Date of Award

Spring 4-5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Classical Studies

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Alisa DeBorde

Committee Professor

Dr. Melissa Hatcher


The ancient text of the Odyssey reveals a timeless truth that remains significant in modern days: people need to be seen and heard in order to recover from life’s difficulties. Scholarship from literary trauma theorists during the past several decades has provided insights into the recovery process from traumatic experiences. Combat trauma theory, in particular, has provided a foundation for analysis of the ancient Greek epics for exploration of the universality of the experience of human trauma and suffering. Through analysis of the nostos or homecoming process of Odysseus, the reader recognizes the importance of offering opportunity through xenia of hospitality for one to tell their story through diegesis. For the soldier, this process of returning home requires they be seen and heard as part of beginning to recover from combat trauma. These key themes of the Odyssey, however, also allow for analysis of Penelope, as the one who remains at home, in order to relate the same timeless truth to other people as well. The Odyssey, however, was not the first ancient text to indicate a fundamental human need to be seen and heard as the God of the Old Testament had already presented Himself as the God who sees and the God who hears. Since all people will continue to encounter a series of challenges in their odysseys of life, they will need continual opportunities to be seen by someone willing to listen as he or she tells their story to an audience allowing them to be heard. This classic text demonstrates a universal, enduring truth to help people in their recovery process: people need another willing to see their tears and hear their tales.