Suggested Essay Topics
Examine the various epithets that are constantly associated with the various characters: “thoughtful” Telemachus; “circumspect” Penelope; “resourceful,” “enduring,” and “godlike” Odysseus; and so on. What function do these epithets serve other than as formulaic constructions used in the oral poetic medium? How are these epithets appropriate to the characters associated with them? When are they not appropriate?
Examine the arguments made by each speaker at the Ithacan assembly. How do the characters’ speeches reflect their individual personalities? Analyze both what the characters say and the manner and mood in which they say it. How do the styles and rhetorical strategies employed by the various speakers compare and contrast with one another? How are these similarities and differences significant? What conclusions can we draw about the speakers’ character traits as depicted in their speech?
Examine Nestor’s personality and character. What distinguishes him from other characters who serve as storytellers during the course of the narrative? What distinguishing features mark his speech? What is the general impression of his character that is given in the Odyssey? What means does Homer employ in order to achieve this impression?
(The entire section is 1564 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Odyssey Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!