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The Many-Minded ManThe "Odyssey," Psychology, and the Therapy of Epic$
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Joel P. Christensen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752346

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752346.001.0001

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Marginalized Agencies and Narrative Selves

Marginalized Agencies and Narrative Selves

(p.149) 6 Marginalized Agencies and Narrative Selves
The Many-Minded Man

Joel P. Christensen

Cornell University Press

This chapter evaluates the impact that the Odyssey's projected narratives of agency has on those who are not the returning hero, in particular, on the enslaved people who make up a significant part of Odysseus's world. It employs frameworks and insights from Disability Studies in an attempt to understand the general impact of Homeric discourse on the people represented within the narrative and its possible impact on audiences outside of it. The chapter argues that the Odyssey ultimately uses the authorizing force of cultural discourse to marginalize, to dehumanize, and even to render certain types of violence acceptable. After outlining some basic concepts from the field of Disability Studies appropriate to Homer, it explains how this framework informs the way slaves, in particular, are treated by the Odyssey and, especially, provides structural and cultural motivations for the mutilation of Melanthios and the hanging of the enslaved women. In particular, Disability Studies illustrate how certain characters and bodies are marginalized to define an ideological center and how this marginalization relies on cultural processes of infantilization and vilification.

Keywords:   Odyssey, enslaved people, Disability Studies, cultural discourse, Homer, marginalization, infantilization, vilification, Homeric discourse

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