The Iliad and the Odyssey in comparison

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What are the differences between the Iliad and the Odyssey? Come and find out here on my blog!

The IIiad and the Odyssey are two literary works written by Homer, but what have in common and in contrast the two works?

The Iliad is an epic poem traditionally attributed to Homer.

Set during the Trojan War, recounting the battles and events during the last weeks of the conflict.

The story opens with the war already underway for 10 years, where the Greeks are encamped outside the walls of the city of Troy.

Agamemnon holds a woman named Chryseis prisoner. The woman’s father offers to pay Agamemnon but Agamemnon refuses.

Apollo intervenes attacking the Greeks to whom Achilles decides not to fight.

Zeus despite that he was neutral, intervenes in favor of the Trojans.

Meanwhile, Hector, the best Trojan warrior, is hit by a giant rock thrown by Aias.

Apollo appears healing Hector, making him even stronger than before.

The Greeks are about to lose the war, but at a certain point Achilles‘ best friend: “Patroclus” begs Achilles to fight, but he refuses.

The fury of Achilles.

Patroclus then decided to wear Achilles’ armor by entering the war.

He was advancing well, keeping the Greeks going until he runs into Hector.

Hector kills Patroclus and took the Achilles armor that Patroclus wore.

Afflicted by the loss of his friend, Achilles enters the war, is forged by the Greek God: “Hephaestus” a new armor.

After an arduous battle against Hector, Achilles manages to kill his rival,

but subsequently Paris shot an arrow guided by Apollo and, since the Greek God knew of Achilles’ weak point,

namely the heel, the latter was hit by the arrow, dying quickly for the wound.

A representation of the Trojan horse.

Odysseus had a brilliant idea to reverse the situation, they built a giant wooden horse,

while the rest of the Greek army set sail with the ships.

The Trojans believing it was a gift from the Greeks, believed they had won and let themselves go to the festivities.

During the night Odysseus and his men came out of the wooden horse, killing and massacring all the Trojans,

thus opening the doors, they gave the opportunity to let the rest of the army in, making the ships land and totally destroying Troy.

Penelope awaits Odysseo.

The Odyssey narrates the long journey made by Odysseus to return home, to Ithaca, after the conquest of the city of Troy.

The work also presents the events following the death of Hector, with which the Iliad ended, such as the conquest of the city of Troy, which took place through the trick of the horse devised by our protagonist.

Like the Iliad, the poem consists of 24 books in hexameters, collected in three major thematic groups:

  • Books I-IV: Ten years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, for which Odysseus left Ithaca when his son was still a child. Now Telemachus is about twenty years old and lives with his mother Penelope, waiting for her husband to return. In the meantime, a council of the gods meets to decide the fate of Odysseus who has been held for eight years by the nymph Calypso on the island of Ogygia. As soon as Poseidon leaves to participate in a banquet, the gods decide to allow Odysseus to return to Ithaca. Hermes will then go to Calypso to convince her to let go of our protagonist, while the goddess Athena, assuming the guise of King Mentes, goes to Telemachus, to induce him to leave in search of her father. Thus begins the story of the journey of Telemachus who goes, unbeknownst to his mother, first to one of the most venerable Greek heroes from Troy, Nestor, and then, accompanied by Pisistrato, son of Nestor, to Menelaus, to Sparta. The latter reveals to him that in Egypt he learned from the god of the sea Proteus that Odysseus is a prisoner of the nymph in Ogygia.
  • Books V-XII: Calypso, after receiving the order from Hermes to let Odysseus go, helps the hero in building a raft to help him leave. After a few days of smooth sailing, Odysseus is the victim of a violent storm unleashed by Poseidon. After he manages to land on the beach of the island of Scheria, where he, exhausted, falls asleep. Nausicaa, the following morning, she goes to the river where she plays ball with the maids, until she wakes up Odysseus, who asks her about the place where she is. Frightened, the servants run away: only Nausicaa listens to the hero and offers him his help, urging him to ask for hospitality from his parents. The following day a banquet is organized in his honor, and Demodocus, a cantor, tells the episodes concerning the fall of Troy and the deception of the horse: Odysseus, hearing the story of the war, weeps and Alcinoo invites him to reveal his identity. Odysseus reveals his name and begins to narrate the return from the end of the war. Here begins the long flashback through which the events of the Greek hero are retraced. After the war, Odysseus lands in the land of the Ciconi and sacks the city of Ismara, where forced to flee Odysseus lands on the island of the Lotophages, then the land of the Cyclops. Here the Greek hero and his companions are captured by Polyphemus, and Odysseus is saved by resorting to his cunning, Odysseus makes the Cyclops drunk and then blinds him with a hot pole. Odysseus and his companions, hidden under some sheep, then escape the monster. The hero then lands in the land of the Lestrigoni, cannibal giants who kill Odysseus’ crew, who flees with the only surviving ship to the island of Eea. Here the seductive sorceress Circe, in love with the protagonist, transforms the rest of the troop into pigs, to which after a stay of almost a year with the sorceress, the latter sends them to the land of the Cimmerians, from which Odysseus can descend into Hades. Here he meets many Greek heroes, including Agamemnon, Achilles and Heracles and above all the soothsayer Tiresias, who foretells him the fight against the suitors.
Poseidon from Aeneid and the Odyssey in Fedrick Fantasy Kingdom by Federico Carro
A representation of Poseidon.
  • XIII-XXIV: Arriving at the beach of Ithaca, Odysseus is transformed into an old beggar. Later Athena goes to Sparta to see Telemachus, to urge him to return home, while Odysseus asks for hospitality from Eumeo, a humble swineherd who remained faithful to him after so many years, thus learning of the tyranny imposed by the suitors on his wife Penelope. Joined by his son, to whom he reveals his identity, Odysseus organizes the plan to implement revenge. Odysseus, always with the appearance of a miserable beggar, goes to the royal palace, where he has the opportunity to observe the vulgarity of the suitors. Recognized only by the faithful dog Argus, who dies immediately after seeing him again, Odysseus has an interview with his wife, who does not know she is in front of her husband. Odysseus, keeping her unknown, announces her future return. In the midst of the constant bullying of the suitors, even against Odysseus himself, Penelope announces a competition with Odysseus’ bow to choose a new king. The woman will marry whoever will be able to draw the bow and shoot an arrow through the ring of twelve axes. While the suitors fail miserably, Odysseus easily passes the test and, with the help of Telemachus, exterminates his opponents. Penelope puts her husband one last test: to describe in all the details their wedding bed. Odysseus then goes to his father Laertes, to whom he accurately describes an orchard given to him by his parent. With the help of Athena a last internal revolt appeased, Odysseus, once again king of Ithaca, draws up pacts of peace and peaceful coexistence.

What do have in common The IIiad and the Odyssey? Find out below my video: The comparison and the contrast between the Iliad and the Odyssey.


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