Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

The Odyssey is structured through a series of ring-compositions. Although scholars have ubiquitously identified ring-compositions in Homer, the technique has not been adequately theorized. This paper argues that the ring structures contribute to a thematic development that assimilates Odysseus’ return into natural cycles, and implicitly promise prosperity to those who properly receive the narrative and even immortality to those who imitate its heroes. The poem even enacts the theme of Return by bringing the past vividly into the present. This use of a conventional pattern to direct audience reception distinguishes Greek epic from the oral epic traditions worldwide that it obviously resembles.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)

10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680108.003.0005

Editor

Douglas Cairns and Ruth Scodel

Publisher

Edinburgh University Press

City

Edinburgh

ISBN

9780748680108

Publication Information

Defining Greek Narrative

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Classics Commons

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