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This question pertains to The Odyssey and Homer. Examine if the book is an important...

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chelaa | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2013 at 12:53 AM via web

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This question pertains to The Odyssey and Homer. Examine if the book is an important historical work?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:14 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that Homer's work can be a valuable work of history in understanding the dialectic of Greek history.  Homer's work has historical undercurrents within it, seeking to explain spiritual identity in Greece, political instability, and how social stability is evident in elements of Greek society. In its reflection and comment on Greek social values, The Odyssey possesses historical value.

Yet, where the true historical value lies in The Odyssey is in its place in the history of literature and intellectual ideas.  Homer's work has a place in the history of literature and this is essential.  The work depicts the multiple layers of the hero and the complexity in war.  At the same time, human consciousness is shown to be layered with intricacy, characterizations that were essential in the understanding of what literature is and what it can be.  It is here in which the value of The Odyssey is felt.  It is an integral part of Western literature, establishing at a very early point what literature can be and, perhaps, what it should strive to be.  This historical value is undeniable, and represents the work's historical merit.

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