In book 22, the revenge has started finally!!! Literally everyone and anyone is getting merked. No one is being spared. It reminds me of the movie 300. Just straight slaughter. But honorable mention though: the first person he kills is Antinous, and I wasn’t mad at that not one bit. In fact, if he hadn’t killed him first I would’ve been shocked. And you know how he does it? He shoots an arrow through his throat. What a way to die! That sounds like something straight from an Assassin’s Creed game. And the even crazier part is that the suitors started begging him and offering to pay everything back. Honestly, in my opinion I would have done the same thing he did. They’ve had plenty of chances to right their wrongs and they didn’t do it, but now at the last minute when their lives are in danger they want to start begging. So no, they deserve to die.
Book 23 shows a more intimate moment between Odysseus and Penelope. So the whole time that the slaughtering was going on Penelope was hiding away in her room (which still blows me because I can’t believe she stayed up there under the instruction of her son). Anyway, Odysseus goes up to the room and she still doesn’t believe that it’s him so she brings up their bed and how it was made from an olive tree and how it can’t be moved because it’s rooted into the house and he has to explain all of this to her. Eventually, she finally believes him that he’s the real Odysseus. And surprisingly her overly cautious behavior in this book didn’t annoy me. It didn’t annoy me because I realize that she’s being smart and not stupid. Think about it, the whole time Odysseus has been gone she never cheated on him she deceived the suitors for so long using a trick with the loom and with so many gods and people in disguise that could be trying to trick her, she’s just guarding her loins which is really smart for her to do. Sidenote: I wonder if she knows, or if Odysseus is going to tell her in depth how his ten years away has been. While she was pining away due to his absence, he was not really worried about her, as we’ve discussed in class.
Book 24! Dunh Dunh Dunh!! The last chapter. We are in the Underworld, The Land Of The Dead, Hades, The Sunken Place, whatever you want to call it, and the dead suitors are talking with Achilles, Ajax, and Agamemnon. Then Agamemnon starts talking about how he wishes that his own wife was loyal as Penelope (after finding out how/why the suitors died). And how generations will praise her for basically being loyal and being smart while Odysseus was gone. This part stuck out to me because I thought it was a little bit unfair how Agamemnon is choosing to remember Penelope for being loyal but says nothing about how Odysseus was disloyal to her with multiple goddesses. Meanwhile Odysseus goes to see his dad who doesn’t really know him and Odysseus ends up having to prove that he really is Odysseus again and then they eat. I didn’t expect this part to be included in the end of the book but I guess it’s a nice way to end; Telemachus is reunited with his father, and Odysseus is reunited with his.
Below are the discussion questions and my responses to them.
- To what extent does the poet present Penelope as Odysseus’ equal?
I think the poet presents Penelope as equal to Odysseus by showing their similarities and how smart, clever and powerful they can be. They’re both clever and smart as they are able to get out of pretty tricky situations. For example Penelope weaves and unweaves the loom in order to delay the suitors, then again when she tests Odysseus by giving him fake info about their bed, among other things. It proves that although she may not be as physically capable as Odysseus, she sure as hell matches him intellectually. And let’s not forget about Odysseus and his countless displays of cleverness: the Cyclops, Sirens, Circe, etc. You name it. He is just as smart as she is.
2. To what extent may Book 24 be seen as a fitting ending not only to the Odyssey but also the Iliad?
Yeah I’m actually glad this was a discussion question because I didn’t expect the book to end how it did. It was a fitting ending to The Odyssey because it all worked out for the best, especially for Odysseus. The families of the suitors are ordered to leave Odysseus alone, Odysseus is now reunited with his family and he’s back to being a king so it all worked out for him. And also it’s a good way to end the Iliad because we go back into the underworld where we see Achilles and Agamemnon and it offers another perspective into the ending of The Iliad.
Sidenote: It makes sense that Athena reveals herself in the end, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t told the families of the suitors to back down. First of all, I get that they’re mad but how much of a right do they have to be mad if they knew the horrible things they were doing? But anyway, I wonder if Odysseus would’ve went into a full-blown war, or if he would’ve conceded.