Character treatment in The Odyssey
- The greatness of Homer lies not only in his consummate artistry in style and plot construction, but, above all, in his knowledge and portrayal of human personality and behavior.
- He touches on almost all basic human emotions and motives.
- Activity: list emotions and motives and find characters that exhibit them.
- He created about 40 great characters of universal scope.
- Characters are individualized, up to a certain point.
- Personality is not described, but must be deduced by the reader from the character’s actions and words
- Julie – This is an “objective” style that requires reader participation
- Characters are living human beings, portrayed with the fine qualities, limitations, and contradictions of real people.
- Julie – discuss Odysseus boasting to the Cyclops, overheard by Poseidon, and what that means to his future travels.
- He expresses the dignity and joy of life, but also its tragedy and sadness, especially the inevitability of death
(Reinhold page 39-40)
Reinhold, Meyer. Greek and Roman Classics, 1971, Barrons, New York.