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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

D. Snider
A Commentary on the Odyssey of Homer - Part I

From, Homer's Odyssey: A commentary
[Please note that the Table of Contents here published, is created by Elpenor and is not to be found in the print version]

Table of Contents \ Odyssey Complete Text \ Greek Fonts \ More Greek Resources

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

More...


Page 56

We may now see the reason why the poet began the story of Ulysses with the stay at Calypso's Isle. Thus the poem unfolds in the order of society, starting with the state of nature, passing thence to a civilized condition, and showing finally the conflicts of the same with the negative forces which develop in its own bosom. Homer could have landed Ulysses at Phaeacia, and could have made the Ulyssiad start in that sphere, placing Calypso's Book just after the account of the slaughter of the Oxen of the Sun. But what a loss would that have been! No social development would thus be suggested in the movement of the poem, and the individual Ulysses would have to pass, not from institutional Phaeacia, but from savage Ogygia to the reformation of Ithaca. In this way we realize to ourselves the true instinct, or perchance the profound thought which underlies the structure of this portion of the poem.

Thus we conceive the double movement of the Ulyssiad through its three main stages, in which we feel strongly emphasized the idea of development, of a genetic process. These lands and peoples are generated by the wanderer's own spirit, though they all exist in their own right and are carefully set down in Homeric geography. Ogygia is the product of Ulysses himself, and so he goes thither to the reality. The misfortunes in these lands are the very deeds of the offenders returning upon them. As the Gods are both subjective and objective, so are these poetic places and persons; they are both in Ulysses and outside of him, they are the inner change of the individual and the outer development of the world. Each, however, fits into the other, is inseparably intertwined with the other; both together form the double movement which is the fundamental structural fact of the present division of the Odyssey.

Of course our unfolding of the subject must follow the movement of the poem, but we shall not neglect the movement of the individual. Accordingly Calypso's Island, Ogygia, is the realm which is to be first considered.

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Cf. Pharr, Homer and the study of Greek * Odyssey Complete Text
Iliad Complete Text * Homer Bilingual Anthology and Resources * Livingstone, On the Ancient Greek Literature
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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/snider-odyssey.asp?pg=56