poetry

The Odyssey by Homer

“All ways of dying are hateful to us poor mortals,” 

The Odyssey is known to be the second oldest work of Western literature after the Iliad. Both are epic poems, and in reading this review please keep in mind that while I do have knowledge of the time period in which this poem takes place, I didn’t study classics so therefore I don’t have intimate knowledge of the text beyond what I can gauge from my rudimentary knowledge.

The story is mainly centred around the return of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy. The plot is non-linear and the characters are inumerate. However, despite everything there is plenty of drama and I imagine when it was originally told in the oral tradition, it must have been very exciting to those who listened because the moments of high drama (e.g: the slaughter of Penelope’s suitors) are written in such a way as to enthrall the listener.

I don’t think I could quite give this book a 5* rating. It is fascinating to read such an ancient core text based in antiquity but given my limited knowledge of the historical basis I feel it would undermine classical scholars if I gave it higher than 3*. It’s use of language is very impressive at the same time, that being said.

MY RATING: *** / *****

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