Alas, the day has come. I have finally finished The Odyssey. I can check one book off my list. I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be reviewing this book, so dear to my heart. This was my first time reading it and I really liked it. I haven’t decided if it’s worthy to go into my Read or Die pile, but we’ll see. I have always loved Greek mythology, and that was one of the reasons why I chose The Odyssey to be in my Classics Club List.
The Odyssey is not really a novel, but an ‘epic poem’, which refers to all long, serious, and hero-focused poems. (And when I say a long poem, I mean a four hundred and eighty-five pages long poem.)
Another thing to point out is that Homer didn’t actually come up with the myths in the story, he just wrote them down from oral to paper.
For those of you who don’t know what it’s about, here is Amazon’s summary: The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller’s tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.
As I said before, I really enjoyed The Odyssey. It was one of those reads that was long and yet still such an amazing and oh-gosh-I-can’t-stop-reading read.
(that’s me being really hot and not being able to stop reading, except in a guy version.)
My personal favorite characters were Pallas Athena and Lord Telemachus. Athena is a really strong, goddess/woman character who schemes along with everything, trying to help Odysseus. Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, I liked because he was the epitome of the naive, fearful, and honoring young on the brink of manhood.
One of my favorite scenes was when Odysseus finally saw his son after twenty years, all grown up. It was such a gut-wrentching scene because I knew with Athena’s mist around him, no one recognized him and just saw him as a beggar. Then I went into full fangirling when Odysseus revealed himself and they cried together and—oh, I was a goner.
Another one of the scenes I loved was with Polyphemus the cyclops, when he is eating all of Odysseus’s crew and Odysseus stabs his only eye out in revenge. It is one of my favorite scenes because of reasons unknown to me, but I do know that when Odysseus said his name was Nobody so that when the Cyclops cried for help saying, ”Nobody is trying to kill me,” none of the other cyclopses came to help, I found it really clever.
Of course, since I’m a mythology geek, I knew all of these myths, which is why sometimes when the names (Eurycleia, Eurybates, Eurydamas, and Eurydice? Seriously? Which one’s which?) and side-stories started to become confusing, I understood a little bit more because I knew a lot of the stories already.
When Odysseus finally reveals himself to Penelope, his wife, and she doesn’t jump with joy and hugs him because she wants him to prove it is really him first, I loved that scene. She only accepts the fact that it is him after Odysseus explains to her their bed he built back in the day, and that it is unmovable. (A metaphor to their everlasting love, I believe.)
About the translation: I purposefully chose to read Robert Fagles’ English translation because I loved the way he translated The Odyssey. (I tried out a couple other translations too, and ended up liking this one most.) Of course, Homer gets all the credit for writing it so beautifully first in Latin. Fagles just had the ability to rewrite it in English just as majestically.
So yes, I would recommend this to all who can keep up with names and loves Ancient Greece and mythology, or just wants to read the story of a man struggling to get home for ten years in a row, always having something come in his way. I’m just kidding; I recommend this to everyone.
I wanted to include some of my favorite lines but I forgot to mark them and now I don’t know where they are in the big fat book…