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Bible and the Odyssey - Essay Example

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Bible and the Odyssey Compare or Contrast the Use of Deception in the Hebrew Bible and the Odyssey The first three particular components of five-part pattern indicate that Genesis 12: 10 -20 is an underdog tale, a tale that indicates the succession from a lower to a higher status…
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Bible and the Odyssey
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Download file to see previous pages “Deceiver, creator, acculturator, unmasked liar, survivor – these qualities of the trickster do apply to the deceiving, ethically ambiguous survivor Abram of Genesis 12: 10 – 20” (Niditch 45). Abram is portrayed as a trickster; this is because he is the Israelites’ progenitor and the traditional initiator of Yahwism, and the first contributor of covenant with God (Niditch 45). The tale of Abram in Genesis 12 outlines the particular trickster morphology that is common pattern of the narrative components; in this case, the trickster plays his or her role. This morphology is unique to both the Israelite literature and other literatures found throughout the universe (Niditch 46). The Odyssey offers an example of trickster morphology in which one of the incidents creates an important link to the larger part of the epic narrative chain. In Book 9, Odyssey speaks of his capture or imprisonment and escape from the hands of Cyclops Polyphemos. The minimized status of the heroes occurs when they become captives and a source of food, simple nourishment, for their unacculturated captor, who consumes Achains by the handful. The trick or deception created by Odyssey is to “make the Cyclops drunk, to blind him, and then escape tied to the monster’s sheep as they leave his cave to reach pasture” (Niditch 47). As part of his deception, Odyssey makes the giant believe that he is nobody. However, the hero creates a sophistication of himself through the revelation of his deception. Out of his boldness, he discloses his actual character to the wounded son of Poseidon. In this way, he becomes the hero of prisoners of Poseidon, and the prisoner of sorts. The Odysseus men are supposed to die at the sea and Odyssey has to suffer more statuslessness and wandering (Niditch 47). Just like Genesis 12, Genesis 26 traces the pattern of deception from the marginal status to the enhancement of the underdog tale. Genesis 26 is full of trickster; this is because deception is revealed and there is deception (Niditch 51). The deception found in Genesis 26 is due to a direct response to a threat. In other words, the perceived threat is dealt with deception. The revelation of the reduced status in Genesis 26 comes before the heroes’ status is improved. This is in contrast to Genesis 12 where deception results in the heroes’ improvement and the revelation of their reduced status (Niditch 52). The theme of deception is evident throughout the Odyssey. There are many examples where individuals (particularly Odysseus and goddess Athena) use deception. The reason for acts of deception vary, however, Homer evidently indicates the significance placed on being clever. Athena uses deception as an act of disguise whereas Odysseus uses deception as an act of storytelling. Athena as a young man appears to Odysseus after he wakes up on Ithaka confused of his whereabouts. Athena disguises herself in order to test Odysseus; in other words, Athena wants to see if Odysseus is still on his toes. In response, Odysseus tells Athena (disguised as a man) a fake story about himself. The purpose behind Athena’s cover up is Homer’s means of continuing to stress about how smart Odysseus is. Homer evidently states his perspective of Odysseus when Athena states that “Of all men alive / you are the best in plots and storytelling” (13.351-52)” ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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