Technomad on July 20, 2009, 01:06:12 pm
I could make a fairly good case that, on the whole, they don't deserve to die.  Odysseus has been gone for ten freakin' years, and after that long MIA, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that he's not ever coming back. 

Unless Penelope had real good reasons to know that he was alive and would return, her behavior is, at least, highly irresponsible.  As a royal person, she has duties to balance her privileges (insofar as any Ancient Greek woman had privileges; their lives would make modern Saudi women look like wild swingers) and one of those duties is to put her people's welfare first.  Marrying the strongest suitor, or the one who would offer Ithaca the best alliance, would be the indicated thing to do. 

And if Penelope had remarried, her new husband would have some good cogent reasons to want to get rid of Telemachus.  A rival royal line would be a fertile source of all sorts of trouble (look at England with Stephen vs. Matilda, or the later Wars of the Roses).   So I could see Telemachus discouraging his mother from remarrying, but I'd have thought that once he was old enough, he'd want to take the reins himself.  If he had, Odysseus' welcome might not have been as warm as he'd have wished it to be, suitors or no.

SDGrant on July 20, 2009, 02:10:22 pm
Well... the suitors have spent much time abusing Penelope's hospitality, drinking and eating up the kingdom's asset and basically holding the palace hostage.  So in that regard they're probably not the best of guys.

But, as in your example of why anyone marrying Penelope would be advised to get rid of Telemachus, it's not really a question of whether the suitors deserve to die.  At that point how much choice does Odysseus have in the matter, even if we ignore his indignation over their treatment of his family and property?  They've presented themselves as rivals for his throne, and leaving them alive leaves him surrounded by enemies who want what he has.

Though space (and story rhythm) kept me from dwelling on it, the suitors are also mostly or all Ithacans, so killing them also creates problems for Odysseus, who at that point has pretty much wiped out all the men on Ithaca, one generation having gone off to war with him and never come back and the next generation slain by him in his palace.  But killing them is a question of honor and personal safety, not good or evil.

As for Penelope, she is, yes, being irresponsible as a queen though she has an out in that Odysseus' death has never been reported so as far as she knows she isn't free to marry, no matter what she may suspect.  When the twenty year mark passes, she can no longer shield herself from responsibility with virtue.  On the other hand, Ithaca seems not to have faced any external threats in that period so the necessity for a new king is questionable.  And I suspect Telemachus would want to replace Penelope on the throne... except he clings to a boyish certainty that his father's return is imminent.  (He's probably a little disappointed, when Odysseus does surface, to find the Great Hero he'd always heard of was a more or less ordinary man - at that point a fairly disheveled, emaciated ordinary man - rather than an overmuscled firebreathing giant.  But the thought of Odysseus would keep Telemachus' regal ambitions in check, at least for a little longer.)

- Grant

Scott on July 21, 2009, 03:34:44 pm
FWIW, when I was drawing these pages I always referred to the suitors as "the 300 douchebags." Don't feel bad at all about seeing them slaughtered.

Rocketman on July 21, 2009, 05:02:21 pm
Scott: You know that it is just possible that one or more of the "douchebags" is a fairly decent guy who wants to marry Penelope because he had always been in love with her, would treat her son decently and step aside when he was old enough to become the king and really just wanted what was best for the kingdom figuring like everyone else did that Odysseus was dead.  Yes, I know it's a long shot but it is possible.

cyberbard on July 22, 2009, 03:53:11 pm
The 20 year gap was Homer using the "fifth wall" to drive home Penelope's virtue and loyalty to her husband.  In real life it wouldn't make much sense, but in an epic poem that is designed to teach and inspire high ideals, it's fine.  Now with this being a more realistic take on the story, Penelope's delay could be explained by simply saying that... yes, all of the suitors are evil, and she couldn't come up with a good way to get rid of them.

I read a book once that tracked the likely course of the historical Odyssey, and documented (as best it could) the series of events that became the basis for Homer's poem.  This study claimed that the actual voyage from Troy to Ithaca only took around 2 years, but it was expanded to twenty for literary effect.  Also, the researchers suspect that several of the events that occur in the poem actually happened to other people.  That is, Odysseus is given credit for things he never did.  <snicker>  Such things happen in a oral tradition.

