A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey

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

BOOK SIXTEEN

This book covers the thirty-eighth day (cf. Appendix A), which is filled mainly by the reunion of Odysseus and Telemachus (an instance of the 'delayed recognition' story-pattern) and their planning of the revenge on the Suitors, which continues the planning of Athena and Odysseus in Book 13. After that, the narrator switches to the palace, for 'the Suitors in conference' and 'Penelope leaves her room' scenes.

The subject of the reunion of father and son is underscored by the narrator through his use of periphrastic denomination †: more than in any other book, Odysseus is referred to as 'father' (42, 192, 214, 221), Telemachus as 'son' (11, 178, 190, 308, 339, 452).1

1–153 An instance of the *(overnight) 'visit' type-scene, with a number of effective adaptations:2 Telemachus (i) sets off (15.555a); (ii) arrives at his destination (15.555b–557); instead of having him (iii) find Eumaeus, the narrator inserts an abrupt change of scene † (16.1–3), so that he can present (iv) Telemachus' reception from the standpoint of Eumaeus and Odysseus (4–48);3 (v) meal (49–54); and (vi) after-dinner conversation (55–153). From now on, Telemachus no longer behaves as a guest nor Eumaeus as a host; thus when Eumaeus returns to his hut in the evening, he finds Telemachus and Odysseus busy preparing dinner (452–4), and afterwards the three simply go to sleep, without any talk about preparing beds (480–1).

As earlier, when Eumaeus took care of 'the stranger' (cf. Introduction to 14), his humble but warm hospitality is stressed: he improvises a seat for Telemachus out of green brushwood and fleece (47; cf. 14.49–51), serves the

____________________
1
De Jong (1993: 302–6).
2
Arend (1933: 45–6) and Tsagarakis (1982: 70–1).
3
Friedrich (1975: 33) and Richardson (1990: 117).

-385-

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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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