[Review] The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey

Title: The Odyssey
Author: Homer
Publisher: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition November 1, 1997
Genre: Fiction
Theme: The long heroic journey home for Odysseus.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 560
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

The Odyssey is a Greek epic poem. A sequel to The Iliad. Written by a man named Homer (which we know little about) in late 8th or early 7th BC. It was composed in Ionia, a coastal region of Anatolia (present day Turkey.)
Odysseus had left his wife and unborn son to fight in the Trojan war. The war lasted ten years. On his journey home he was detained and imprisoned by lonely Calypso for seven years. He was detained by storms at sea (created by Poseidon), witch goddess Circe, and the kingdom of the dead. His adventure home was thwarted at each turn by angry Poseidon; yet helped by attentive Athena (daughter of Zeus.)  It took ten years to reach home. Meanwhile his wife Penelope and son Telemachus presume him dead. Men who are suitors compete for Penelope's hand in marriage. She tires of their ploy.

My Thoughts:
I feel like I'm "in over my head" in trying to write a review on a Greek classic. Way back in high school I was the kid in the corner desk trying hard not to be noticed, spending my class time daydreaming or sleeping.
Did I like this epic poem? Yes.
Do I feel my brain grew in size after reading it? Yes.
Do I feel it changed my understanding of Greek mythology? Yes. 
Would I read more Greek mythology in the future? Yes.

My first impression after beginning the story of Odysseus journey home was that it has similarities in many modern day stories, movies.
  • A handsome brave hero. 
  • Has a family at home waiting for him. 
  • Has a son that yearns for a father. 
  • Has a wife that is lonely for a husband, ally, protector, partner in parenting.
  • The hero has obstacles. 
  • There is an antagonist, or several.
  • The hero against all odds achieves his goal. 
  • Maybe not a happily ever after ending but close. 
Since time began people have loved stories. Before stories were written, they were verbally told to others. People love a hero and they love a sappy ending. People love adventure, they may not be the adventurous sort, but they love to hear the adventures of others more daring.

Why will I read another Greek mythology story? I don't have a philosophical or academic reason for wanting to read another Greek mythology story. The Odyssey has peaked my interest in something I'd
ignored before (and for no good reason.) I'm quite certain The Iliad will be next.

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More information on The Odyssey and Homer:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/26275 (a commentary)


  1. Kudos to you for tackling this one! We read excerpts from The Odyssey when I was in high school, but never the whole thing. It's something I've often told myself I SHOULD do but never got around to (yet). Good to know that you enjoyed it...hopefully I will say the same when I finally read it all the way through. :)


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