Winged Words

Dear everybody who might read this, be proud of me. Be very very proud of me. In fact, you can be proud of yourself too for knowing me and being vaguely associated with me. (Haha nah, I’m just kidding. But seriously, though.)

What’s to be proud of?

You’re reading the very words of one who has finished reading Homer’s The Odyssey, a 400 word long epic poetry made prose (wait for it) in the course of 2 days. Oh yeah, uh huh. *Boogies*

Did you get that? 400 pages of oldish English littered with too many Greek gods and monsters and people and too many stories and their re-tellings. In two days.

If that’s not an achievement unlocked, I don’t know what is.

Hail the Son of Laertes, seed of Zeus. “I am Odysseus!” Yeah, pretty smart of him to yell that to the Cyclops he blinded who prayed to his dad, Poseidon, to avenge him. Why would you incur the wrath of someone who is called “Earth-shaker”?

Responding to The Odyssey off the cuff, I’d say it’s really very much like Beowulf in the sense that there’s so much of story-telling. (“O you, who are you? Where do you hail? How did you get here?” And mind you our main characters repeat their stories to everyone they meet on every single new island and they do meet a lot of people in this work. That’s how it’s 400 pages long.) That it’s in prose helps only that little bit. It’s still very much in the epic poetry sense of things. At least, that’s what I’m getting.

Also, I have my questions on Odysseus. I may have read wrong (that sort of thing is bound to happen along the way in such a long book) but he did end up as the bedfellow of more than one goddess…right? And he slept with the Goddess Circe who turned his comrades to pigs? Who he pretended he was going to kill and then made her swear not to hurt him and then went up to bed with her? Like…whoa. Whoa. No. Disturbing much.

And why didn’t Penelope turn her wooers out? They were practically eating her estate away. She cried a lot in the story but I guess that can’t be helped when she didn’t even know if her husband was dead or alive and people were trying to woo her to marry one of them. I did wonder a lot about her mentality throughout the story. Another work we’re suppose to read later on is The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. I think it’s about Penelope’s side of the story and from the first few lines, it looks like it’s in modern English (Thank God) and I’m actually quite interested to start reading it for her POV.

All in all, I just felt that the whole thing was so long-drawn out and very, very slow. I suppose it’s written that way to make the language beautiful and whatever but it really got on my nerves. These people could spend a day, a whole day, talking about their past adventure. (which, on more than one occasion, happened several years ago) Too much. Talking. Not enough. Action. When there was action, though, I read much quicker and I was actually into it. For a while, at least for as long (or short) as it lasted. Half the time I was lost in the story telling. Who’s telling the story now? Odysseus? Telemachus? Nestor? Menelaus? Lost. One telling example of this ‘inception’ in story telling was the part where the old maid (I forgot her name. Too many greek names. I know it started with E) was washing Odysseus’ feet. She didn’t know it was Odysseus because the goddess Athene had disguised him to look like an old beggar man. But she recognized this scar on Odysseus foot and then the work plunged into this page long historical recount of how Odysseus got the scar as a young man before coming back up to the present. Talk about going off tangent. I don’t really care how a boar cut Odysseus with its horn when he was a young man. If you tell me he has a scar, I believe you. Truly.

Anyways, these are all pretty superficial stuff and my immediate reactions as a slightly-worn out reader of the Odyssey. If you wanted a more intellectual discourse on it, I can’t promise you one but if it gets interesting when we talk about this in class (and after more heartfelt reviews into Sparknotes or Shmoop or something), I just might revisit our dear Odysseus again.

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