The Odyssey: Homer and His Narrative Structure

The Odyssey: Homer and His Story Structure

Kalini Stevens The Odyssey- Homer and his narrative structure The structure of the Odyssey renders Homer’s legendary a fascinating point of view of the tale he informs. Among the very first things that may strike lots of readers about the Odyssey, especially in contrast to the Old Testament or perhaps much of the Iliad, is that we are clearly in the presence of an extremely smart story teller who is controling particular conventions of literature in amazing methods. The story can be divided easily into 3 threads. The very first two of which are stitched independent of one another, and the 3rd takes these two threads and weaves them together.

The structure of the Odyssey is extremely intricate, however very smart. Complicated in the way that these threads have their own exposition, prompting incident and rising action but the third part intertwines the climax, falling action and resolution. As seen in the structure chart or climax chart below, Homer’s legendary produces a sense that there is more than one plot. The first part, woes of Telemachus, sets the scene back in your home in Ithaca; the middle area recounts Odysseus’ journeys while highlighting the significance of returning home; and the final section is what takes place when dad and son unite versus a typical opponent.

This varies significantly to the standard structuring, displayed in grey, which would normally follow a single character on his one dimensional mission. This partially attributes to the wonderful finishing effect of the epic. Along with that, revealed regularly in books 9-12, Homer alters the storyteller, from an unseen voice to Odysseus retelling his own trips. “Odysseus, the great teller of tales, introduced his story: …” (Fagles, 2111) “I approached my host with cordial, winning word: ‘So, you ask me the name I’m known by, Cyclops? … No one? that’s my name. ‘” (Fagles, 222) The first person ecount in the centre of the epic can be compared to the climax of traditional stories; the excitement of the first person convention is perfectly timed to fit in that location. Had it been written in as the very first part of the epic, the 10 My own, prepared from the contents in The Odyssey of Homer (S. H. Butcher; Andrew Lang)- See bibliography from The Odyssey (Robert Fagles) Narrative structure graph: comparing The Odyssey to the standard structure0 Kalini Stevens anticipation would have been lost. It would be a pitiful story if it started strong, with tales of bold and sacrifice, only to merge to the story of a boy ourning the lack of his daddy and the presence of his mom’s wooers. Where it is, it juxtaposes Telemachus’ introduction, with the objective of improving the success of the result of The Terrific Wanderings. In addition to all of this, his use of imagery is moving. Homer uses descriptions such as emotive adjectives and extended similes to get readers engaged, which does not include in a lot of standard epics. He often uses the modern-day technique of showing-not-telling to portray the numerous characters, places and occasions of the Odyssey. “A great fire blazed on the hearth and the smell f. sweetwood burning bright … down the island. Deep inside, the goddess Calypso … moved back and forth before her loom, her golden shuttle weaving. … Why, even a deathless god who came upon that location would gaze in wonder, heart entranced with satisfaction. Hermes the guide, mighty huge killer, stood there, spell-bound …” (Fagles, 154) This is among numerous examples in which we exist with an in-depth depiction which enables the audience to translate the language, however not struggle to follow the plot. In addition, specifically in contrast o Ancient texts such as the Old Testament, this is an odd yet efficient method to use. Merely taking a look at the very first chapter; “In the beginning God produced the paradises and the earth. …” (Gen 1)2 Homer would have composed all thirty-six verses in thirty-six books, each rupturing at the binding with images. When provided in full, the text above is half a page (or twenty lines) long, proving Homer’s special ability to draw an audience in with words, despite the fact he is describing a cavern and not much more. This capability help to draw the audience in by pulling us into the state of mind of the characters.

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In the times of the Ancient Greeks, they were very superstitious and believed in the presence of God, monsters and Muses. The nameless storyteller, as mentioned formerly, hires a Muse to begin the story. “Sing to me of the male, Muse, the male of twists and turns driven time and once again off course, when he had actually ransacked the hallowed heights of Troy.” (Fagles, 77) When a bard was beginning his efficiency, he would frequently request inspiration from a Muse to assist him throughout the program. Offering the Muse this liberty prepares us for the more intricate story 2 The Holy Bible Kalini Stevens tructure of the Odyssey, which relies on descriptive flashbacks as it moves through Odysseus’ treacherous journey. 3 The Muse can likewise be viewed as an excuse to fill the legendary with imagery and rich descriptions; this will immerse the audience in the words of the tale. Scholars such as FA Wolf, more recently S H Butcher and A Lang among others, have concurred that the Odyssey was passed down through oral custom. Something scholars have not agreed on is whether Homer even existed. “Beyond a few fragments of info, historians and classicists can just speculate about the life of the guy who omposed the Iliad and the Odyssey. The details are couple of.” (GradeSaver. com)4 However, had Homer, or anyone else, stood and performed a piece like this, they would be allowed to blend the order of the events informed. The main factor for this is in the times of the Ancient Greeks, this story was popular, so foreshadowing event or spoiling the plot would not trigger the audience to lose interest. The structure of the Odyssey is an interesting one; it is complex however not onerous, detailed but not dull and many of all it has endured the test of time through these characteristics.

It puts an intriguing twist on a well-known tale to create astonishing effects. I truthfully think the curious concept of stitching threads independently only to loop them together to finish is an amazingly efficient way to put together a narrative. Homer’s daring structure influenced me so much that this essay follows his impressive narrative structure. Bibliography: Butcher, S. H, Lang, A 1930, The Odyssey of Homer, Humphries; Co. Ltd., Great Britain Fagles, R 1996, The Odyssey, Penguin Classics, United States of America 3 http://www. sparknotes. com/lit/odyssey/ quotes. html 4 http://www. gradesaver. com/author/homer/

Kalini Stevens Page, D 1976, The Homeric Odyssey, Greenwood Press, Inc., United States of America. Schein, S, 1996, Checking out the Odyssey, Princeton Academic Press, United States or America. The Bible S H Butcher and A Lang, Homer: The Odyssey, Ancient History Sourcebook, n. d. Available from:; http://www. fordham. edu/halsall/ancient/ odysseyBL. html; The Odyssey: Important quotes, SparkNotes, n. d. Available from:; http://www. sparknotes. com/lit/odyssey/ quotes. html; The Biography of Homer, Grade Savers, n. d. Available from:; http://www. gradesaver. com/author/homer/;