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Assignment Questions

A Critical Discussion on Homer’s The Odyssey Book Extract

TITLE: Give a close critical discussion of the following extract (shown below) from Book One of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’.

[Recalling Aegisthus,Zeus harangued the immortal powers:
“Ah how shameless – the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all miseries, yes,
but they themselves, with their own reckless ways,
compound their pains beyond their proper share.
Look at Aegisthus now …
above and beyond his share he stole Atrides’ wife,
he murdered the warlord coming home from Troy
though he know it meant his own total ruin.
Far in advance we told him so ourselves,
dispatching the guide, the giant-killer Hermes.
`Don’t murder the man,’ he said, `don’t court his wife. Beware, revenge will come from Orestes, Agamemnon’s son, that day he comes of age and ‘longs for his native land.’
So Hermes warned, with all the good will in the world.
but would Aegisthus’ hardened heart give way?
Now he pays the price – all at a single stroke.”

And sparkling-eyed Athena drove the matter home:
“Father, son of Cronus, our high and mighty king,
surely he goes down to a death he earned in full!
Let them all die so, all who do such things.
But my heart breaks for Odysseus,
that seasoned veteran cursed by fate so long –
far from his loved ones still, he suffers torments
off on a wave-washed island rising at the centre of the seas.
A dark wooded island, and there a goddess makes her home,
a daughter of Atlas, wicked Titan who sounds the deep
in all its depths, whose shoulders lift on high
the colossal pillars thrusting earth and sky apart.
Atlas’ daughter it is who holds Odysseus captive,
luckless man – despite his tears, forever trying
to spellbind his heart with suave, seductive words
and wipe all thought of Ithaca from his mind.
But he, straining for no more than a glimpse
of hearth-smoke drifting up from his own land,
Odysseus longs to die …” ] (Book One, ‘The Odyssey’)

REQUIREMENTS: The paper must provide a close and detailed discussion of this passage from book one of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’. It must discuss what is mythical about the passage and consider the gods and attributes. The paper must fully concentrate on discussing this passage from the text noting all the relevant points that arise from an analysis of this passage. It must be concise and to the point with no irrelevant material. It needs to also explain what is taking place in this extract and discuss the
mythological context of the extract.

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