The Odyssey

Odysseus' Predicament: Explanation and Justification in The Odyssey College

The oral tradition is the oldest and most archaic manner of human discourse. The Odyssey of Homer is an example of a literary work that emphasizes the importance of such oral tradition. In it, the hero, Odysseus, is faced with the tasks of detailing, through poetry, how he came into the predicament of losing both the booty that he collected from the Trojan War, as well as the lives of the men he fought beside in that war, and being able to answer salient questions about why he was the only man to survive the ordeal of his homecoming to Ithaca. The story that Odysseus manufactures must be able to stand up to scrutiny, or suspicion and even civil uprising could result. Odysseus must practice the craft of synthesizing his own story for the Phaiakans because of the need of the people of Ithaca, particularly Odysseus’ own wife and son, to have a cohesive story describing how those that died in battle as well as in homecoming met their end; this would bring closure to the families of those that have died and provide an explanation as to why Odysseus is the only survivor.

In the times of the ancient Ithacans, the acquisition of honor in both life and death was of the highest priority. For this reason, the people of Ithaca need closure...

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