2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Failure to Adapt: The Breakdown of the Heroic Model in Odyssey XXIV
Jordan Z. Dillon
Dr. Bridget Thomas and Dr. Clifton Kreps, Faculty Mentors

Buildup and resolution are critical in the Odyssey; Odysseus spends a full third of the epic plotting revenge against his wife's suitors. Thus, when the suitors' relatives rise up against Odysseus, the reader expects another lengthy planning period. So, when Athena herself descends and abruptly halts the conflict, it raises a literary conundrum. Scholars have made several attempts to understand this shift in tempo: Burnett considers it a testament to Odysseus's divine righteousness, while others like Bury claim that the last book is not truly Homer's work. Unsatisfied with these theories, I propose that Homer ends the Odyssey with a political message. Homer firmly places Odysseus within the glory-focused heroic model, even at the expense of his people. When the gods (rather than Odysseus) resolve the final conflict, this signifies an end of the individualistic age of heroes, initiating instead a new age of civilized order and the larger community.

Keywords: Odyssey, Homer, Heroic Model, Ancient Greece, Suitors, Greek laws, Ancient Politics, Revenge


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 118-2
Location: OP 2117
Time: 8:15

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