Conversation in the Odyssey by S.Richardson

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Author Background:

The name of the author of the article Conversation in the Odyssey is Scott Richardson. Scott Richardson is a professor of classics. He teaches at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota. He has a B.A in Classics from Harvard University, an M.A from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, from Stanford University. Scott Richardson’s educational background is a bachelor from Harvard University in 1978, Master of arts from Stanford University in 1980, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Stanford University in 1984. He teaches Latin and Greek and Human Languages and Culture. He is an assistant professor of classics at Saint John’s university and is an associate professor at Saint John’s university. Scott Richardson has interests in writing about the authors Homer, the Greek playwrights, Fyodor Dostoevsky, James Joyce, Dorothy Dunnett, Thomas Pynchon, and the writers of Icelandic sagas. Another work done by Scott Richardson is The Homeric Narrator, a book that he published. He also has written other articles on Homer. He does not have an active twitter or other social media accounts. Scott Richardson’s teaching and research interests are Greek and Latin language, Greek and Latin literature, European and American literature (especially Scandinavian and British), and narrative theory.

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The thesis statement of the article is the various conversations in the Odyssey. The article is about what is spoken by both parties that is not truly conveyed. The concluding statement that the author makes is that conversation in the Odyssey is a cryptic puzzle, intelligible and rewarding to those who know how to solve it, baffling to those who take it at face value.
Summary: One claim that Scott makes is that the bulk of dialogue that is straightforward and honest comes from the mouths of characters who prove in other ways articles: Zeus, Nestor, the servants, and the suitors. The author supports the claim mentioned by stating that Zeus and nestor, the divine and human voices of social and narrative order, stand above the game of saying something in a conversation, and not stating exactly what you mean to say or what you want the person you are having a conversation with understand. Richardson came to that conclusion because a great majority of conversations in the Odyssey feature indirect address, impolication, hidden, or coded meaning, lying, feigned, ignorance, secrecy, concealment of facts, end expressions of disbelief.

In Richardson’s article, Conversation in the Odyssey, he makes a second claim. The second claim was that Odysseus, a suspicious man, is the champion of all these kinds of indirection and concealment, the consummate manipulator of language to suit his advantage. He backs up his claim by saying that Nausicaa has the Odyssean instinct when she manipulates her father into giving her mules and a wagon, but she fails to see that Alcinous has seen through her request. This claim is important because in conversation, you have to be good at the game you
are trying to play, so that when your conversing, you can mean something other than what you are actually saying without anyone figuring it out.

A third claim that Scott Richardson makes in his article is that Penelope’s indirect address to the man claiming to be her husband by way of an apparently direct statement to her son and the implication in her bed trick that she has been a faithful wife represent the two most prevalent forms of indirect communication in the Odyssey. Scott Richardson backs up his claim by saying that Penelope’s entry in Book 1 marks the first instance of indirect address, which will become almost the norm in conversation with more than two people present . When Penelope berates that bard Phemius for his song about misadventure on the return from Troy, her real targets are the hateful suitors who relish the topic. This claim is important because in conversation, directly telling the other person what you mean is a better way to approach a conversation.

A fourth and final claim that Scott Richardson makes is that when the point of one’s word is to manipulate the situation to suit one’s interests rather than to reveal and communicate, conversation is game and performance. The game of language in the Odyssey can be playful, but the perplex use of speech reflects a treacherous and precarious world in which survival and happiness depends on assuming that appearance is deceiving. Richardson backs up his claim by saying that the straightforwardness is masking a reality that must be deciphered. Those who play the game well listen carefully to what is not stated outright and express what they mean by not actually saying what they mean. This claim is important because when conversing, one can use different words to try to manipulate the other person in the conversation, which makes the conversation tricky to comprehend.


I believe that the author of Conversation in the Odyssey, Scott Richardson, did a very good job developing their arguments. I also believe that the author is qualified to write on the subject of the Odyssey because he has a B.A in Classics from Harvard University, an M.A from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, from Stanford University. I also believe that he is qualified to write on the subject of the Odyssey because he has interests in writing about the authors Homer, and the Greek playwrights, and has other work done by Scott Richardson is The Homeric Narrator, a book that he published, along with other articles on Homer, the author of the Odyssey. I think that Scott Richardson left out a little bit about the game that was played during conversations that he was trying to describe. I am convinced of their argument by the end of the article. A passage that was referenced in the article is, Then, when the wheeling seasons brought the fourth year on, one of her women, in on the queen’s secret, told the truth and we caught her in the act-unweaving her gorgeous web. So she finished it off. Against her will. We forcer her. This passage was described in Scott Richardson’s article as a secret that Atena told Telemachus. When I read the passage while reading the Odyssey, I interpreted it the same way. Scott Richardson really stuck to his argument, and ended up convincing me about his argument at the end of the article. I think that Scott Richardson supported his claim well, compared his examples to other situations, he gave in depth explanations, he talked about individual characters.

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Conversation In The Odyssey By S.Richardson. (2019, Apr 01). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from

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