A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey

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

BOOK SEVEN

Book 7 contains the evening of the thirty-second day of the Odyssey (cf. Appendix A), which brings Odysseu's meeting with the Phaeacian nobles and the royal couple Alcinous and Arete. The structure of the meeting is determined largely by the (overnight) *'visit' type-scene: Odysseus (i) sets off (14–45; expanded with an encounter with Athena); (ii) arrives at the palace (46–135; expanded with a detailed description of the palace); (iii) finds the Phaeacian nobles, Alcinous, and Arete (136–8); (iv) is received (139–71; here the reception takes the special form of a supplication); (v) is given a meal (172–83); (vi) a conversation ensues (doubled: 184–227 and 228–334); (viii) a bed is prepared for the guest (335–47). This will be followed later by the elements of (vii) a bath (8.433–69n.) and (ix) guest-gifts (8.389–93n.).

The element of (x) the escort to the next destination (pompe) occupies a central place in this visit. Bringing Odysseus to Ithaca is the main function of the Phaeacians (cf. 5.37), and the subject is touched upon repeatedly: the escort home is brought up for the first time by Nausicaa (6.289–315), officially placed on the agenda by Odysseus in 7.151–2 (and cf. 222–5), promised by Alcinous in 189–96, applauded by the Phaeacian nobles in 226–7, reconfirmed by Alcinous in 317–28, publicly announced by Alcinous in 8.26–40, reconfirmed again by Alcinous in 8.545 and 556, delayed in 11.328–84, and reconfirmed again just before its execution in 13.39–56.

A considerable time passes before Odysseus reveals his name to the Phaeacians. Thus the *'identification of the guest' ritual takes the form of a delayed recognition (see below). Nausicaa had not asked him for his name, though she did give him a meal and was therefore entitled to do so (cf. 6.275–85n.). Alcinous inquires about it indirectly (199–206), Arete directly (238–9), but both times Odysseus manages to avoid giving it. In 8.28–9

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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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