Talk:The Ancient World (HUM 124 - UNC Asheville)/Texts/Odyssey/Setting in space and time

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Approaches to this topic[edit source]

  • Think about time and space as two separate parts of storytelling, then, if possible, as a single thing (like "spacetime" in physics). Is there a kind of "spacetime" associated with Odyssey, or maybe with epics?
  • What generic types of locales do you find in the Odyssey? Any repeating patterns? E.g., islands, palaces, beaches...Try to list some, then think about if they themselves are symbolic. Why are there so many palaces of heroes of the Trojan War in the epic? Who visits them and what happens there? What happens on beaches? What happens inside palaces? What happens in caves? What happens on boats?
  • You can also think about how scenes are constructed. Are there certain settings that are described in detail? Or left vague? What does the detail add? Is it just for entertainment and for the enjoyment of being able to visualize exotic places? Or are there certain settings that are connected closely with the events of the plot? Or maybe with the way a character is created?
  • Time is a very interesting and complex dimension of the Odyssey. How long do episodes last in the story world? What parts of the story are presented in a linear way? Or in speeches by a character reminiscing about the past? Or maybe in other ways? Do long stretches of time pass without much happening? When? Or, conversely, are there stretches of time that are full of events, and seem to move slow?

-Joey Cross (discusscontribs) 22:16, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

Underworld[edit source]

@Bryce Pugh: Great start! When writing about the negative aspect of the underworld (especially as discussed by Achilles), could you steer that discussion in terms of the underworld as a space? What are you missing when you dwell there, in terms of your physical location, the "coordinates" of your life?

I'd definitely give some quotations to support your discussion, especially about how Odysseus accesses the underworld through the "interface." This would help make what you are saying clear! -Joey Cross (discusscontribs) 14:27, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

What I wrote on the underworld:


In book 11 Odysseus sails to an island in search of the gates to the underworld to receive guidance from Tiresias and pay respects to the other spirits. In relation to space it's not clearly stated in book 11 whether Odysseus actually goes to the underworld or not, but you can piece together that he was probably right inside the gates of the Hades because the spirits “came up out of Erebus and gathered round” with Erebus being a deeper part of hell. Also early in book 12 Circe says to Odysseus “You all went alive to Hades--you will be twice-dead” basically confirming the fact that Odysseus was indeed in the underworld.


It seems that time moves at the same speed in the underworld as it does in the over world for mortals because Odysseus grows tired while speaking with all of the spirits and they are aware of the time that has passed since they were sent there, while dressed and appear the same as the day they died meaning that spirits no longer age.