Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Odyssey, Bk 5: Odysseus-Nymph and Shipwreck

The Odyssey Now Dawn arose from her couch from beside lordly Tithonus

Tithonus, that's not a mythic name you hear very often. Poor Tithonus...he was granted immortality but not perpetual youth.

Once again Athena speaks to the other gods, especially Zeus. "Daddy, daddy, can we get Odysseus home now. You said! And Telemachus is in danger! We have to do something!

"My child," Zeus who marshalls the thunderheads replied,
"what nonsense you let slip through your teeth. Come now,
wasn't the plan your own? You conceived it yourself:
Odysseus shall return and pay the traitors back.
Telemachus? Sail him home iwth all your skill--(24-28)
So Hermes takes the message to Calypso, who complies. She gives Odysseus the tools he needs, he creates his raft, and he packs his bags and leaves. But not before the two had a little good-bye sex. Natch.

Ruh roh, again.
But now Poseidon, god of the earthquake, saw him--
just returning home from his Ethiopian friends,
from miles away on the Solymi mountain-range
he spied Odysseus sailing down the sea
and it made his fury boil even more. (309-313)
Calmus' daughter Ino advises Odysseus to strip and wear her scarf and leave the wreckage of his raft behind. At first he doesn't but then he must. When he reaches shore he is to throw it back without looking back. He does so, but not before several cliffhanger moments of sea surges and rugged reefs.
Struggling up from the banks, he flung himself
in the deep reeds, he kissed the good green earth
and addressed his fighting spirit, deperate still (512-514)
Shore? Woods? Cold wind? Wild beasts? He chooses wild beasts, and finds a sheltered spot with leaves to cover himself.

1 comment:

Murasaki said...

An aside: I've read of myrmidon used as an insult:

Myr⋅mi⋅don

1. Classical Mythology. one of the warlike people of ancient Thessaly who accompanied Achilles to the Trojan War.
2. (lowercase) a person who executes without question or scruple a master's commands.