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Republic of the Philippines


College of Education
Naval, Biliran

Critique Paper
The Odyssey
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Table of Contents
Overall Impression
Critical Analysis
The Types of Conflict
Determine of

Homer, the author of The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the greatest of ancient Greek
poets. His works are known to be the oldest work of Western literature to be found. His works
also influenced many writers because of his style is so unique that not even other famous writers
of epics (Vigil, Dante and Milton) can reproduce his style.
The Odyssey is an epic, a very long poem on a single subject. Some epics were composed in
order to be performed from memory, and so they include poetic devices to make them more
memorable. And many epics, probably including The Odyssey, were written to be performed to
musical accompaniment.
The journey of Odysseus from Troy to Ithaca takes ten years the same amount of time that
the Trojan War itself lasted. The extraordinary length of Odysseus' return trip, which should take
a matter of weeks, is due to his many antagonists, including the god Poseidon, the many mythical
creatures he encounters, and Odysseus' often greedy and lazy crewmen.

At Odysseus' palace in Ithaca, the suitors of his wife, Penelope, are wasting his wealth
during his long absence. Odysseus had left Ithaca to battle against the Trojans in the Trojan War,
which lasted twelve years. The battle had been won, and most warriors have long since returned
home. Odysseus and his men, however, are still missing. The reader learns that he is living in
captivity at the isle of Ogygia with the nymph Calypso, who loves him dearly. In a council of the
gods, Athena obtains permission to have Odysseus freed. She then appears at Ithaca in front of
Odysseus' son, Telemachus, in disguise and urges him to go looking for news of his father.
Telemachus visits Pylos and Sparta and learns about his father's heroic acts from Nestor,
Menelaus, and Helen.
In the meantime, Odysseus is released from his captivity on Calypso's isle and reaches
the kingdom of Phaecia. He recounts the tales of his adventures after the battle of Troy to the
Phaecians, after which the Phaecians aid him in reaching his homeland. Upon reaching Ithaca,
Athena disguises him as a beggar. He stays at his swineherd's house, to which Athena brings his
son, Telemachus. She reveals the hero's true identity to his son and together they plot the slaying
of the suitors. Telemachus goes back to the palace while the disguised Odysseus follows him
later to town. He sees the suitors' misbehaviour for himself and also ascertains which of his
servants have been loyal to him and which have not. Penelope announces that she will marry the
suitor who is able to string Odysseus' bow and then shoot an arrow through a row of twelve axes.
The suitors try and fail miserably. The disguised Odysseus strings the bow and shoots the arrow
through all the axes. With the aid of Telemachus and a few loyal servants, Odysseus kills the evil
suitors. Odysseus is reunited with his family. A feud erupts between the slain suitors' kinsmen
and Odysseus, but is hastily stopped by a flaming bolt thrown by Zeus and by an order from

Overall Impression
Odyssey is one of the famous ancient Greek epic written by Homer. I see that the Greek
epic was indeed rich in culture and interesting. I like the story plot because it is full of adventure,
romance, humour, and it tells us about mythology. I love the way Odyssey's wife waited for him
to return even though there are no clues if he is still alive or not. It's fun to watch because it's full
of action and his adventure in different places. Some scenes are just not good to watch.
Unfortunately, I had a problem in understanding what they are saying due to the fact that there's
no subtitle and their accent is hard to understand. But still I enjoyed watching it.

Critical Analysis

In the epic tale the Odyssey the young Telemachus went nearly 20 years without his
father. Odysseus, Telemachus father, left for the Trojan War when Telemachus was just born.
The Trojan War lasted for 10 years and on Odysseus journey home he faced a 10 year detour.
Odysseus, the great king of Ithaca has been missing for 20 years and rumours of his death had
reached the shores of his kingdom. Suitors who have no intention of caring for Telemachus and
Penelope (Odysseus wife), but of amassing Odysseus fortune began to fill the halls of
Odysseus home in hopes of becoming the next king of Ithaca. Young Telemachus stood
powerless to defend his mother and his Fathers good name. Powerless because he did not realize
who he really was. His identity had not been revealed to him.
If there was a time that Telemachus needed his father it was then. He needed his father to
protect his mother, to defend the family name, and more than anything, reveal Telemachus
identity. After all, who was Telemachus to stand toe to toe with the suitors who have been battle
tested? With the help of Athena (goddess of war) Telemachus set out on a journey to find his
father, but more than just his father, he set out to find himself. It was in this journey that
Telemachus began to discover more about his father. He encounters those that fought a long side
Odysseus and as each man tells a tale of Odysseus great valour, Telemachus begins to realize
who he is.
This unique relationship between searching for ones father and the finding of one
identity can also be found in the Scriptures. Gods relationship with Israel is an example of these
two ideas. Prior to the covenantal relationship, Israel was enslaved as a nation within Egypt.
Prior to their enslavement in Egypt they were simply a wandering people. A people without a
name or a place. It was not until God established a covenantal relationship with the people that
their identity began to be revealed to them. At the foot of Sinai they became a people, a people of
We live in a fatherless generation today and it is no wonder that we see so many young
people turning to different places for a revelation of their identity. Young girls turn to a
relationship after relationship in hopes to find the affirmation of the beauty only a father can
bestow. Young men are turning to gangs and violence in hopes to validate their manhood, a
manhood that can only be bestowed by a father. This nameless and faceless generation is a
generation who does not know their identity, simply because they have not found their father.
The relationship between identity and the search of father is a transcendental idea that must be
communicated to the masses. There is a Heavenly Father who loves and who accepts you. It is
when one begins to search for this Father that one begins to realize who they are.
In the story of the Odyssey, young Telemachus had the goddess Athena to inspire him to
search for his father.

