Episodes Eleven and Twelve: Trouble
O Times, O mores! Yes, we did just use an obnoxious Cicero joke to signal the end of times. Or, more accurately, the end of times you’ll get an episode this season. But don’t worry, we’ve saved the best ‘til last for our season finale. You didn’t think we’d go out like a lead balloon, did you? Sarah and Abi are excited this week to bring you a double helping of raging about Odysseus.
You probably know him as one of the great heroes of Troy. And yes he is definitely that. But he’s also so much worse.
In this episode, we take one of Greek myth’s best-loved heroes and ... well ... rip him a new one. Sarah tries to play devil’s advocate – she makes some good points about his sexual entrapment with Calypso. But all-in-all the positivity doesn’t last long, and this is mostly a tirade about his terrible choices and insufferably vanity. Remember – the tales of Odysseus’ travels home in Homer’s Odyssey are mostly reported speech from the master-wordsmith himself. Big shock, he comes across well.
We honestly tried to rein it in, but he really brings out the rage in both of us. Warning: there may be quite a lot of swearing in this episode.
There’s so much ranting, in fact, that we don’t actually get to the Battle of Troy itself. We focus on Odysseus’ long journey home to Ithaca after the war. How he pisses off the gods (mostly Poseidon), loses all of his crew, let’s them take the fall for most of his antics, tricks his nearest and dearest, and dies unceremoniously. And there’s some stuff about his dweeb of a son who finally finds some spirit and just takes it out on his mum and some maidservants who really won’t have had much say in the matter.
Oh we also redefine the word ‘Odyssey’ as ‘Travel a bit, try to get home (but not very hard), and then have emotional constipation and manipulate your family’.
It’s very cathartic though. Honestly.
The features this week come from Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson.
Hesiod, Catalogue of Women, fr.68
Margret Atwood, Penelopeiad
Madeleine Miller, Circe
The Telegony (preserved in, Proclus’s Chrestomathy)
Emily Wilson translation of the Odyssey