chapter  8
‘He wept for a way home’
The Stimmung of Odysseus’s Nostos
WithMadeleine Scherer
Pages 23

This chapter shows how the mood of the Odyssey comes into being, and therein how the dynamic between self and world, individual and community, is negotiated. It offers a more in-depth analysis of the Stimmung of the Odyssey, which continues to shape the mood of its hero, and even, at times, guides his journey back on course. Scholars have agreed that the Odyssey is characterised by the repetition of consistent themes such as ‘the unquenchable desire of the long-absent warrior and wanderer to return’; themes that are underlined by frequent similes complementing the poem’s main narrative and modal dimension. The scenes in the Odyssey which tempt its characters with the sweet oblivion of forgetfulness reference the pain of remembering a past that is, either temporally or spatially, removed. The companions serve as reflections of Odysseus’s own experiences, emotions and, arguably, the very mood of his nostos.