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The Odyssey
Part I
The Beginning
Homer prays to Calliope—muse of
epic poetry
Summarizes what horrible
consequences will occur to
Odysseus
Theme—bad things happen to
bad people
I am Laertes’ Son
Odysseus claims he is Laertes’
son
Gives him credibility as a hero
Speaking to King Alcinous
Laertes’ Son
Tells of his troubles thus far
Has been wandering for 10 years
already
The Wanderer—seeking
hospitality as any Greek deserves
Upon Leaving Troy (Ilion)
Went to far shore of Cicones
Killed men
Raped women
Pillaged the city
Finally attacked by warriors on
horseback
Theme
Cicones
Deadly fighters
Killed enough men for six
benches to be empty
As many as 12 to 24 men
Wander for 9 days after that
The Lotus Eaters
Land to get water and food
Sends three men to explore
The Lotus flower is like a drug
The Flower symbolizes laziness
(very bad)
Flower symbolizes the loss of
hope
The Cyclops
Polyphemus—son of Poseidon
Symbolizes the harsh forces of
nature
Represents how NOT to treat
your guests
Irony—he is a sheep herder
(docile)
Cyclops
Cave is intriguing to Odysseus
Curiosity gets the better of his
wisdom
Stays too long and id trapped
Leader of Men?
Cyclops
Polyphemus kills and eats two of
Odyssesus “best” men
Odysseus refuses to kill
Polyphemus
Good leadership: how would they
move the rock?
Cyclops
The Plan—Odysseus relies on his
wit to defeat Polyphemus
Relies on the mercy of gods
Prays to Athena (goddess of
Wisdom)
“Discovers” an olive post (olive is
tree of Athena)
Cyclops
The Plan—sharpen the post into a
stake which will pierce
Polyphemus’ eye
Get Polyphemus drunk—make
him sleepy, dull-witted, and offguard
Keep him alive
Cyclops
Tell Polyphemus his name is
Nohbdy
Polyphemus hears “nobody” but
isn’t as smart as Odysseus to hear
the difference
Shows Odysseus as very smart
Cyclops
Description of the ‘stab’
Graphic—the audience liked that
sort of stuff
Keeps the action flowing
Glorifies Odysseus’ triumph over
nature/monster
Showcases the hero
Cylops
Awakens (obviously—who
wouldn’t?)
Throws open the door to call for
help
Tells other Cyclopses that
“Nobody” hurt him
Odysseus’ plan worked
Cyclops
Last plan—how to get out
Polyphemus blocks the door
Odysseus ties men under sheep
Polyphemus feels to see if sheep
are leaving or men
Once outside, Odysseus taunts
Polyphemus
Cyclops
Odysses commits a serious
error—he boasts
Represents vanity (conceit)
Tells Polyphemus his real name
Polyphemus sincerely offers
restitution to Odysseus
Cyclops
Odysseus insults Polyphemus by
refusing request
Tells Polyphemus to go to Hell
Receives the first curse (becomes
prophesy)
Poseidon becomes his enemy—won’t
allow Odysseus to return home easily
Aeolia
Island of the King of the Winds
King gives a bag to Odysseus
which harnesses bad winds
Odysseus’ men think it is
treasure, and open it and are
blown off course
Theme again
Laestrygonians
Giant cannibals
The bad which happens to
Odysseus after his men open the
bag of wind
The Witch Circe
Witch goddess
Enchanted animals
Actually changed men into
animals
She is singing when the men find
her
Circe
Enchants Odysseus’ men
Changes them into pigs and feeds
them acorns
Eurylochus is only one to escape
Odysseus receives help from
Hermes (guide)
Circe
Hermes gives him a plant
Circe asks Odysseus to stay
She restores his health and hope
to return home
Tells Odysseus he must go to the
land of the Dead
Land of the Dead
Blood needed so the dead can
speak
Teiresias—blind prophet
Popular in many Greek tales
Predicts Odysseus’ future
Land of the Dead
Tells Odysseus he will find only
trouble when he returns home
House overrun
His men will eat the cattl of Helios
He will return home alone on a
strange ship—a stranger in a
strange land
Sirens
Odysseus shows his intelligence
again
Uses beeswax in his men’s ears
Has himself tied to the mast
When he stops struggling, the
men know they are safe
Charybdis
Drinks the ocean and spews it out
violently
Men see this upon approach and
are afraid
Odysseus does not tell them the
danger
Scylla
Odysseus does not tell the danger
Maybe the men will refuse to row
Scylla’s attack suspenseful—good
for audience
It is violent (forces of nature)
Motivates his men to row like
crazy
Helios’ Cattle
Last mistake Odysseus’ men
make
While asleep, they fulfill the
prophecy both Teiresias and Circe
gave
May be the reason Odysseus
refused to give the message
Helios’ Cattle
By not telling, the second part of the
prophecy can come true—Odysseus
will get home
Zeus himself punishes Odysseus and
his men
Lightning destroys all of Odysseus’
ships
All of Odysseus’ men die
Calypso
The nymph who keeps Odysseus
prisoner for seven years
Only allows Odysseus to go after
much pleading.
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