In order for me to analyze the play Anon(mous), I felt that I needed to orient myself more to better understand it and get a few questions answered, by doing so, I should read The Odyssey. In the playwrite interview Papatola, Dominic, P. “There’s No Place Like Home American Theatre. February 07, Namoi Iizuka said, “If you know The Odyssey, then your experience of the play will be enriched.

In Odyssey, an epic poem about a Greek hero, Odysseus hasn’t returned from a 10 year Trojan war; his wife, Penelope, is being pressured by a crowd and 108 suitors into marrying one of the suitors to place of the absent husband. There is a plot to murder Odysseus upon his return. Telemach, Odysseus’ son is urged to seek his father. Odysseus spent 7 years in captivity on Ogygia. Poseidon wrecks raft when Odysseus tries to escape. Odysseus reveals his identity to Princesss Nausicaa and reveals his name to Cyclops, Poseidon’s son. Poseidon cursed Odysseus to wander the sea for 10 years which he lost most of his crew and returned home with others. The witch-goddess, Circe turned half his men into swine and fed them cheese and wine. Odysseus encountered the spirit , Elpenor; unnoticed by others and summoned the spirit of the prophet Tiresias for advise on how to appease Poseidon upon his return. He met spirits of famous men and women. Anhilles told him about the land of the dead. On another voyage, Odysseus didn’t drown because he listened to the song, was to the mast and told the sailors not to untie him. Odysseus prayed. When Zeus punished them they suffered a shipwreck but Odysseus clung to a fig tree above Charybdis. Odysseus got stuck on an island of Ogygia as Calypso’s lover. He was  homesick, bored until she was ordered by Zeus to release him. He didn’t know how long it would take him to get  home and to his family so, with the help of Athena, he disguises himself as a beggar named Telemachus to escape an ambush of his wife’s suitors. He reunites with his father and reveals his identity to him. Disguised as a beggar, Odysseus, arrives at his palace and Penelope sees a resemblance between the beggar and presumed dead husband. Knowingly, she proposes to, at last, marry the suitor who wins the contest. With confidence, Odysseus is the only that can pull off the feat; she had no worries. Odysseus wins contest, kills the suitor, Antinous, leads the massacre of the suitors and finally reveals his identity to  Penelope and Ithaca is at Peace.

Now, Knowing the the adaptation of  The Odyssey, I could relate to the play, Anon(mous) much better. This play I feel was not about refugees, some made it here and made a life for themselves but others like Anon, his mother, Nemasani, along with others, were trying to make it but all were traumatized by war while trying to escape to America. Once they survived the ordeal of breaking that barrier of entering into the US, they still have another war to fight. A war of mental illness like trauma, any negative life event like war, natural disaster, rape, loss of a  family, can generate as many symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (Freeman, Daniel. & Freeman, Jason. Anxiety: aVery Short Introduction. Oxford. 2012. p.105)

I came to this  conclusion by reading The Odyssey and  Anon(mous). In The Odyssey, there were many Gods, Goddesses, spirits, the Sirens-enchantresses who lure sailors to their deaths with their beautiful voices, so I came to the conclusion that Anon wasn’t suffering from Schizophrenia. He sounds more of an individual that was traumatized by the flashbacks, memories and sound of war. For example, when he was alone at night in part 2 and he’s talking where he from there was, he describes the  bombs, M16, the air smelling like death, the sounds of war…

One of the Post traumatic stress disorder symptom is Reliving Traumatic Event: This can take the form of nightmares or flashbacks, when the person feels that they are right back in the midst of the horror. Thoughts of the trauma constantly recur, no matter how doggedly the person tries to forget. Distressing memories can be sparked by the smallest things – perhaps a particular sound or smell, a place, or the look on someone’s face. (Freeman & Freeman. Anxiety: A  Very Short Introduction. Oxford. 2012. p. 104).

Not only did Anon suffered from these flashbacks and memory of war so did Nsareen, Ali  and Ritu, so, I feel that in this play most refugees suffered from trauma  and PTSD. Nemasami was suffering from sexual harrasment from Mr. Mackusnand not knowing whether her son was alive or dead. This also falls under the category of PTSD.

When Anon sees Naja, this could be a severe form of PTSD with Psychosis. This is the main reason why I went back and read the playwright which lead me read the epic poem, The Odyssey.

Since Anon missed his hometown, was on the search of his mother, didn’t feel comfortable i anyone’s home, saw a human being get killed and almost got killed himself, I feel all these were traumatic events which would definitely lead him to a life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has three levels of symptoms:

  1. Mild Symptoms: anxiety, nightmares, avoidance of stressful events.
  2. Medium Symptoms: social withdrawing, depression, mild flashbacks of the stressor
  3. Severe Symptoms: psychosis, reliving the events,extreme physical exemptions   Robert, Catherine. The signs, symptoms and causes of PTSD. March 18

I found most interesting, that Ms. Naomi didn’t give Anon a name or much details like where his mother or himself  in the Odysseus, the main character, Odysseus, had several different names, a palace, hero, wife named Penelope, knew his father, and earned respect. Nemasani, which was called Penny was his mother. Penelope – Penny, too coincidental. There was killing in both.  The princess keeps him prisoner for a short term. Sounds like what Calista wanted? Cyclops said that Nobody blinded him. Nobody is one of Odysseus names and when the chorus sings in the Anon(mous) it is similar to  when the Sirens sing. The Odyssey gives you a the name of the war and a time frame. Also, you know they are Greeks, he’s married, get’s to go back home, get reunited with his wife and father.

Odysseus means “trouble” in Greek referring to both the giving and receiving of trouble. His trait is cunning intelligence – “metis”. He is described as “peer of Zeus” because his intelligence is manifested by use of disguise to alter his appearance. Also by his use of deceptive speech when he told Cyclops Polyphemus that his name was Nobody. Cyclops  Polyphemus yells Nobody is hurting me when other Cyclops asks why he’ screaming. Lastly, Odysseus shows arrogance and pride(hubris).

Anon is somewhat similar to Odysseus because they both struggle to go back home. Anon finds his mother at the end. They both get into altercations, experience dealing with goddesses, shipwrecked, have the same name Nobody, use cunning intelligence and deceptive speech. They both have to deal to with situations with the opposite sex that they really don’t want to. Dealing with war, natural disaster, and getting out of dangerous situations I believe they both suffered from trauma.

Leave a Reply