Homer is the legendary author to whom the authorship of the Iliad and the Odyssey is attributed, he is one of the greatest literary artists.
Odyssey as an Epic
An Odyssey is a narrative poem, written in an exalted style, celebrating heroic adventures, mythical and historical. The essential qualities of an epic thus have been stated by an eminent writer "unity of action, rapidity, the art of beginning in the middle, ornamental smile and use of supernatural.
The principal theme of Odyssey is the voyage to home from Ithaca after the war of Troy has ended. This is a single theme which dominates the story. The voyage involves various adventures which the hero, Odysseus, has to go through. The Odyssey is essentially a tale of adventure. Although the story at a whole is certainly characterized by the unity of action, yet there are number of digressions in the course of the narrative. These digressions mainly relate to episodes concerning the War of Troy which broods in the background.
In the Odyssey, Homer begins the story with 'median res' that is, in the middle of the things, at a point in the tenth year after the end of War of Troy. The Odyssey is a story in which the Gods and Goddess also play a part. A theme functions as the protector and champion of Odysseus and plays a leading role in the story by guiding him at every step. Zeus also plays a important part in so far as it is in obedience to him that the Nymph Calypso releases Odysseus from captivity. The underworld too figures in the Odyssey. We find plenty use of vivid similes in the course of narration in the Odyssey. An epic generally contains a number of marvellous elements as the role played by the Gods, Odysseus's encounter with the one-eyed giant by the name, Polyphemus , his visit to Hall of Hades and talking to the soul of various dead persons.
In this way, the poem reinforces the cultural importance of being both a good guest and a good host. Ancient Greeks also prized intelligence and physical ability. Odysseus uses a combination of wit and strength to overcome the obstacles thrown in his path. In this way, through Odysseus’s adventures, Homer describes the heroic values of hospitality, cunning, and bravery prized by the Greek society that was the original audience of the poem.
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© 2022 Nilanjana Jangra