"The Odyssey" contains a number of older men. Who are they? Why are there so many?
Discuss the theme of hospitality throughout The Odyssey and its importance in the Homeric world.
In Book XI, Odysseus visits the underworld. Note especially what Akhilleus says about being alive versus being dead. Discuss this famous statement.
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"The Odyssey" contains a number of older characters for three reasons. First, this is in part a coming of age story. Telemachus is growing up—reaching manhood, specifically—and so there must be men of mature age around for him to measure himself against. Second, decades have passed since the Trojan war began; this is a way of reminding audiences of this, and of marking time dramatically. Third, the older characters mark a kind of full tapestry of life: Odysseus meets his father, Nestor was witness to all of the Iliad, and so is a kind of living history, and so on.
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