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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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The Politics of Ithaca

The Politics of Ithaca

From Collective Trauma to Amnesty’s End

(p.203) 8 The Politics of Ithaca
The Many-Minded Man

Joel P. Christensen

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents an analysis of the political situation in Ithaca. A clearer picture of the political situation may allow one to see the Ithacan people as suffering from a collective trauma, which partly explains their behavior before and after Odysseus's return. Of utmost importance is that the families of the suitors assemble, debate, and about half decide to avenge themselves on Odysseus. This conflict contains the overlay of several types of discourse that touch upon justice, the nature of politics, and the relationship between the individual and the state. The reading offers a new extended treatment of the politics of the Odyssey, which forces one to reconsider the heroic presentation of Odysseus by the poet (and by himself). The chapter then examines the sudden surprising closure of the epic from the perspective of modern studies in political amnesties.

Keywords:   politics, Ithaca, Ithacan people, collective trauma, Odysseus, suitors, political amnesties

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