001-2020 Odyssey

Title: The Odyssey

Author: Homer (translated by W. H. D. Rouse)

One terrific role that Sean Bean also portrayed was Odyssey in the film ‘Troy’. In fact, when I read the book I pictured him being the character in the story line.

Other than in the film ‘Troy’ I had read two other books, both from Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles, and Circe) in which Odyssey was also featured as a prominent character. This brought me to research if there was a book written of the story of Odyssey, and that is what now leads to the book review.

He is a prominent, clever and heroic mythical Greek who rules over the kingdom of Ithaca, and has one son (Telemachos) with his wife Penelopeia, and is then summoned by King Agamemnon and Menelaos to fight against the Trojans for the wrongs committed by Paris and Helena (wife of Menelaos). That is where the great 10 Year war takes place, until finally the Greeks overrun the Trojans with the ingenious idea of Odyssey to build a large wooden horse, dubbed the Trojan Horse. The book doesn’t take place in the war, but rather after the war what Odyssey encounters in his travels to get home to his kingdom.

In fact, it would be almost another decade after the war before he finally returns home. He didn’t offer proper sacrifices to the gods, and had insulted one of the mighty gods’ children (Poseidon’s son, a cyclops), which resulted in his ship being redirected on the ocean, him performing some tasks and meeting Circe, and finally losing his ship to the ocean and being stranded on a island of a goddess (daughter of Oceanos).

Eventually he does return home, but then at home some intruders await, and with the help of his son, and goddess Athena, he removes them from his home, and finally can live his life further.

What kept me stuck to the story is how the Greek gods become involved with the mortal lives, and sometimes help them, or give them an ultimatum of what will come to pass should they not take a certain decision. And also the lessons that some of the tasks bring with them.

This is my fourth Greek Mythology book, and every time I become more and more hooked to them.

Summary

The translation by the author of the Homeric text to English was well done. The link he makes to the Trojan war lines up very well. However, there are a few areas where some characters of the Trojan War story don’t line up with the story of the characters of the film ‘Troy’. Examples are King Agamemnon, Menelaos and Helena. Nevertheless, the adventure that Odyssey goes through after the Trojan War, and how he makes amends and is finally permitted to get back home is fun to follow, and, you learn a little bit of ‘history/mythology’ in the process. The rating I like to award is 4.9/5