Emily Wilson

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20132014 Forum on Violence

Emily Wilson

Associate Professor of Classical Studies

Sympathizing with the Cyclops: Violence in the Odyssey

My project for the year is to examine the representation of violence in the Odyssey, and its reception in later imitations and translations. Central scenes of violence in the poem include the blinding of the Cyclops, Polyphemus, the killing of the suitors and of the slave-women, and the final outbreak of violence at the end of the poem. My interest is in the extent to which the text presents each of these acts of violence as justified, and in the degree of sympathy afforded to the victims. I intend to write an article showing how the complex negotiation of the problem of violence in Homer has been reworked and resisted by readers and re-writers, focusing on translations of the Odyssey into English.