Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Homer’s Odyssey – is it just me?

Posted by Andrew Girle on August 1, 2010

I have recently finished reading the Odyssey, and initially I marvelled at the modern nature of what is one of the oldest novels known – dream sequences, flash backs, parallel plotting, flash forwards, it has them all.

But.

The clever resourceful Odysseus is a rogue, a thief, a pirate and a murderous yet cowardly cur.

Time after time on his journey home we see instances of him wandering into someone elses private dwelling or domain, and stealing their property. Woe betide any victims who object, because then the brave (!) resourceful Odysseus stabs, poisons or bludgeons his way out of his just desserts.

Finally having lost all the treasure he stole from the sack of the Trojan city at the heart of the Illiad, his last stop off before finally arriving home is with some sympathetic folk who gift him an enormous trove, on his own say-so of how great a hero he was.

Then it is off to home to suss out whether his wife has given up hope after all this time, then to stage his only brave fight of the story (Odyseus, his son and a retainer against all the suitors), but it is a one sided slaughter until the suitors find the weapons that Odysseus has hidden from them – fully armoured men against unarmed drunks is not the stuff of legends. Of course, this episode is immediately followed by the maniacal torture and slaughter of the unfaithful women servants.

The story is hailed as a cornerstone of heroic literature, but (and it may just be me) it strikes me as an ironic or maybe even sardonic tale of a homicidal liar who makes his living as a thief and confidence trickster. And one without any redeeming features.

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2 Responses to “Homer’s Odyssey – is it just me?”

  1. I love your writing and I really enjoy reading your blog and following your writers journey. Can I put you on my Australian Writers Rock website as an emerging writer??

    Cheers

    Kel 🙂

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