The cognition of deception

Falsehoods in Homer’s Odyssey and their audiences

Authored by: Elizabeth Minchin

The Routledge Handbook of Classics and Cognitive Theory

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138913523
eBook ISBN: 9781315691398
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter is about how audiences engage with stories: how the work they undertake as they follow a complex narrative shapes their experience of the tale. As a Homerist, I want to observe what happens when a storyteller throws some serious challenges at an audience and how these listeners might respond. An ideal locus for such a study is Homer’s Odyssey, a story in which disguise is central to the action. This study of the complications within the Odyssey focuses on a repeated scenario, when the hero, from the moment he arrives on Ithaca, attempts to disguise himself through false identities and a series of false tales.

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