The Odyssey Reading Guide

Who is speaking in the opening of the tale, the invocation? Homer
What is a muse? Nine goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences. They give inspiration.
Briefly, what happened in Troy? It was a war between the Greeks and Trojans taken place at Troy. The Greeks win by constructing the Trojan Horse, and end up burning the city of Troy to the ground.
Where is Odysseus, the “contender’ trying to go? His home in Ithica
Which god is plotting against Odysseus and why? Posiedon is plotting against Odysseus because he had harmed his son, Polyphemus.
How long did the Trojan War last? 10 years
How many years has Odysseus spent trying to return home? 10 years
Who is Calypso and what is her relationship to Odysseus? She was a sea nymph that loved Odysseus so much that she held him captive for 7 years.
Who is Hermes and what news does he deliver to Calypso? He is a Greek god that delivers news ordering Calypso to let Odysseus free.
Of whom do you believe Calypso to be jealous? Penelope
How does Odysseus regard his wife Penelope? He never looses consent
HOw does Calypso assist Odysseus in his journey home? Helped him build a raft
What tragedy strikes Odysseus at sea? Poseidon raft wrecks him
How is Odysseus received on the island of the Phaeacians, home of King Alcinous? He treats him as a noble guest
Describe Ithaca A rocky isle good for boys training
From his self inrotductrion, how does Odysseus view himself? Support your answer with answer. Arrogant
What line signals Odysseus’s flashback to the past, where he begins telling the story of his adventure? “What of the years of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus!”
Why did Odysseus’s crew suffer casualties at the land of the Cicones? They didn’t listen to Odysseus’s retreat order
What danger did Odysseus and his men encounter when they landed on the Lotus Eater’s island? The lotus flower caused the. To stay on the island
Describe the lotus A sweet honey plant
How did Odysseus solve the problem? He had to go and physically drag him men to the ship and tie them down
Describe the Cyclops Polyphemus. A prodigious lonely man.
What was Odysseus’s respone when Polyphemus asked him about his ship? It was shipwrecked
What plan did Odysseus contrive to harm Polyphemus? Get him drunk and stab his eye
What is ironic about the use of the name “Nohbody” by Odysseus? When he cried out it so under like nobody had hurt him
After blinding Polyphemus, how do Odysseus and his men escape the cave? Hang on the under bellies of the sheep
How does Polyphemus hope to avenge his injury from Odysseus? He prays to his father Poseidon
Name at least one three of Odysseus’s acts in this encounter that would be considered as heroic? Idea to blind the cyclops, goes to the island, and calls h itself nobody.
In what ways does he help and endanger his men? He taunted Polyphemus
What customs of Greek society are observed in the story? Greet strangers and give them gifts, sacrifices to gods, build temples
What assistance does King Aeolus’ give Odysseus and why isn’t it successful? He gives him a bag of unfavorable winds
Briefly summarize what happens on the island of the Laestrygonians? The cannibals eat most of Odysseus’s men
Why were men drawn to Circe? She lured them in with food and wine
Into what did Circe begin turning the crew? Pigs
How was Odysseus able to rescue his men? He had a magic herb provided by hermes
Why must Odysseus journey to Hades, the land of the dead? It was the only way Circe would allow him to leave
Who is Tiresias? the blind prophet in the underworld
What advice does Tiresias give Odysseus regarding the island of the cattle of the sun god? Don’t touch the cattle!
What advice does Circe give Odysseus when he returns from the underworld? Do not touch the cattle, and don’t fight Scylla
Describe the sirens. What danger do they pose? They were monsters who sang songs that lured them in and killed them
How did Odysseus keep kimself and his men safe when going past the Sirens? He put beeswax in their ears and had himself tied up
Describe Scylla and Charybdis? Scylla was a six headed serpent that lived in a cave, and Charybdis is a whirlpool personified as a goddess.
Which of the two, Scylla or Charybdis, was the lesser of two evils? Scylla because you had a chance to get past her
Who owns the cattle on the island, and who serves as a guardian over the island? Helios owns the cattle and Lampitia is the guardian
OF what consequence does Odysseus warn his men? They wouldn’t return home
When and why did Odysseus’s men decide to kill the cattle? When they starved for many days
What threat did Helios make in response to the death of the cattle? He’d go to the underworld and light it up
Who punished Odysseus’s men? How? Zeus by throwing a lightning bolt at the ship
Who survives the punishment? Only Odysseus
After the wreck, where is Odysseus blown to (which he has already been before) Scylla and Charybdis
The, after drifting at sea for nine days, which island do the gods ensure that he lands on? Ogygia
Who returns Odysseus to Ithaca? The Phaeacians
What consequence do they suffer for helping Odysseus home? Their ship was turned into stone
Epic A long narrative poem about a hero intended to entertain, teach, and inspire
Myth A traditional story of anonymous orgin
Archetype A thing, person, or pattern of circumstances that appears repeatedly in literature
Symbol An object, person , or event that has a literal meaning and a figurative meaning
Homers naturalness He tried to reflect real life in his writing
Homers authenticity He wrote about daily life
Homers style His sense of the world was the work of his imagination due to his blindness
Odysseus’s cunning He’s a hoaxer and loves tricks
Odysseus’s humanity Organization, coolness, tact, cunning
Heros The main character in a literary work
The tragic hero A person of great ability who often comes to grief because of a fault with his/her self

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