May 10Liked by The Rational Walk

I enjoyed reading your summary. I read both books in a classical literature course at Auburn but I don't remember any details.

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What do you think about the story Odysseus tells about his fantastical journeys? What actually happened to him and his men? He is a cunning liar after all.

The story moves in and out of magical realms in interesting ways. The structure itself is so interesting.

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May 8·edited May 8Author

I find it all fascinating. The flashback sequence when he's in the court of the Phaeacians is presented extremely well, although of course the narrator is hardly reliable! Odysseus presents obvious tall tales known to the audience about his background when he wants to hide his real identity, and the same is probably true for his adventures with his men. Since they all died, there are no witnesses in the story to contract him.

My favorite story was when they landed on the island of the Sun God and, despite the warnings from Tiresias to not kill and eat the cattle, the men could not resist and took advantage of Odysseus falling asleep to act. That was the second time his men screwed up while he slept, the first being when they opened the bag given by Aeolus that suppressed the winds. Odysseus was within sight of Ithaca when he fell asleep and when his men opened the bag, they were swept back out to sea.

Both of those stories seem to be about the risk of temptation. The men ate the cattle and paid for it with their lives when they were shipwrecked by the gods, and Odysseus ended up spending all those years on Calypso's island as a result, delaying his return home.

I find the mythology fascinating, especially the fact that all of these stories were so well known to Homer's audience. Now that I am more familiar with all of this, I hope to better understand the tragedies.

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