COnnecting Landscapes And Experiences In The Odyssey

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Mike Salony February 27, 2001 Fresh. English Mr. Rokous Experience and Landscape, Connection? Throughout the Odyssey, we have seen Odysseus, a man of twists and turns, battle through countless trials and tribulations. We have seen him cover vast amounts of land on his voyage, visiting several islands and cities. He has had so many new experiences on this journey; he has been tempted, seduced, shot at, and struck. Yet, along the way he still finds the occasion to smile.

In these places that Odysseus has visited, Ogygia, Scheria, and Ithaca (which we've only heard descriptions of, Book IV p. 143, L. 666-685; Book XIII p. 294, L 269-283) he has been in 3 different environments.

Ithaca, with its rocky, narrow passages, not even a horse could brave these streets. With it's broad, fertile, farming lands, and the plentiful amounts of grapes, wine, and wheat make it the ideal place for Odysseus and Telemacheus.

Where the trees grow in so many numbers that they must grow on top of each other. Along with eternal rivers that run through silent streambeds. This is where Odysseus would be truly happy, the one place that he has been yearning to come back to. Where his wife, Penelope is waiting for him, like a bird for its mother, to come home, while she fights any urge to do otherwise.

On Ogygia, Calypso's island, Odysseus has everything going for him, physically. He is making sweet love to an illustrious goddess every night; he eats and drinks endless amounts of food and nectar, the drink of the gods. He has immortality working for him, seriously, what is wrong with this picture? Odysseus is a smart man, he watches where he steps before taking one and he carefully examines any situation before jumping into it. Here on Ogygia he could have had a life that every man longs for. A wonderful goddess to make love to every night, a chance at immortality, and above all he gets to eat and drink the food of the gods. How many people get a chance like this? He would've taken it at this point; nothing could've stopped him. Then he noticed the landscape. The clincher, the one that bit the bullet. The landscape was so beautiful, it fit his eyes, it fit the mood around him, and it was too good to be true. That's when it hit him. He realized that there had to be something shrouded in the mist that was Ogygia. He left, once Hermies arrived, because he knew that it was all to good to be true, and the landscape of Ithaca was just so much more, believable. He saw through it, he proved that he isn't blind. It shows me that he may only have 2 eyes, but he uses them as if he has 4.

At Scheria, Odysseus felt great temptations. He wanted to stay there, he wanted the golden prison, and he needed royalty. He arrives there, and realizes what kind of place it is. Then the palace comes into view, and he races inside, to fight off the powers that told him to stay. He runs inside as if he's running from something, or to something. Inside he grabs onto the queen's legs, as if he begs for mercy. This shows me that he is afraid, afraid of what he's running from, afraid of what's behind him as he runs to Ithaca, and maybe he's just afraid. Fear shows me unrest on this island. Unrest in Odysseus, and unrest on the island itself. Something wasn't right, and he's glad he made it out, not alive, just with his sanity. All in all, Odysseus has fared well on all the islands and cities that he has visited. All but Phaeacia where, for some reason, Odysseus showed us that he was running from, or to something. Who knows what this might mean? Suppose that he feels that something will happen, that he needs to keep moving from? Or that he is in trouble himself? This is all very confusing, and hopefully the mist will rise as we get closer to utopia, to Ithaca.