The Bards of The Odyssey: Commentary on the Role of Narrative in Homer’s Epic

sarahstofko

The Odyssey, as it is well known, falls into the category of “epic poetry.” The term signals that an adventurous tale that was forged in antiquity and delivered orally in front of a crowd is being described. This method of distribution, that is the oral performance, is crucial to understanding The Odyssey. The communal setting in which this performance would have been delivered is also important when analyzing the text. Though today we read the Odyssey alone, with the exceptions of class discussion, we must be conscious that the form we are now receiving is different than the form that the epic was originally conceived with. Keeping in mind that The Odyssey was a product of a larger bardic tradition in the ancient world, we may see the way that the bards within the text signal reflection on the work as a whole. I will argue that in The Odyssey

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