Odysseus Follows Propp: One Episode
Propp's Functions
1. Odysseus lands on Circe's island "initial situation"
2. Odysseus' men transformed, captured. 

2a. Odysseus "lacks" men. 

8. "Villain causes harm ... transforms someone." 8a. One member of a family either lacks something or desires to have something.
3. Eurylochos brings news back. 9. "lack is made known"
4. Odysseus decides to see for himself. 10. "counteraction"
5. He leaves, after arguing with Eurylochos. 11. "Hero leaves . . ." and 12. "is tested, interrogated, attacked."
6. Odysseus meets Hermes on the way. 11. "donor . . . enters"
7. Hermes warns and advises Odysseus; gives him magic plant, moly. 14. "Hero acquires use of magical agent."
8. Odysseus walks to Circe's house. 15. "Hero is led . . . to object of search."
9. Odysseus, unaffected by Circe's drug, threatens her with sword. 16. "Hero and villain join in direct combat."
10. Odysseus makes Circe swear an oath not to "unman" him; 17. "Hero is branded." [?]
11. Odysseus and Circe make love. 18. "The villain is defeated." [?]
12. Circe changes men back to humans. 19. "Initial misfortune or lack is liquidated."

Look at other adventures of Odysseus to see how closely they follow Propp's pattern of functions. Do his other adventures cycle through the center section of Propp's functions (#8-20) like the Circe adventure? Do the adventures of other heroes we have read about follow this central section? Which of Propp's return paths (A or B) best fits Odysseus' return home? Compare and contrast Odysseus' return with Oedipus' return. See if Odysseus' adventures also might be made to fit Propp's "Path B" (functions 23-31). [Hint: Eurylochos works well as a "false hero."]

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