The progress of the main narrative of the Odyssey is frequently suspended by the para-narratives told by the poet and his characters. These can take the form of paradigms providing a model of action for imitation or avoidance by a character. They can also guide interpretation of the main narrative by exploring variations on its basic story shape. A veiled hint may be conveyed through an αἶνος purportedly based on personal experience. Previous work on narratives in the Odyssey, including narratology and narrative strategy, is briefly surveyed. The Homeric poems were showcased in the Athenian festival of the Panathenaea, and religious practice becomes a further source of para-narrative as the Athenian rituals of the Plynteria and Arrephoria are evoked by Penelope’s actions and stories as the poem draws to its end. Athenian control of the pan-Ionian festival in Delos may explain the Apollo paradigm used of Odysseus.
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