The SFFaudio Podcast #182 – READALONG: The Odyssey by Homer (Books XXI to XXIV)

October 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #182 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the sixth of a six part series, about the books XXI, XXII, XXIII and XXIV of The Odyssey by Homer.

Talked about on today’s show:
The E.V. Rieu translation and the , The Great Bow, Odysseus Strings His Bow, The Battle In The Hall, Slaughter In The Hall, Odysseus And Penelope, The Great Rooted Bed, The Feud Is Ended, Peace, flexing that bow, canny suitors, does Penelope know what’s going on?, the Wikipedia entry for The Odyssey (and the Slaying Of The Suitors):

The next day, at Athena‚Äôs prompting, Penelope maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus’ bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then turns his arrows on the Suitors and with the help of Athena, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, he kills all the Suitors. Odysseus and Telemachus hang twelve of their household maids, who had betrayed Penelope or had sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the goatherd Melanthius, who had mocked and abused Odysseus. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She is hesitant, but accepts him when he mentions that their bed was made from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the Odyssey, and the rest to be an interpolation.

The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes, who likewise accepts his identity only when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him.

The citizens of Ithaca have followed Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their leader points out that Odysseus has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to give up the vendetta, a deus ex machina. After this, Ithaca is at peace once more, concluding the Odyssey.

Melanthius prompts his own mutilation, a mutilating evil dude, “horror swept through the suitors”, on the question of the axe heads, the “battle master”, “cased in bronze”, a “turbid jet” of blood, how awesome would it be to see a bardic performance of The Odyssey?, Sir Ian McKellen, the compliant bard, the ancient Greek holy books, the host-guest relationship, the morality of killing your house-guests, why should you read The Odyssey? Because it doesn’t present a world classifiable into good and evil, the inviolability, Iranian hospitality, how Iranians talk (a circuitous path to making a point), why can’t Odysseus even trust his dad?, the primacy of patriarch, the killing of the twelve maidens, what is the moral message?, an unjustified liar, Agamemnon ghost, “that Penelope’s pretty great”, “talk about odd behavior”, the immovable (marriage) bed, an olive tree, “the gods have made you daft”, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, Odysseus in Antarctica?, Odysseus runs his life crazily, Odysseus’ name means “trouble”, impiety to Polyphemus, the Trojan War was Odysseus’s fault, a kind of comedy like Voltaire’s Candide, a satire of The Odysseus, True History by Lucian of Samosata, “the natural ending”?, Athena’s solution, the end of The Stand by Stephen King, is the deus ex machina ending satisfying?, Poseidon’s rage, the Norweigan version of The Odyssey (Beowulf), the Beowulf movie, Beowulf is tough braggart but is not wise, melancholy gods, the hero is the villain, the merciless Odysseus, the unquestionable Odysseus.

Thirteen Axe Heads?

The Odyssey - Marvel Classics art by Jeff Jodloman

The bard at work from Classics Illustrated

Posted by Jesse Willis