Episode Description

In this episode, we will talk about another hero from our heroes series and that hero is Odysseus, the main character of The Odyssey by Homer. We will talk briefly about his story, but we will focus more on what makes him such a memorable hero.

Episode Audio

Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and this problem will be solved. However, the service is pretty good and the transcript will prove to be almost perfect.

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[00:01:07] Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. And we have a new episode that talks about heroes and the hero for today is Odysseus. The legendary Greek hero. DCS is one of the few literary characters who have given a word to the English language. In this case, Odyssey, meaning a long journey full of exciting adventures.

[00:01:30] Odysseus himself has also become something of a symbol. For us, he symbolizes the urge to explore, to know, to push beyond the boundaries. In this episode, we will focus on what makes ODC is different from the other Greek heroes who surround him, such men as Achilles Ajax and diameters. They fit our standard definition of hero strong and fearless or ECS.

[00:01:57] Is those things too. But he’s also something else. Polymedia, he’s the man of many Wiles or DCS is a trickster. Now first we will start with a background of the Odyssey, although we have a full episode next week to talk about the Odyssey in details, but we will need to talk about some background. So to understand better the hero or DCS.

[00:02:22] The starting points of European literature are the Iliad and the Odyssey. And these are two Epic poems in ancient Greek belong set to be by the blind poet, Homer, what easiest is a prominent figure in the first and the central figure of the second. The Elliot tells the story of a pivotal moment in the first known event in European history, the Trojan war in that war Greek Alliance besieged, and after 10 years destroyed the city of trees, Roy, through the famous stratagem of the wooden horse.

[00:02:53] That’s stratagem that was of course devised by Odysseus. The honesty then tells the story of it. Easiest has returned home after the war to the Island of Ethica, a voyage that took him 10 years, the artists, he starts near the end of that 10 year return trip for most of which RDCs has been held captive by the nymph Calypso on her Island.

[00:03:16] Who do you see as has been absent from Ethica for 20 years and the Nobles there want him declared dead. They also want his wife Penelope to choose one of them as her husband who will inherit Odysseus’s property to force her into this decision. A crowd of prospective suitors has moved in demanding to be feasted every day.

[00:03:38] The suitors also mean to kill Penelope son  as a potential Avenger. Thus, the poem has three strands. The first one at the start, it follows Tilama cusses attempts to Dodge, the suitors and round up support. The second at the end, the details or DCIS has returned and the cunning tactics he uses to eliminate Pellissippi suitors.

[00:04:00] And the third is in between. And this one tells of RDCs has released by Calypso and his eventual washing up on the shore of Phikeia. At the fire King court, ECS asked to tell his story, which he does. The central core of the poem is the real Odyssey. It covers the DCS, the standard adventures from leaving Troy to reaching Calypso, including his dealings with Searcy, the, which is survival after hearing the song of the sirens and other famous stories.

[00:04:31] Now, I would like to focus more on his encounter with the Cyclops, because the encounter with the Cyclops reveals a lot about Odysseus as a hero and as a person, of course, after leaving Troy, what is he is? And his crew are blown off course to the land of the Lotus eaters. They are the inhabitants eat a plant that makes them so happy.

[00:04:52] They never want to leave. Odysseus manages to escape with his addicted crewman and lends his ships on an Island from which they can see smoke rising from another Island nearby, curious or easiest sets off with one ship to explore the other Island and look for provisions. What is he is finds the land of the Cyclops.

[00:05:14] These are giants who have only one eye, the middle of their foreheads. They’re completely uncivilized with no social organizations. Each lives by himself, in a cave hurting flux of sheeps and goats and living off milk and cheese. I don’t know how to make bread or wine, but they’re also man eaters. What is, he is finds the cave of the giant Polyphemus and notes, the sheep pens, the pails of milk, and the racks of cheese.

[00:05:43] His men want to take the provisions and return to the ship, but Odysseus decides they should wait inside the cave to see the giant, which was a big mistake. Of course. When Polyphemus returns, he seals the cave with an enormous Boulder Odysseus appeals to Polyphemus reminding him that they are guests and Zeus.

[00:06:02] Father of the gods is the protector of guests. Poly famous is unmoved. He sees two crew men, dashes their brains out and eat them raw. Hey plans to eat the men two at a time at breakfast and dinner. Well, if a miss falls asleep, as soon as Eaton, but ODC is scanned kill him because he and his men will still be trapped in the cave.

[00:06:24] And although Polyphemus will open the cave in the morning, he’ll guard the entrance to prevent the men from sneaking out. Who do you see as considers his resources notes, his enemies weakness. His one eye and makes a plan. He and his men fashioned a steak from an olive tree. Polyphemus has in the cave or ECS then offers Polyphemus wine to which the giant is unaccustomed only famous S ODC is his name and promises him a gift in return for the wine.

[00:06:53] Odysseus says that his name is nobody and Polyphemus says that his return gift will be to eat nobody last during the night, as Polyphemus lies, drunk, the men hate the olive spike in the fire and thrusted into the giants. One eye, he howls for help and other side clubs come from their caves nearby and ask, who has attacked him?

[00:07:18] Believe him as of course, shouts out. Nobody did it. And the other Cyclops simply returned to their caves in the morning. Polyphemus rolls the rock aside to let the sheep out. He sits by the door, running his hands over the sheep to ensure that there is no man with them. But RACs has tied the big grams together in threes using strips of Willow from the giants bed and slung a man under each one.

[00:07:44] He goes out last under the biggest of the ramps, having escape the Greeks round up as many sheep as they can load up their galley and roll for salt water. In spite of the pleas of his crew or easiest towns, Polyphemus telling him who blinded him. The giant who his father is, the sea God Poseidon praised us, his father to put a curse on it.

