning home.  As a result of the curse, he lost his crew and was captured by the nymph Calypso.

Many years later, when Poseidon is away from Mount Olympus, the goddess Athena, discussed Odysseus’s plight with Zeus the king of the gods.  They determined that it was time for Odysseus to return home.

Things back home were not going all that well either.  Most of Odysseus’s people believed that he was dead.  Suitors pursue his wife, Penelope, and want her hand in marriage.  Athena journeys to Ithaca to meet with his son Telemachus to encourage him to get a crew and ship and search for word about his father.  On the journey, Telemachus learned that his father was still alive.  The suitors, though, don’t want Odysseus to return and they also plot to kill his son. Eventually though, Odysseus and Telemachus take on the suitors.  I don’t want to give away the end for those who are unfamiliar with the story.

This story about Odysseus’s long return home to his wife and son after the Trojan War is a fun and entertaining read.  The antics of the gods and humans are delightful.  There are battles, competitions, great stories, debauchery, and innocent people caught in the middle.  My main complaint about this work is the treatment of Penelope in the epic.  I understand that this was written a long time ago, however, I really got tired of Odysseus and Telemachus ordering Penelope back to her weaving.  If you can put this aside, I would highly recommend this work.  It’s a classic.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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6 Responses to The Odyssey

  1. Carl V. says:

    I’m not sure why but reading this, or the Iliad, has always felt intimidating to me. Given that they were the forerunners for the kind of storytelling I enjoy I really should give them a try at some point. I’m surprised this wasn’t on the 1001 list.

  2. TBM says:

    I was extremely surprised that this wasn’t on the 1001. I understand that not all great books and stories can be, but this is Homer. And the fact that it is Homer can be intimidating. I found, though, that the storytelling is so good that I forgot that this author is so highly regarded and found myself immersed in the work.

    • Carl V. says:

      That helps. If you can find yourself immersed in a book then the author has succeeded, as it is no longer about him/her but about the story itself.

      • TBM says:

        I agree! And it helps when the story is pure entertainment. I’m not very familiar with Greek mythology, but I did enjoy getting a taste of their traditions and beliefs. And I learned not to make the gods mad! They get even.

  3. Hanna says:

    This is what happens when there are so many gods… chaos XD

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