Persuasive Essay regarding to why The Odyssey should be part of a "classics" curriculum rather than a "literary" curriculum

Essay by Stoned4LifeJunior High, 9th gradeA+, April 2004

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Homer's The Odyssey has been popular for centuries, at one point it was used primarily to instruct students who were expected to learn Greek as part of their education, but nowadays, most young readers are introduced to this epic through their language arts curriculum. In fact bridged versions of The Odyssey are routinely found in textbooks. You could say that this epic has become a curriculum staple for high school language arts classics, but that doesn't mean it should be.

The Odyssey would be much more valuable in a college "classics" curriculum rather than a high school literature curriculum. Then it could be read in its original language. Translated works often lose something in translation. Students in a classics course, who read it translated, miss fact that The Odyssey is written in dactylic hexameter. Furthermore, the information on Greek and Roman gods would be far more relevant. When Language Arts teachers are limited with the amount of time they have to teach a subject, using a substantial amount of it teaching what is considered background information to a regular high school student, is an inefficient use of that time.

Where as in a classics curriculum, information about Greek and Roman gods would not be considered background information, rather the reason that the epic is read in class. Throughout The Odyssey gods intervene, almost constantly, with demonstrations of their powers. For example, one such goddess, Athena, goddess of wisdom, gives "girth and stature to the old field captain", when the situation calls for him to look impressive, and she is always ready to help. "But the sea god Poseidon... raises a storm and destroys the raft. It is only with the help of Athena... that Odysseus arrives... on the island of Scheria, home of the Phaeacians." Zeus also played a role,