What is the Odyssey?

The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus, a Greek hero who returns to Ithaca after the Trojan War to reunite with his family. Homer is the author of this epic poem, as well as the Iliad and the entire Epic Cycle, which includes poems about the Trojan War and Theban poems about Oedipus.

Odysseus spends ten years of his life on this journey, guided Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who is his patroness. While Odysseus is fighting Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, and attempting to free himself from the influence of the Calypso, his wife and son, Penelope and Telemachus, fight to keep his kingdom in Ithaca. This epic poem’s 24 books highlight a variety of literary techniques as well as aspects of Greek mythology. The poems, told in flashbacks and using the in medias res technique, begin in the middle of the journey rather than at the beginning. Colorful characters, Odysseus’ cunning tricks, and the interweaving of his journey with events in Olympus, the Greek gods’ home, and Ithaca keep the reader enthralled until the end, when Odysseus is reunited with his faithful wife and son.

Homer was a blind oral poet who memorized epic poetry and recited it. He was a member of the Homeridae clan. Members of the Homeridae, descended from war prisoners, were tasked with remembering old tales and epics.

Many academics question whether Homer was a real person. It is thought that the name Homer referred to one or more poets, and that the Odyssey was not written a single poet. Some scholars have even suggested that this epic poem of great literary value was written a woman. A close look at the epic poem reveals a consistent style that points to a single author. Despite many theories to the contrary, it is widely assumed that Homer existed and is responsible for the Odyssey.

The Odyssey’s written style is the subject of a lot of scholarship. It was written in an oral tradition, and Hipparchus, an Athenian tyrant, changed the way it was recited in the eighth century. The Odyssey is now considered a canonical text. It’s also thought that between the eighth and third centuries, Homer had the Odyssey transcribed. The hexameter verse, which consists of six meters with the emphasis on the second syllable that form a regular unit of rhyme, distinguishes it as a written text. Because of its simplicity, the Homeric style is more highly regarded than that of Virgil or Dante.

The Odyssey is written as a drama, so it avoids much of the period’s politics, including the consequences of the Trojan War. Its impact on the arts is still felt today. Ulysses James Joyce and Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, written from the perspective of Penelope, are both based on the Odyssey. O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? is a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s work.

The word odyssey has come to denote a long journey. This epic poem’s educational value does not end there. The Odyssey was required reading for ancient Greek students, and it is still required reading for many modern students.