Sidebar: Another interesting idea that book posed was that Odysseus (or the man who became the basis for him), and Sinbad, of the Arabian Knight's fame, were inspired by the same man!  I'm not sure how stable that theory is, but it's an interesting one.  Given that both hero's tend to be highly cunning men with a knack for prevailing through impossible odds, it's not without some merit.  YMMV.

I read that book in High School, and that's over 25 years ago.  I don't remember the specifics of the book, but I'll try to track it down if there is interest.

Technomad on July 22, 2009, 09:25:30 pm
If I were tasked with getting rid of the suitors, I could think of several interesting ways. 

One would be the "Red Harvest" way---play them off against each other and watch them kill each other off.

Another way would be for Penelope to become such a shrieking harridan that no one sane would want to marry her..."You thought I'd like this?  Who are you to think?  Leave thinking to the horses---their heads are bigger!  All I want from you is obedience, and that of the blindest kind!  O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E, that is what you give to me!  Serve your mistress!  Breathe in!  Breathe out!  Do as you are told!"  And on and on, all delivered in a voice that could shatter glass, and would make Zeus on Olympus grateful for his sweet, nice Hera.  (The beauty of this plan is that for most women, it's not so much an act as letting the real personality shine through full-force.) 

Yet another, particularly considering that these guys are apparently NOT invited guests, would be to serve them a feast, laced with paralysis toxins...then let them sit there at the table, starving and dying of thirst with a huge feast spread out before them.  That's the sort of funny joke that would ensure peace and tranquillity for a long time afterwards.

Wing Zero on July 23, 2009, 04:51:43 pm
Hmm,

If I came home and found 300 guys trying to bag my wife and possibly kill my kid, I'd go nuts on them too...

With a sniper rifle and a few dozen well placed explosives instead of a bow - I don't care how "NICE" they were.

Anyway... in the original story, I seem to recall from highschool when I read this, one of the suitors was "nice" to Odysseus when he was dressed as a beggar.  Odysseus told this young suitor to leave the palace.  This young suitor did not leave.  Come killing time, he pleaded for mercy, and Odysseus killed him on the spot, saying something like, "you had your chance, now everyone dies..."

Maybe that gives everyone some insight... or not, if I'm wrong.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 01:29:58 pm by Wing Zero »

I.Strange on July 31, 2009, 12:49:41 pm
Anyway... in the original story, I seem to recall from highschool when I read this, one of the suitors was "nice" to Odysseus when he was dressed as a beggar.  Odysseus told this young suitor to leave the palace.  This young suitor did not leave.  Come killing time, he pleaded for mercy, and Odysseus killed him on the spot, saying something like, "you had your chance, now everyone dies..."

Maybe that gives everyone some insight... or not, if I'm wrong.

Close.  Eurymachus makes an oily plea for mercy, to which Odysseus says eff you:  "The choice now lies before you, either to face me and fight, or else to run and see if you can escape death and doom, though I do not think any of you will get away alive."

Shortly thereafter the young suitor, Amphinomus, charges Odysseus to force him from the door (presumably to escape, given his character) and Telemachus spears him (presumably in error, given his character; he didn't recognize Amphinomus from behind, or he was unaware of his benign nature, or he was too inexperienced to correctly suss his intent).  We don't actually know how Odysseus would've reacted.  At any rate, the message here is 'don't associate with bad people lest you suffer their fate.'  The Odyssey is a bible of practical ethics.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 09:58:00 pm by I.Strange »

I.Strange on July 31, 2009, 08:45:32 pm
I could make a fairly good case that, on the whole, they don't deserve to die.  Odysseus has been gone for ten freakin' years, and after that long MIA, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that he's not ever coming back.

Yes, but there was another reason not to remarry to which you've already alluded:  "While my son was young and dependent it was out of the question for me to leave my husband's house and marry again."  Odysseus, in fact, requested that Penelope not remarry until Telemachus was of age, which is when the story takes place.  Additionally, Odysseus left stewardship of the household to Mentor, to act in his aged father's behalf.  Admittedly, I don't know if this extended to stewardship of the kingdom or what Penelope's royal duties entailed.  Ithaca, however, was a small, backwater island of autonomous households—the equivalent of a hick farm-town—and if Penelope was shirking her queenly responsibilities, the book doesn't say (she's praised, in fact).  From that, I'm assuming she acted properly.