The Types of Conflict

Man vs. Nature
Odysseus struggles with nature. The whirlpool (Charybdis) swallows his boat, kills his
men, and leaves him adrift in the sea.
Throughout the story Odysseus tries to challenge the gods and in his arrogance and he is
set back time and time again, but when Odysseus comes to terms with the power of the gods he
is finally able to return home.
Man vs. Self
Odysseus struggles with himself. He convinces his men to tie him to the mast of the ship
in order to hear the Sirens song.
Odysseus is constantly arrogant and fights the gods tooth and nail which catapults him
into many dreadful situations.

Man vs. Society

Odysseus struggles with the society. After he returns home, he finds his house over-run
with suitors.
Because wherever Odysseus goes, he is met by anger and people who want him dead.
Man vs. Man
Odysseus (disguise as a beggar) fights Iros the beggar
Odysseus has to face many trials that involve monsters and other men. It is like the whole
world is against him, but he must face these in order to get home.
Man vs. Man
Telemachus wants to kill Eurymachus and Antinous
Man vs. Society
Telemachus wants his birth right (meaning the lands and valuables that his father would
leave to him) before the conflict between the suitors and Penelope destroys it all.
Man vs. Society
Penelope struggles for her right NOT to marry someone she doesnt love even though the
people of Ithaca deserve a powerful ruler.
Determine of Personalities
Odysseus is a dynamic character. Homeric Heroes do not usually change over time. They
remain steadfastly strong, courageous, determined, and skilled. While Odysseus does
consistently demonstrates these traits, his journey causes him to become different in many ways.
At the beginning of the journey (not of the epic, because the epic begins in media res),
Odysseus is characterized by his arrogance. He exhibits extreme hubris, meaning that his pride
causes him to overestimate his own abilities. Because he is the cleverest man on the Greek
expedition, and because he is the one who comes up with the winning plan (the Trojan Horse), he
believes that his intelligence is infallible.
Odysseus is a static character. Though they may be very complex and realistic, they do
not change over the course of the work as characters in modern novels and stories do. Odysseus
and especially Telemachus break this rule. Early in his adventures, Odysseuss love of glory
prompts him to reveal his identity to the Cyclops and bring Poseidons wrath down on him. By
the end of the epic, he seems much more willing to temper pride with patience. Disguised as a
beggar, he does not immediately react to the abuse he receives from the suitors. Instead, he
endures it until the traps he has set and the loyalties he has secured put him in a position from
which he can strike back effectively.
Telemachus is a dynamic character. Telemachus plays a boy in desperate search
of his father. He faces the fact that his mother must re-marry another man. This disturbs
Telemachus since he feels none of the suitors are worthy of his mothers love. This
re-marriage both provokes and enrages him. It instils a more mature Telemachus with a

more conscientious demeanour. This helps Telemachus to become a more determined

Penelope is a round character. She remains loyal to her husband. While it has been an
absence of over 20 years, she does not take another husband in recognition of her original and
true partner. She is a strong woman, as Homer depicts her as not excessively maudlin about the
past relationship and her husband's absence. Rather, she is focused on ensuring that Telemachus
is strong enough to be his own adult, and very aware of how others might perceive her. In the
scene with all of the suitors, she knows that this "visitor" is unique and distinctive and mentions
the bed in order to reveal the truth. The elements of truth, loyalty, and care are the attributes that
emerge the most from Penelope through Homer's description.
Athena is a static character. She is always wise and strong and powerful, and that never
God of the sea. As the suitors are Odysseuss mortal antagonists, Poseidon is his divine
antagonist. He despises Odysseus for blinding his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, and constantly
hampers his journey home. Ironically, Poseidon is the patron of the seafaring Phaeacians, who
ultimately help to return Odysseus to Ithaca.
King of gods and men, who mediates the disputes of the gods on Mount Olympus. Zeus
is occasionally depicted as weighing mens fates in his scales. He sometimes helps Odysseus or
permits Athena to do the same.
He most arrogant of Penelopes suitors. Antinous leads the campaign to have Telemachus
killed. Unlike the other suitors, he is never portrayed sympathetically, and he is the first to die
when Odysseus returns.
A manipulative, deceitful suitor. Eurymachuss charisma and duplicity allow him to exert
some influence over the other suitors.
Among the dozens of suitors, the only decent man seeking Penelopes hand in marriage.
Amphinomus sometimes speaks up for Odysseus and Telemachus, but he is killed like the rest of
the suitors in the final fight.
The loyal shepherd who, along with the cowherd Philoetius, helps Odysseus reclaim his
throne after his return to Ithaca. Even though he does not know that the vagabond who appears at
his hut is Odysseus, Eumaeus gives the man food and shelter.
The aged and loyal servant who nursed Odysseus and Telemachus when they were
babies. Eurycleia is well informed about palace intrigues and serves as confidante to her masters.

