Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ZEI: Odysseus Reveals his Identity

King Alcinous, having seen his mysterious guest troubled by Demodocus’ song of the Trojan War, asked him to explain. Wouldn’t he now tell his story? Odysseus saw it was finally time to reveal his true identity. But would the Phaeacians believe him? ZEI students guess how the hero might reveal himself:

YVONNE'S VERSION: “Dear, good Alcinous, just as you say, I have a painful memory from the Trojan War. Twenty years before, when the war started, I was a man who didn’t want to go, but I had to because of the oath. After ten years of fighting, we Greeks won the war, but we were too bloodthirsty: we slaughtered the Trojans without mercy. Our behavior made the gods and goddesses angry, and they made many of us die at sea on our way home. Just as Demodocus sang, some important chiefs are alive and back home. Only one, no one knows where he has gone. Is he alive or dead? And this one, this Odysseus, it is me. After the war, these ten years I have lived on the sea. Once I almost made it back home, but Poseidon sank my boat and drove me away again. Now you all know who I am. My story is over. I hope you can finally help me get back home again.”

JERRY'S VERSION: “Dear, good Alcinous, my name is Odysseus. When I was just a kid, I was out looting and got a boat. The boat was very big and I took it to sea. I moored it on an island no one knew. My friend Agamemnon and I went about exultantly on this boat. We wanted to get here, to Phaeacia, but that night the wind blew a different direction. Finally we disembarked at Troy. There we saw all the people playing a game called “The Trojan War.” Agamemnon and I joined the Greek team. So I killed the enemy quickly. Then I wanted to get to Phaeacia again. My boat sank, but, look, at last I’m here!”

MAY'S VERSION: “I don’t want to cheat you, such a great king. You have treated me so graciously that I don’t want to hide my secret from you any more. Therefore, I will answer all questions you asked. In fact, you just heard my name three minutes ago. Additionally, you all just listened to my story. The truth is. . . I am Odysseus, the real, genuine one, and actually exist. Please don’t be afraid, or look at me with hostile eyes. I lost most of my comrades in the Trojan War, and the others that survived with me from that terrible memory had different consequences each. As your eyes can see, during these twenty years I have led a miserable life, a life filled with sadness and shock. But now, meeting you, I feel that has changed. The Phaeacians kindness has also given me energy, helping me recover from my sadness. What’s more, when I see your friendly people, it reminds me of my home country, Ithaca. I hope to start my journey back soon.”


“Dear, good Alcinous, my name is Odysseus, and I come from Ithaca. And the truth is I love Troy. Please don’t kill me.”

This made Alcinous mad. “I’ve given you so much,” he said, “and you still think I want to kill you?”

“Dear Alcinous,” Odysseus said, “you are very gracious. But that I loved Troy is not all. The roads in your country here are very rugged. And sometimes I saw people looting--right here in your country. It means your country is bad. Even Troy, during the war, was better.”

Hearing this, Alcinous drew his sword. “Ithacan liar!” he said. “Shut up!”

He ran toward Odysseus, ready to kill him. But Demodocus stopped him.

“Please, my King, don’t!” he said.

“Alright, alright!” Alcinous said. “Put him in the jail!”

Odysseus was in the Phaeacian jail for four days. Then he escaped from the jail, and entered the palace at night, killing the guards. He took all Alcinous’ money and, stealing a ship, sailed to Libya.


“Dear, good Alcinous . . . Sorry, may I go to the bathroom first?”

“Yes, of course,” Alcinous said.

Then Odysseus ran to the bathroom, locked himself in, and thought about how to escape. But when he tried to open the door again, he couldn’t get it open: it was made of metal and he couldn’t break it. So he finally thought he had no choice. He jumped into the toilet and flushed it. After five minutes of swirling in the cold water, he came out in ZEI . . .

“Noooooo!” Jerry screamed, waking up, the cold air conditioning blowing on his back. “I had a bad dream again.”

SABRINA'S VERSION: “I’m Odysseus, the most genius, handsome, strong, smart, cunning, humble, wise, good-looking, talented, charming, having the greatest physique, the strongest muscles, excellent humor, the highest IQ and EQ, lowest dq., 8G of memory, faster than a speeding waistband, able to leap Taipei 101 without getting a wedgie, the most powerful hero of all the Greeks.”

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