THE ODYSSEY Book Eleven Book Eleven Odysseus travels

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THE ODYSSEY Book Eleven

THE ODYSSEY Book Eleven

Book Eleven Odysseus travels to the land of the Cimmerians as directed by Circe.

Book Eleven Odysseus travels to the land of the Cimmerians as directed by Circe. Here, in the river of Oceans, the people lived under a perpetual veil of mist and fog. Along the river Oceans, Odysseus digs a trench, offers libations and sacrifices. Here ghosts from the dead come to him but he does not allow them near the blood of the sacrificed animals until he speaks to Teiresias. Firstly, the unburied body of a comrade (Elpenor) comes to him and asks Odysseus to bury his body. This man fell off Circe’s roof, tumbled down the mountainside and broke his neck. He is promised a proper burial when Odysseus returns to Circe’s island. Also Odysseus’ mother Anticleia comes in a ghostly form to Odysseus, but it was Teiresias that Odysseus first

Book Eleven Teiresias arrives before Odysseus and sips the blood. He tells him that

Book Eleven Teiresias arrives before Odysseus and sips the blood. He tells him that his journey home will be difficult; Poseidon still nursed hatred for him. He tells him Poseidon will get revenge on him for blinding Polyphemus. He also instructs him, not to harm the cattle of Helios, the sun god. If he does his men will be doomed. He also predicts that he will return to Ithaca alone and kill the suitors. When he has returned to Ithaca and defeated the suitors, Tieresias tells him to go to an island that knows nothing of the sea, and bring with him a well cut oar, to sacrifice to Poseidon. When he has done this the great sea god will forgive the king for his crime. Afterwards, Odysseus will live a long and happy

Book Eleven Odysseus then speaks with his mother and they have an emotional reunion.

Book Eleven Odysseus then speaks with his mother and they have an emotional reunion. Odysseus had not known that his beloved and heart-broken mother was dead. He asks how she died and how the rest of his family are. She assures him that his wife and palace have not been stolen yet. He also finds out the sorry state of Laertes, his father, who lives alone, and goes about in rags. Odysseus wants to embrace his mother but he cannot for, in the

Book Eleven Odysseus sees other ghosts from the underworld and he tells us of

Book Eleven Odysseus sees other ghosts from the underworld and he tells us of their fate: Antiope, Oedipus, Chloris, Leda, and Phaedra. Odysseus then stops his tale but under King Alcinous’ prompting continues. Odysseus is implored to stay another day so that Alcinous can get gifts ready for him. Odysseus resumes the story and says that Persephone then arrived from the underworld and drove all the female ghosts away.

Book Eleven Then the ghost of Agamemnon comes before Odysseus. He tells Odysseus how

Book Eleven Then the ghost of Agamemnon comes before Odysseus. He tells Odysseus how he met his death, murdered by Aegisthus’ axe. Agamemnon says he also witnesses the death of Cassandra by Clytaemnestra. Just as Clytaemnestra hatched a plot to kill Agamemnon, Helen was also responsible for so many deaths at Troy. He warns Odysseus about the treachery of women, although he also assures him that Penelope is not at all like Clytemnestra. Agamemnon declares that Odysseus is a fortunate man, with a wife and son who remain loyal to him. He also advises him to go home

Book Eleven Odysseus meets other heroes of the Trojan War, including Achilles declares he

Book Eleven Odysseus meets other heroes of the Trojan War, including Achilles declares he would rather be a slave in the world above, than be lord of the underworld. They exchange news about Achilles’ son Neoptolemus. The young man fought bravely at Troy and took his place in the wooden horse eager to engage in battle against Priam. He shared the spoils of war and returned to the ship without been injured during battle. Achilles is delighted to hear of this and skips away, thrilled with the news.

Book Eleven Finally, Odysseus witnesses the tortures of the dead in Hades: Tityus, stretched

Book Eleven Finally, Odysseus witnesses the tortures of the dead in Hades: Tityus, stretched out over nine roads was unable to fend off the two vultures that plucked at his liver. The thirst-craven Tantalus can’t drink the water that reached up to his chin. Sisyphus laboured to push a mighty rock up a mountain but did not succeed. When he was nearly at the top, the boulder would roll back down again and he would have to begin the journey all over again.

Book Eleven When a multitude of ghosts begin to head in his direction, Odysseus

Book Eleven When a multitude of ghosts begin to head in his direction, Odysseus decides to leave the island, fearing that he might encounter a monster like the Gorgon. He and his crew sail away from the island.

Book Eleven: Important Points Note: The bravery of Odysseus in his descent to the

Book Eleven: Important Points Note: The bravery of Odysseus in his descent to the underworld. Note the conversation between Tiresias and Odysseus which is very important (it’s the whole point of him going to Hades in the first place). Note the emotional reunion with his mother. Note how the worlds of the Iliad and the Odyssey meet: The heroes of Troy meet and have a conversation with each other.

Book Eleven: Important Points Note how Achilles says to Odysseus that he would rather

Book Eleven: Important Points Note how Achilles says to Odysseus that he would rather be a slave in the world above than king of the underworld. To reinforce the idea that life above (earth) is better than death below (Hades), Odysseus witnesses the horrors of punishment that awaits the unjust in the underworld: Tantalus, Sisyphus and Tityos. Each of these poor beings endures hideous punishments for their crimes in the world above.

Book Eleven: Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Describe how the underworld appears

Book Eleven: Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Describe how the underworld appears to Odysseus. What does Tiresias tell Odysseus? What does Odysseus find out from his mother? What does Agamemnon tell Odysseus and what advice does he give him? What tortures does Odysseus see in Hades? Why was Odysseus trip to the underworld important?