How Does Homer 's Representation Of Ithaca Essays

1536 Words 7 Pages
How does Homer 's representation of Ithaca in the Odyssey relate to his portrayal of other communities?
Throughout the Odyssey, Ithaca is constantly hailed as the ideal community, one which Odysseus desperately seeks to return to from the savage and uncivilised lands he journeys through. Homer uses this representation of Ithaca as the ideal Greek community to both emphasise the differences and lack of civilisation in other communities – such as in the land of the Cyclopes – and draw comparisons between more civilised communities encountered by Odysseus, in particular that of the Phaecians. This allows Homer to create some communities which would appear even more alien and magical to his audience, and some which would have an air of familiarity, perhaps contributing to how enrapturing they would have found his tales.

The first half of the Odyssey tells of Odysseus’ struggle to reach his home, the land of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and son Telemachus wait. Ithaca is described by Odysseus always in very positive terms – he tells Alcinous, king of the Phaecians, that ‘no sight is sweeter to me than Ithaca’ – and he is described as longing for its shores numerous times in the book. Ithaca is very much held up as an example of the ideal community within the Odyssey, and indeed, many of its features would have been familiar to Greeks at the time. As a community, Ithaca is respectful of the gods, has agricultural prosperity, and partakes in common Greek activities such as…

Related Documents