2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Suffering Man and House: The Centrality of Human Misery in the Odyssey


Joseph R. Slama
Dr. Clifton Kreps and Dr. Amy Norgard, Faculty Mentors

This paper explores links between the Odyssey and the its protagonist’s sufferings. In examining the trials Odysseus deals and endures, as well as the grief of his family, we better understand how Homer constructs identity and heroics.

Previous scholarship has focused on Odysseus as crafty. While this is crucial, I differ by subordinating this craftiness within a framework of suffering inflicted and borne. I first examine key descriptors of Odysseus that illuminate his dual nature. I then situate this characterization in Odysseus’ household to understand how suffering operates communally. Finally, I examine contrasts between Odysseus and other characters and in response to suffering.

My paper delineates heroism in the Odyssey by contrasting the response to suffering by Odysseus and his house with that of others. I situate Odysseus and his house in broader light than often presented: examining their grief sheds light to how Homer uses suffering to shape identity.

Keywords: Odysseus, Odyssey, Greek, literature, antiquity, epics, oral poetics, Classics

Topic(s):Classics
Greek

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 204-2
Location: BH 219
Time: 10:30

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