The Ring Structure of Odysseus' Tale (Books IX-XII)
from Glenn W. Most, "The Structure and Function of Odysseus'
Apologoi," Transactions of the American Philological
Association 119 (1989): 15-30.
Troy (Book IX)
Cicones (Book IX)
2-day storm, followed by drifting (Book IX)
Lotus-Eaters (Book IX)
Cyclops (Book IX)
Aeolus and a storm (Book X)
Laestrygonians (Book X)
Circe (Book X)
2-day storm followed by drifting (Book VII, V)
Hosts that are too friendly or seductive and prevent Odysseus'
departure either by drugs (Lotus-Eaters), death (Sirens), or
seductive detention (Calypso, Circe).
Hosts that are not friendly at all and eat their guests,
sometimes, as with Polyphemus and Charybdis, vomiting the
guests back up again.
STORM, AND DISOBEDIENCE
These scenes have the wind in common, first too little and then
excess wind. These are also the scenes in which Odysseus' crew
most clearly disobeys his orders, first by opening the bag of
wind given to Odysseus by Aeolus, then by eating "the oxen of
the Sun" on Helios' island.
At the structural center of Odysseus' tales, one finds the
nekuia or the descent into the
underworld. We also have here Elpenor's death and later burial,
which is significant since Elpenor is also one of the
characters Odysseus meets in Hades.
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