Social Structure in Homer’s Odyssey Essay

September 24, 2017 Construction

Homer’s heroic poem. ‘The Odyssey’ . is a drawn-out verse form that recounts the Trojan war hero. Odysseus’ backbreaking and drawn-out journey place to Ithaca. In it. Homer accentuates the slightly feudal nature of his universe. a social construction that far more resembles his ain than that which really existed in Mycenaean Greece. less to supplement the narrative. but instead to function as the primary focal point. Despite the feudal qualities of the universe that Homer relates. the verse form is about wholly barren of category witting believing. Alternatively. the primary beginning of construction comes from the family.

The ‘Odyssey’ serves as something of a title-holder for the oixos ( Ancient Greek for the family as an entity ) outlook. peculiarly in the face of menaces of disintegration. By reading the verse form in the context antecedently discussed. that is in the context of a people moving in the involvement of a stable construction within the family instead than much concern for the political clime. This gives the characters in the narrative. Telemachus. Penelope. and the suiters. for case. a clearly discernable intent in the action. Each of them is competing to spread out upon their family. in some capacity or another.

Telemachus and Penelope are unable to support or increase the Providence of their family until they foremost restore its stableness. Telemachus. though geting much wealth throughout the verse form. has no usage for it. and can non hold a usage for it until the stableness of the house of Odysseus is renewed and strengthened. The suiters nevertheless. coming from stable families. are free to seek to foster their family in footings of wealth. At the beginning of the verse form. Odysseus’ boy. Telemachus has one end. That is to reconstruct order and oixos by asseverating himself and taking his father’s function.

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He is. nevertheless. ill equipped to take on this function. missing the audacity. The now downtrodden Telemachus. has a narrative discharge that slightly parallels that of his male parent. In a pursuit to turn up his male parent. or at least to happen unequivocal replies sing his father’s destiny. so that he may either hold construction restored by agencies of his father’s return or upon intelligence of his father’s decease. by agencies of inheriting his father’s function in the family. Telemachus undertakes an expedition. The journey’s foremost leg brings him to Pylos. to see a friend of his male parent. Nestor. He accumulates a battalion of gifts.

Again he travels. this clip to Sparta. and once more is showered in gifts. By the terminal of his journey he has accumulated a significant sum of wealth. a fact which fails to give him either satisfaction or any gloss of power in his family. This is because his function in the family is non yet as head or as breadwinner. His profitss mean nil without a family to back up. Telemachus must first rectify his primary defect. that is his inability to protect his family. that he may so convey his family to greatness. One of the most harshly judged characters in the verse form. despite her artlessness. is Penelope.

She is judged by the suiters for threading them along and her drawn-out indecisiveness. She is judged by her family for providing to the suiters and. so far as they know. potentially bewraying Odysseus’ trust. She is. nevertheless. moving wholly out of necessity. and in chase of some gloss of the traditional impression of oixos. The action that the suiters bore the most issue with. was Penelope’s calculated unravelling of the cloth out of which she would do her marrying gown. Daily. Penelope would weave her aureate cloth. perfect row after perfect row.

Nightly. Penelope would unknot these stitches. a pattern that went on long until she was betrayed by a servant. This action is wholly justified by the context discussed at the beginning of this paper. A adult female. desperate for the stableness that the return of her hubby would convey. but admiting of the fact that that scenario. though ideal. is improbable. and cognizing that in the event her hubby were to be declared lost. she would either necessitate to take a suer. or unrecorded as a load on her boy. Penelope chooses indecisiveness. Her act of rebelliousness against. truly her arm against the menaces to her already crumpling family. is clip.

The suers that swarm Odysseys’ house in the hopes that they may get her manus in matrimony. They are a bully. chesty. and unquestionably unpleasant clump. made merely worse by their complete deficiency of concern for Odysseus and his family. But their ceaseless chase of their award. though what finally condemns them. is. by the context already noted. justified. Though they are the primary adversaries in the narrative. and they surely suffer the harshest destiny ( possibly except for the crewmans ) . amongst their ranks were some perfect decent. well-natured work forces.

It is merely a natural response ( in the context of his civilization ) for a adult male. Odysseus in this instance. to take retaliation upon work forces. whether they be justified in their actions or non or whether they are well-natured or non. who threaten the stableness of his family. This is despite the fact that he himself has been the attacker at many times. Had he been killed in that chase. it would hold merely been considered natural. and so it is natural that the suers were killed in theirs. The suers thought. through a successful matrimony to a beautiful adult female from a affluent household. they would be able to foster their family in footings of success.

A impression that. in the universe Homer portrays. is non wholly notional. What the justifications for characters’ actions are state us assorted things. but the most of import of which is that the individual who penned the piece of literature. in this instance Homer. was specifically acknowledging one component of the universe they describe. which in this instance is the societal construction. Homer chose to acknowledge oixos. because it was a structural social component for which he was possibly nostalgic. The narrative of Odysseus had been told many times and in many ways. but none so typical. nor so permanent as Homer’s The ‘Odyssey’ .

This is because he chose to put the societal construction in the purported clip of Odysseus. in the governmental construction of his ain clip. possibly a testament to his ain wants for his present. This devotedness to tradition. in the instance of Homer. to oixos. is something that most people. in most civilizations. can understand. and with which they can associate. Most readers can warrant Odysseus’ actions. because they feel empathic towards him. He does. of class. take it to an extreme with with they average individual can non associate. but the desire to protect their ain functions in life.


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