What do you think the purpose for Book 24 in the series odysseus is?


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The uneven final episode - with its tangential scene in Hades, the lack of conflict with Dolius, whose backstabbing son and daughter have been slain by Odysseus, and Odysseus' failure to carry out Teiresias' instructions to make a sacrifice to Poseidon - lends credence to the argument that much of the final part of The Odyssey has plural authorship.

Nevertheless, the episode does tie up many other loose ends and thematic threads. We are reminded once more of the theme of fidelity as Agamemnon contrasts Penelope and Klytaimnestra. Moreover, the father-son reunion between Odysseus and Telemakhos and the latter's maturation through battle is given a twist here - Odysseus reunites with his own father (again under a false identity at first, yet another motif), and it is Laertes who proves himself in a fight.

The tidy resolution underscores a final theme: the power of the gods. It is the gods who decide the fate of the humans, the gods who can declare war, and the gods who can make peace. The closest the Greeks came to the gods, one could argue, was through their writers - for they, too, had complete control over their characters, and none had it more so than Homer.