Not so much a review as a rant. I'm only a short way into it and I remember why I found it such difficult going the first time.
I know I'm going to get blasted for it, but I'm going to lay it on the line. Was there ever another group of whining, self-involved, petulant, petty, pugnacious, undisciplined, unlikable people in all of literature. From Achilles who goes off to sulk in his tent until his friend is killed and then emerges to slaughter Troy's finest and do his darnedest to disgrace him (thank Heavens Thetis missed a spot), to lying (aka wily) Odysseus, and arrogant, egotistical and ultimately useless Agamemnon (once again, one finds oneself cheering Clytemnestra on). Ultimately what Achilles succeeds in doing is showing us what a belligerent, bellicose boor he is. As for Odysseus, wily Odysseus, the less said the better.
What an unpleasant lot, thoroughly deserving of whatever is dished out. Add to that quarrelsome, petty, ignorant, and foul-tempered gods, goddesses, minor nymphs, seers, you name it.
Indeed, a thoroughly unpleasant exploration of a thoroughly repugnant side of human nature.
And absolutely perfect for Advent because it shows a glaring, harshly revealing picture of humanity in the depth of the fall with no sign of the redemption we know so well. And what is frightening to me is the way modern society seems to be assuming more and more of the characteristics of the foul society that Homer praises.
At least The Odyssey had monsters and witches to take your mind off of how really awful Odysseus is as a person.
I know, I just got drummed out of the Classics clique and have lost all my credentials--but I sure get tired of being told how really great this is (and it undoubtedly is) without the clear picture of how really repugnant nearly everything Homer writes about is.