I read a great summary recently in regards to the suitors' culpability.  From Peter Jones' introduction to the Penguin Classics edition (revised Rieu translation, 1991):

First, in the ancient world, the survival of any household depends on its ability to feed itself.  Anyone who threatens the economic self-sufficiency of a family is, in the long term, threatening its very survival.  Second, the suitors are unambiguously warned that their behaviour will lead to their destruction, but they ignore such warnings (2.170 ff., 20.345 ff.): Homer is careful to establish the ethical pattern of the Odyssey at its very start, with Zeus' speech that humans bring disaster upon themselves by ignoring divine warnings (cf. 1.32–43; cf. 1.7–9).  Third, the suitors intend not merely to destroy Odysseus' household if they have to, but to kill Odysseus if he returns (2.244–51) and Telemachus while he is away (4.843).  Fourth, without any sort of state intervention in matters of crime and punishment, responsibility for righting wrongs lies with the family.  Whatever one may think of the severity of Odysseus' revenge, no Greek would have argued that he did not have a right to take it.

Also, it bears mentioning that Telemachus called a public meeting to issue complaint.  Suitors and Ithacans alike chose to do nothing.

And finally, no means no.  I think I saw that in an advertisement once... :) 
« Last Edit: August 01, 2009, 12:06:46 am by I.Strange »

Rocketman on August 01, 2009, 09:25:24 am
If I were tasked with getting rid of the suitors, I could think of several interesting ways. 

One would be the "Red Harvest" way---play them off against each other and watch them kill each other off.

Another way would be for Penelope to become such a shrieking harridan that no one sane would want to marry her..."You thought I'd like this?  Who are you to think?  Leave thinking to the horses---their heads are bigger!  All I want from you is obedience, and that of the blindest kind!  O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E, that is what you give to me!  Serve your mistress!  Breathe in!  Breathe out!  Do as you are told!"  And on and on, all delivered in a voice that could shatter glass, and would make Zeus on Olympus grateful for his sweet, nice Hera.  (The beauty of this plan is that for most women, it's not so much an act as letting the real personality shine through full-force.) 

Yet another, particularly considering that these guys are apparently NOT invited guests, would be to serve them a feast, laced with paralysis toxins...then let them sit there at the table, starving and dying of thirst with a huge feast spread out before them.  That's the sort of funny joke that would ensure peace and tranquillity for a long time afterwards.

I don't think that there's any need for all that.  Just hold a big feast just before Penelope announces her choice and when they're all good and drunk just put some ground glass in all their
drinks.  ;D

cheilitis on January 05, 2010, 02:33:38 am
lol 25 years is a long time for me as well, but you can always sign me up for the drinks and buffet...^^
cure angular cheilitis treatment cheilitis treatment

carsu on February 04, 2010, 06:40:43 pm
lol 25 years is a long time for me as well, but you can always sign me up for the drinks and buffet...^^
its depends how old are you right now, lol
Dapatkan beasiswa luar negeri 2010 Sekarang!
Cari hosting murah untuk blog atau perusahaan ?
Informasi lowongan kerja 2010 Hari ini ?

Rocketman on February 07, 2010, 03:59:33 pm
Scott:  The damn spammers are back and this time it's porno.   >:(  >:(

Farmville on February 08, 2010, 10:15:10 pm
Thank you for bringing back Odysseus the rebel.  I am such a fan of Greek mythology and I love how the characters get so intricately webbed against each other.  I think that not too many people know there are other characters in the Greek mythology such as Odysseus who deserve to be in the spotlight as well.  Kudos!

Farmville Secrets
<a href="http://cheatspulse.com/">Farmville</a>

KBCraig on February 09, 2010, 08:32:52 am
Scott:  The damn spammers are back and this time it's porno.   >:(  >:(

Not all of them. Some are peddling farmville cheats.