Book 23-24


Book 24

Summary:

  • Hermes guides suitors to fields of asphodel
  • Achilles and Agamemnon simp for each other
  • Meets Laertes, tortures father
  • Ithacan’s plot against him (suitors Fathers)
  • Gods interfere

Notes:

  • Finally, Penelope gets some recognition by Agamemnon, even though it was completely fueled by the fact her actions were opposite to his own wife.
  • Odysseus’s ‘test’ of his father true teasing and abuse was dark, to say the least. However, when we consider the tumultuous nature of all of his relationships in the past twenty relationships, with neither the trojan’s nor the greeks liking him, the considerable number of enemies he made along the way, and the several betrayals he experienced, one can understand his insistence to test the loyalty of someone so dear to him as well. Psychological impediment of some sort?
  • Ithacan’s, i.e fathers of suitors, are just slightly more mature versions of them, restrained in the sense that they’re hesitant to battle because they know the consequences
  • The ending seems to follow the idea of “deus ex machina” as at the end of the day the only thing that stops Odysseus from declaring war is divine intervention. It is perhaps fitting, as Homer’s audience—the gods-worshipping warrior culture of Greece—that an epic so marked by divine intervention should end with Athena restoring peace and urging Odysseus not to “court the rage of Zeus who rules the world!” (24.597).

Book 23

Summary:

  • Battle ended, Eurycleia rushes to tell Penelope
  • Penelope is skeptical, says its a trick by the gods, Tele is outraged, Odysseus tells him to calm
  • Fake wedding is created with the help of a lyre and female Slaves in fresh dresses, to hide slaughter.
  • Tests odysseus by saying the bed he made is destroyed
  • Accepts Odysseus, who repeats Tiresias prophecy before they go to bed, Athena delays dawn

Notes:

  • We see how similar Penelope is to Odysseus. Even after all she has been through, not seeing her husband for years, wondering if he has passed, holding off the numerous suitors courting her, she still proceeds with heavy caution by questioning and testing Odysseus to make sure of his identity.
  • The fake wedding can be interpreted as a mark of the reunion of Penelope and Odysseus, signifying the true importance and weight it carries for both parties. It is also significant of the true scale of Odysseus’s wit, as rather than forgetting everything and being completely fixated on finally being with his wife again, he makes sure to think about the possible consequences of leaving the palace as is, and comes up with a scheme to disguise the slaughter in a fraction of a second. It heavily emphasises Odysseus’s true ability for deception, especially in the segment where an outside observer comments “Penelope must have finally chosen a suitor”

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