She keeps Telemachuss journey secret from Penelope, and she later keeps Odysseuss identity a
secret after she recognizes a scar on his leg.
The brother of Melantho. Melanthius is a treacherous and opportunistic goatherd who
supports the suitors, especially Eurymachus, and abuses the beggar who appears in Odysseuss
palace, not realizing that the man is Odysseus himself.
Sister of Melanthius and maidservant in Odysseuss palace. Like her brother, Melantho
abuses the beggar in the palace, not knowing that the man is Odysseus. She is having an affair
with Eurymachus.
The beautiful nymph who falls in love with Odysseus when he lands on her island-home
of Ogygia. Calypso holds him prisoner there for seven years until Hermes, the messenger god,
persuades her to let him go.
One of the Cyclopes (uncivilized one-eyed giants) whose island Odysseus comes to soon
after leaving Troy. Polyphemus imprisons Odysseus and his crew and tries to eat them, but
Odysseus blinds him through a clever ruse and manages to escape. In doing so, however,
Odysseus angers Polyphemuss father, Poseidon.
The beautiful witch-goddess who transforms Odysseuss crew into swine when he lands
on her island. With Hermes help, Odysseus resists Circes powers and then becomes her lover,
living in luxury at her side for a year.
Odysseuss aging father, who resides on a farm in Ithaca. In despair and physical decline,
Laertes regains his spirit when Odysseus returns and eventually kills Antinouss father.
A Theban prophet who inhabits the underworld. Tiresias meets Odysseus when Odysseus
journeys to the underworld in Book 11. He shows Odysseus how to get back to Ithaca and
allows Odysseus to communicate with the other souls in Hades.
King of Pylos and a former warrior in the Trojan War. Like Odysseus, Nestor is known as
a clever speaker. Telemachus visits him in Book 3 to ask about his father, but Nestor knows little
of Odysseuss whereabouts.
King of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon, and husband of Helen, he helped lead the Greeks
in the Trojan War. He offers Telemachus assistance in his quest to find Odysseus when
Telemachus visits him in Book 4 .
Wife of Menelaus and queen of Sparta. Helens abduction from Sparta by the Trojans
sparked the Trojan War. Her beauty is without parallel, but she is criticized for giving in to her
Trojan captors and thereby costing many Greek men their lives. She offers Telemachus
assistance in his quest to find his father.

Former king of Mycenae, brother of Menelaus, and commander of the Achaean forces at
Troy. Odysseus encounters Agamemnons spirit in Hades. Agamemnon was murdered by his
wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, upon his return from the war. He was later avenged
by his son Orestes. Their story is constantly repeated in the Odyssey to offer an inverted image of
the fortunes of Odysseus and Telemachus.
The beautiful daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete of the Phaeacians. Nausicaa
discovers Odysseus on the beach at Scheria and, out of budding affection for him, ensures his
warm reception at her parents palace.
King of the Phaeacians, who offers Odysseus hospitality in his island kingdom of
Scheria. Alcinous hears the story of Odysseuss wanderings and provides him with safe passage
back to Ithaca.
Queen of the Phaeacians, wife of Alcinous, and mother of Nausicaa. Arete is intelligent
and influential. Nausicaa tells Odysseus to make his appeal for assistance to Arete.

From the Odyssey, I learned that you have to stay truthful or loyal to everything that you
love and care about. I learned this from the story of Odysseus returning back home from the
Trojan War. Penelope waited 20 years before she ever thought about finding another husband to
take the place of Odysseus. Even though Odysseus slept with Calypso every night, he still didn't
forget about his wife back at home. Now it sounds crazy that he would sleep with another
woman when he's married, but when Calypso tried to keep him back on her island by saying that
he would rather have a young beautiful girl instead of a old woman and that he would never
become old if he stayed on her island. Odysseus didn't care about anything that she said because
he said he belonged at home with his wife Penelope and he went through many tough battles on
his journey back home. This is one lesson that i learned from studying the Odyssey. Never give
up on something you love.