[00:08:06] Easiest. Although the hero’s divine protector, Athena will not allow RDCs to be drowned per se, and sees to it that it takes 10 years for him to reach home. And in those 10 years, he loses all his companions. Now, as this story shows, ODC is certainly tricky and resourceful. But is he a good leader? He’s a survival, no doubt, but the people who are with him often don’t survive for long.

[00:08:31] This brings us to the issue of differences in cultural values. A hero in one culture may be very different from a hero in another, or ECS has cultural values are those of a heroic age. Meaning a particular set of social circumstances. These circumstances have arisen only twice in European history once after the fall of the Roman empire from 400 to 680.

[00:08:56] And once earlier at a time that is difficult to pinpoint. Most people think that Homer created his poems about 750 years before the birth of Christ, the Trojan war took place perhaps 300 years before that archeology has revealed that the Greek cities that launched the assault on Troy, my CNA Terrans and kenosis supported the complex and incredibly bureaucratic civilization.

[00:09:22] He had Homer knew nothing about their advances. The heroes in Homer’s poems don’t seem to have heard of writing. And most scholars think that Homer himself couldn’t read or write his poems were composed and passed on for centuries by word of mouth, the old city civilizations that home response, commemorate collapsed so completely that their treasures weren’t found until the 19th century.

[00:09:47] What happened and what effect did it have? He’s he had a Greek poet from about the same time as Homer gives us a clear answer, Imperial overreach. He tells him a race of heroes destroyed by grim war. The great cities of Southern Greece wasted their energy, trying to capture the lands of central Greece, which is Thebes and launching a Naval attack on Troy, perhaps hoping to seize control of the grain trade with a black sea area.

[00:10:18] The survivors were sitting ducks for new enemies. Since that time said his head man had been living in an age of cruelty, deceit and anarchy in a heroic age, post collapse, age, a primary culture of value is this every man for himself in such a time, there is not much more social organization than the Cyclops have anyone who strays outside his skin group is likely to be made asleep.

[00:10:45] Authority has no basis except personal violence. And the only moral restraint is the idea that the gods may punish cruelty to guests and strangers. These circumstances may account for some of the complexity of what he sees as character. He might like to be more civilized, but in a heroic age, what makes a hero or a sword speared and shield and the ability to use them.

[00:11:11] And now we’ll move on to talk about Odysseus’s return. In the time of RDCs, the Greeks had invented neither democracy nor aristocracy. The Greek heroes were autocrats for them. Power was personal, but that presents a problem for a DCS. When he returns home, he can reveal himself to his wife and suitors and attempt to claim his rights.

[00:11:34] The suitors will merely cut his throat. Odysseus must rely on himself and a few advantages and the biggest of these advantages that he is tricky. And he has friends among the slaves and also he possesses the useful quality of self-restraint Odysseus returns to Ethica disguised as an old beggar. He is kicked by his own goat herds, and the suitors throw things at him, but he keeps up his act.

[00:12:01] His old housekeeper sees through his disguise, but she keeps quiet about or diseases, identity. Touchingly his old dog Argos also recognizes his master and wags his tail. Still getting rid of more than 100 suitors will be trickier than escaping from the cave of Polyphemus. DCS has, you may, as the swine herd on his side, you may use his friend, the cow herd, and  all now in on the plot, the hero develops a four point plan to trap the suitors in the hole where they feast and trick them into allowing him to shoot his old war bowl.

[00:12:38] Once he has the bowl and start shooting. His supporters will fend off the suitors until he has shot all the arrows. By then, the suitors will be panicked and ODCs, and the others will finish the job. The plan doesn’t go exactly as expected, but it works. Odysseus is merciless. When those who have been disloyal to him are dead.

[00:13:01] He rescues his old father from the hovel where he’s been living rejoins, Penelope and resumed his rule over Ethica. Who does he is, presents us with a hero is not exactly the same, like. Other powerful heroes, such as Achilles diameters or Ajax. He teaches us about trickery, which was not always the best image of a hero.

[00:13:23] Heroes are usually strong, fearless, and they face the dangers they have ahead of them head on. They are not afraid of anything, no matter what the circumstances were. If we talk about Achilles, Achilles, Knew he was going to die in Troy, but he charged head on anyway, even though we talked in details in the Elliot episode, that Achilles was a different man at the end of the Eliot than he was at the beginning.

[00:13:49] But the usual hero stereotype is that person who is ready to sacrifice his life and maybe the lives of everybody around him. For a cause. Well, Odysseus at some point was like that, but he puts his own survival and the survival of his family above everything else. And to achieve your goals, you don’t always charge head on.

[00:14:13] Sometimes you can resort to more cunning methods and that’s what Odysseus showed us. And in the story leading to his return home and the adventures he had along the way. Well, if he, mr. Cyclops was one of them, Searcy was another, his imprisonment by Calypso, his salient across sailor and corrupt, this and other feeds that he had along the way.

[00:14:36] He showed us that he was not the perfect person. He was not perfect at all. He had his own mistakes. He had his own problems that led him to lose all his men. He survived, but all his men died. So he becomes a controversial hero, a controversial, cool hero to us and to a lot of people who think about the idea of hero, the hero is not always that noble person that does everything for the sake of others.

[00:15:05] No RDC is, was kind of selfish at times. And his curiosity and pride caused the loss of many men along the way. Actually this idea of a hero, like a Superman doesn’t exist and real heroes are full of flaws and mistakes and they exercise self-restraint and they have patients until they get to what they want at the end. [00:15:27] So this was about Odysseus. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. Don’t forget. You can find the transcript of this episode in the link I left you in the description. This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening and I will see you next time.