par Andrianne, Gilles
Référence Crime and Punishment in Antiquity (17.06.2015 - 19.06.2015: University of Wrocław (Pologne))
Publication Non publié, 2015
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : The contest of the bow in the last books of the Odyssey, at the end of which Penelope is supposed to choose a new husband after Odysseus’ twenty year long absence, gives Ithaca’s rightful king the opportunity to kill the disrespectful suitors. The poet of the Odyssey indeed clearly adduces the suitors’ behaviour to be impious towards the gods, by failing to accomplish proper sacrifices, as well as men, since they do not respect the custom of the ξενία. Odysseus does not only reclaim his wife and kingdom by winning the archery contest – which has well-established parallels in Indian culture as svayaṃvara and rājasūya –, but also establishes himself as the law when he murders the suitors with his bow for their impiety. And although it may seem like an act of a man (Odysseus) helped by a goddess (Athena), this massacre is also the will of the god Apollo. The presence of the god, sometimes subtle, is nonetheless omnipresent in the last books of the Odyssey. The aim of our communication is to explain and clarify the bond between Apollo and the massacre of the suitors. By using the bow as the murder weapon, Odysseus refers to the archer god. The deity, patron of the arts, oracles and medicine, is also a punitive and merciless god who targets impious beings for their hubris, like the satyr Marsyas, the hero Achilles or, in this case, Penelope’s suitors. Through textual elements, innuendos, and the use of tragic irony, the last books of the Odyssey show Odysseus as the vehicle of Apollo’s will to punish ungodly acts in blood.