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Homer's Odyssey is an epic that has been enjoyed throughout the centuries and is one of the greatest literary classics. A major reason for its popularity is the variety of levels from which The Odyssey may be read. First, it may be read as a continuation and completion of The Iliad, for in the end we witness the reconciliation of two major characters of The Iliad, Akhilleus [Achilles] and Agamemnon, as they meet in death in the underworld. Also, The Odyssey closes with an account of Akhilleus's funeral, just as The Iliad closed with an account of Hektor's funeral. Second, The Odyssey may be read strictly as a first-rate adventure story. We follow Odysseus as he encounters magical monsters such as Kyklopes [Cyclops], Skylla, Kharybdis, and the singing Seirenes and goddesses such as the evil Kirke [Circe] and the enchanting Kalypso. In addition, we witness in the final chapters Odysseus's destruction of the wicked suitors who had made a mockery of his grand estate for years in an attempt to steal his faithful wife, Penelope. Third, The Odyssey, like The Iliad, gives modern readers a rare glimpse of Homer's ancient Greece in the 7th and 8th centuries B.C. We learn about these people's relationships, their gods, their emotions, and their morals. Homer's works are a binding force between life and humanity then and now.

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© 1987 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa



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