G-XG3BCSZNEC In Media Res, page 3
The Wine Red Sea: Journeys of Odysseus
© Copyright 2014 -2024 by Peter J Ponzio

In Media Res

The poem begins “in media res;” in the middle of things. The reader is greeted with an invocation to the muse, and in the first few lines, learns the entire scope of the poem. Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. Many cries of men he saw and learned their minds, many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea, fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home. But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove- the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all, the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun and the Sun-god wiped from sight the day of their return. Launch out on this story, Muse, daughter of Zeus, start from where you will-sing for our time too. (I, 1-12) From these opening stanzas, readers are presented with several themes that will run through the poem: Odysseus as a man of twists and turns The suffering of Odysseus His loss of men on the journey home from Troy On Olympus, Zeus considers the death of Agamemnon at the hands of his cousin Aegisthus, and declaims to the Olympian gods: “Ah how shameless-the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, but they themselves, with their own reckless ways, compound their pains beyond their proper share.” Athena, protector of Odysseus, petitions Zeus to release the man of sorrows from Calypso's island. Zeus, acknowledging the man who “excels all men in wisdom,” consults the other Olympians about how to arrange Odysseus' journey home. Athena suggest that Zeus send Hermes, messenger of the gods and his homeward journey. Athena resolves to travel to Ithaca, where she will meet with Odysseus' son, Telemachus, and encourage him to seek his father.