A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey

By Irene J. F. De Jong | Go to book overview

BOOK THREE

Book 3 contains the third, fourth, and fifth day, which bring Telemachu's visit to Nestor (1–485) and his voyage to Sparta (486–97); cf. Appendix A.

1–485 Telemachu's stay with Nestor takes the form of an *(overnight) 'visit' type-scene: he (ii) arrives and (iii) finds the person he is looking for (doubled: 4–33); (iv) is received (by the Pylians in general: 34–5, and by Nestor's son Pisistratus in particular: 36–64); (v) is given a meal (65–7); (vi) converses with his host (68–385); is given (viii) a bed (396–401); (vii) a bath (464–9), and (x) an escort to his next destination (announcement: 324–6, acceptance: 368–70, execution: 474–85).

The visit to Nestor invites comparison with the visit to Menelaus (4.1ff.); the technique of juxtaposition †. The narratees may observe the following differences between the two households:1 simplicity versus luxury (Nestor's palace and the objects in it are hardly described at all, whereas Menelau's palace evokes the admiration of Telemachus and the riches of its interior are repeatedly pointed out), and warmth versus tension (Nestor's family personally takes care of Telemachus; cf. 34–64n.; Menelau's possession of one of the most beautiful women of his time is overshadowed by haunting memories of the past). Nestor and Menelaus pose a challenge to young Telemachus, who looks upon these venerable heroes as godlike figures (3.246; 4.160): in the case of Nestor he has to overcome his shyness in the presence of an older man (cf. 24), in the case of Menelaus his awe for a rich man (cf. 4.69–75 and 158–60).

The visit to Nestor also fulfils an important contrastive function vis-à-vis the situation on Ithaca, described in Books 1–2: here we have a society in

____________________
1
Reece (1993: 66–7).

-68-

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A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Glossary xi
  • Commentary 1
  • Book One 3
  • Book Two 44
  • Book Three 68
  • Book Four 89
  • Book Five 123
  • Book Six 149
  • Book Seven 170
  • Book Eight 190
  • Book Nine 221
  • Book Ten 250
  • Book Eleven 271
  • Book Twelve 296
  • Book Thirteen 313
  • Book Fourteen 340
  • Book Fifteen 362
  • Book Sixteen 385
  • Book Seventeen 407
  • Book Eighteen 437
  • Book Nineteen 458
  • Book Twenty 483
  • Book Twenty-One 504
  • Book Twenty-Two 524
  • Book Twenty-Three 545
  • Book Twenty-Four 565
  • Appendix A - The Fabula of the Odyssey 587
  • Appendix B - The Continuity of Time Principle and the 'Interlace' Technique 589
  • Appendix C - The Piecemeal Distribution of the Nostoi of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Menelaus 591
  • Appendix D - 'storm' Scenes in the Odyssey 594
  • Appendix E - The Recurrent Elements of Odysseus' Lying Tales 596
  • Appendix F - The 'storeroom' Type-Scene 598
  • Bibliography 599
  • Index of Greek Words 622
  • Index of Subjects 624
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