The Odyssey

Odysseus and Recognition

Which scenes of the Odyssey between Odysseus' return to Ithaca and his slaughter of the Suitors show Homer at his best as a story teller.' (Books 14-24)

In the Odyssey Homer has created a poem to stir the depths of an audience's emotions, able to create scenes both full of anger at the Suitors' arrogance and tragic with sorrow and hardship. In books 14 to 21, he has assembled a series of poignant recognition scenes which intersperse small incidents showing the threat posed by the usurping Suitors. These scenes between Odysseus and his faithful servants are some of the most powerful in the Odyssey, and add much to the tension in the run up to the final battle against the Suitors.

In book 14, Homer pays particular attention to the faithful servant Eumaeus in order to highlight the difference between him and the unfaithful servants in the palace:'unwilling to sleep there away from his boars... He got himself ready for a night outside, and Odysseus was delighted to see his diligent concern for his absent master's property.'

This shows not only how laudable Eumaeus is, but also how detestable the actions of the Suitors are. Such scenes as this are able to charm the audience and create great sympathy and...

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