the odyssey book 1

Beryl omeeboh
4 min readOct 15, 2020

Yayy! The Odyssey, finally! I feel like I wanted forever to read this book. I think between this one and The Iliad, I like this one better. Nevertheless, I did not expect/ remember this first chapter to be like this lol. So apparently Odysseus is the only one left from the war that hasn’t gone home to his family. And his men didn’t go home either; they died because they ate Apollo’s cattle. Odysseus is stuck on Ogygia, an island where Calypso (a goddess) is in love with him and basically won’t let him leave. And if I understood correctly, Poseidon is mad at Odysseus because he hurt his son and so that also contributes to the reason as to why he’s stuck and can’t leave. So Odysseus is not having a good time. Then to top it off, back at his house, his wife and son think he’s dead and there’s men there preparing to marry her. Athena does her thing and starts intervening and talks to Odysseus’s son and informs him of what he should do in his father’s absence. I expected the gods and goddesses to intervene, but not this early and so when we got to Athena disguising herself as Mentes and talking to Telemachus, I just wasn’t expecting it. I also wonder what’s the reason behind her getting involved and wanting his release from the island. Also I feel really bad for Odysseus because I don’t think he deserves to go through that. He’s basically been away for 20 years. 10 during the war in The Iliad, and 10 on an island with some creepy goddess. He hasn’t been able to see his son who is now an adolescent teenager I believe or his wife, which just really sucks.

So I’ve read the Odyssey before in high school but I’ve forgotten a lot of it (although I think I remember a scene where an arrow is being shot through some rings and that’s also the logo/scene of TSG entertainment) So some thoughts I had while reading this chapter were: so is this going to be all about Odysseus (because you know The Odyssey, …. Odysseus, get it?) What does Odysseus’s name mean? Why was he important enough to write about? If Poseidon supported the Greeks in the Iliad, why is he this mad at a Greek warrior now? (Like i know why, but he’s suffered for long enough.) Also, questions about the suitors: why are there so many of them? Do they really just want to be with her or is there something else they want? Does Ofysseus know about them? About Odysseus’s wife: why doesn’t she just kick the suitors out? Does she want them there? Is she even able/allowed to kick them out?

Below are the discussion questions and my responses to them.

What does Athena do to “mentor” Telemachus, son of Odysseus? What does Telemachus do to demonstrate his readiness to take over his father’s kingdom? How similar is Telemachus’ maturation to the maturation you yourself are expected to go through today?

So Athena disguises herself as an old friend of Odysseus and goes to Telemachus and tells him that Odysseus isn’t dead and that he’s coming back. Also, she basically tells him that he has to stand up to the suitors that are trying to marry his mother, and that he should go out and look for information about his father. Consequently, he tells the suitors that they have to leave the house because they’re no good and that he wants to be the temporary “king” of his home until his father returns. When he did this, I was proud of him because it takes a lot of courage to be able do what he did. I mean think about it, he’s just a young teenager who is standing up to these grown men and telling them that what they believed to be true isn’t true and that on top of that they have to get out of his father’s house. That’s brave lol because at that age I’m not sure I would be able to do what he did. Nevertheless, I feel that Telemachus’ maturation is similar to the one expected of me because (especially for me) I grew up in a Nigerian household, and even though I’m the youngest, I was expected and still am expected to take care of everything. When I say that, I really do mean everything. When I was in 8th grade, my parents went to Nigeria for a couple months and I was by myself. I mean, they gave me money to pay for the bills and stuff like that, but I was by myself, at 13. And it’s been like that until now. As a matter of fact they’re leaving in November to go back, and I’ll be here by myself again, but this time will be different because I’m not 13 anymore and I’ve got the hang of it by now lol. But even when they are here, I still have to pay the bills, cook nearly everyday, clean, work and go to school (with all that entails) while taking care of their other responsibilities as well.