“To outwit you
in all your tricks, a person or a god
would need to be an expert at deceit.
You clever rascal! So duplicitous,
so talented at lying! You love fiction
and tricks so deeply, you refuse to stop
even in your own land. Yes, both of us
are smart. No man can plan and talk like you,
and I am known among the gods for insight
and craftiness. You failed to recognize me:
I am Athena, child of Zeus. I always
stand near you and take care of you, in all
Homer’s Odyssey tells us of a complicated man, Odysseus, who spent ten years away from his family during the Trojan War (for more details, read The Iliad) and spends another ten years trying to get home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. But the Gods intervene, and Odysseus and his men get bounced from one marvellous island to another. Meanwhile, a gaggle of suitors are insisting that Odysseus has been gone so long he must be dead, and they’re going to keep bothering Penelope until she picks one of them to marry. When Odysseus finally gets home, he and Telemachus devise a brutal plan to solve the situation.
Suzanne and Chris have a conversation about how the poem depicts cleverness, home, manliness, and water—and what about it has inspired so many adaptations.
The Odyssey, in a recent translation by Emily Wilson.
Wilson offers a pronunciation guide to several of the characters on her website.
We talked a little about Tiresias in our episode on The Metamorphoses.
James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Derek Walcott’s Omeros.
Percy Jackson’s The Lightning Thief.
Our episode on Dante’s Inferno.
Lucian of Samosata’s A True Story.