Story-telling in The Odyssey is very much telling us the story of Odysseus on his way home from Troy. It plays a significant role as it situates the epic into a cultural context.
The Odyssey is a sequel poem to the Iliad also written by Homer. The Odyssey would have not have made sense without the Iliad because everything about the Trojan War is in the Iliad and we wouldn’t have knowledge of the Greek nostoi and this is where the story of the Odyssey begins. Homer constantly invokes the history of the Odyssey through the stories that his characters tell. Menelaus and Nestor both narrate to Telemachus their wanderings from Troy and even Helen adds some details as well about Odysseus cunning mind during the Trojan War. Also in the underworld Agamemnon tells the story of his murder, while Ajax’s evasion prompts the story if his quarrel with Odysseus. These stories from different people within the poem provide some extra Greek mythology as they give personal history for the person telling the story but most of these stories are evaluating Odysseus as they are reminding the audience of the epics rich and mythic tradition. Also each of the different stories gives us an insight into what a hero should be according to the standards of Greek society.
There are very important parts of the Odyssey that need to be well addressed by the writer and also these parts are very well described through the course of two book, like the death of the suitors was built up over a course of 2 books 21 and 22. Also this was built up through the course of the whole poem but had more detail when It got closer to the death of the suitors “a swift death and sorry wedding for them all” this quote was said on a number of occasions by Menelaus, Telemachus and Nestor when they found out what was happening. This was a reason for Odysseus to hurry up and get home, this foreshadowed what was going to happen with the suitors and indeed this is what did happen in book 22 when Odysseus revealed who he was after stringing the bow and shooting it through all 12 axes. All of the suitors died at the hands of Odysseus after what they did to his house of family and Odysseus had his revenge. Another important part of The Odyssey is the adventures that Odysseus tells to the Phaecians after Nausicaa found him on the shore of the Phaecians. Odysseus tells us his story for 7 chapters of this epic. These adventures are told with lots of specific and exact details of what happened, how he felt, what he did, what his crew did, how he reacted and how he nearly died and these chapters are very good story telling as lots of imagery is used for examples; “It was a mighty slab; twenty-two four-wheeled waggons could not shift a massive stone from the entrance, such was the monstrous rock with which he closes the cave”