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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 Therapy of Oblivion, Unforgettable Pain, and the Odyssey’s End

The Therapy of Oblivion, Unforgettable Pain, and the Odyssey’s End

(p.241) 9 The Therapy of Oblivion, Unforgettable Pain, and the Odyssey’s End
The Many-Minded Man

Joel P. Christensen

Cornell University Press

This chapter applies insights from cognitive science and approaches to storytelling to address issues of closure in the Odyssey's final book. The results show that the epic emphasizes the danger of its own pleasurable distractions by positioning their closed character as a kind of death. Odysseus, in order to begin his journey home, must choose to face the open tale of life. The psychological theories introduced throughout the book are brought to bear on the interpretive problem of how to end this poem. The sudden close points to the importance of life outside the poem and invites the audience to apply the frameworks explored in the poem to the worlds they inhabit without.

Keywords:   cognitive science, storytelling, Odyssey, epic, Odysseus, psychological theories, life

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