Introduction The Odyssey , Far From Home

Understanding the Epic Poem

1. a. Both epics by Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, originate in an actual historical event, the Trojan War.  Approximately when did this war occur?

   b. When is it believed the Iliad and the Odyssey, were actually composed?

   c. How were the Iliad and the Odyssey originally communicated to their audience?

2. How does the Odyssey  begin?      

3. What are the three major plot strands of the Odyssey?

" 'I am Odysseus' " and "The Lotus Eaters"  (Pages 599-602)

4. Who is the narrator, and where is he speaking?

5. What has happened to Odysseus and his men?

6. What does Odysseus say about his own reputation?

7. Throughout his travels what has Odysseus longed for most?

8. What code do Odysseus and his men obey when they land among the Cicones?   What helps explain this behavior?

9. How well disciplined are Odysseus' men?  Give evidence to support your answer.

10. What simile is used to describe the attacking Cicones?

11. What effect does the Lotus plant have on those who eat it?

"The Cyclopes" (Pages 602-615)

12. The Cyclopes represent a complete lack of civilization.  How does the description of them create this characterization?

13. What do Odysseus' men want to do after they first enter the Cyclops' cave?   Why does Odysseus refuse?

14.  What gift does the Cyclops promise Odysseus for the special wine?

15. What false name does Odysseus give  the Cyclops?

"The Sirens," "Scylla and Charybdis" and "The Cattle of the Sun God" (Pages 617-629)

16. How does Odysseus protect his men from the dangerous song of the Sirens?

17. Scylla is a monster with a serpent's body and dogs' heads.  What is Charybdis?

18. How many of Odysseus' men are devoured by the monster Scylla?

19. Odysseus warns his men not to take what possessions of Helios, the sun god?

20. How does Zeus punish Odysseus' men?