The Lostyssey: A Televisual Epic Journey

To begin viewing Lost through Homer’s epic work, The Odyssey, we should first identify the basic similarities: Odysseus and his crew find themselves stranded, more than once, on enchanted islands in uncharted waters.  They travel to the underworld, an island surrounded by foreboding waters, notably called the Oceanus River, where Odysseus speaks to several ghosts, including his own mother’s. (This, of course, prefigures Jack and Christian’s reunion on the island in “White Rabbit.”) She asks him how he, in life, is able to visit the land of the dead. She explains: “it is a hard thing for the living to see these places, for between us and them there are great and terrible waters, and there is Oceanus, which no man can cross on foot…” (135).

At one point in the story, Odysseus is drawn to another island and held captive by the beautiful and immortal Calypso. Recall John Locke’s well-known line from season 1: “I’ve looked into the eye of this island and what I saw was beautiful.” Perhaps a Calypso, of sorts, has a hand in this smoke monster sorcery. The island makes similar promises to Locke as Calypso makes to Odysseus: a new life in the pure, virginal wilderness, a cure for all physical ailments and the possibility of immortality.

More to come:

There is an undeniable element of Odysseus in Desmond, and not simply because his love interest shares the same name as Penelope, wife of The Odyssey’s hero.

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