The Odyssey

The Odyssey
What is an Epic?
A long narrative poem about a
legendary hero.
Epics often…
Concern eternal human problems such
as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL
Are written or told on a grand scale
and often in ceremonial style
Two Types of Epics
1. Folk Epic- oral compositions
passed on from storyteller to
storyteller and has changed over
time. Ex. – Gilgamesh, Beowulf, the Iliad, and the
2. Literary Epic- written
compositions that are unchanged
over time. Ex. -Aeneid and Paradise Lost
Epic Characteristics
There are five main
epic characteristics.
Epic Characteristic #1
The hero is a great leader
who is identified strongly with
a particular people or society.
Epic Characteristic #2
 The setting is broad and
often includes supernatural
realms, especially the land
of the dead.
Epic Characteristic #3
 The hero does great deeds in
battle or undertakes an
extraordinary journey or
Epic Characteristic #4
 Sometimes gods or
supernatural or fantastic
beings take part in the action.
Epic Characteristic #5
 The
story is told in
heightened language.
The Epic Hero
What makes a “hero”
Use the slips of paper on your desk
to “jot thought” what you consider
traits of a hero. Write one adjective
per slip. (You will have 2 minutes)
Use the “adjective chart” on the
next slide to determine how many of
you view each of the adjectives as
important heroic qualities.
Adjective Chart
1 person agrees
2 people agree
3 people agree
Everyone agrees
Epic Hero Characteristics
 The epic hero is a “LARGER
embodies the highest ideals of
his culture
Epic Hero Characteristics
The epic hero usually
undertakes a
to achieve something of great
value to themselves or society
Epic Hero Characteristics
 Epic heroes
meaning they are forever
remembered by those who live after
achieving a type of
Epic Hero Characteristics
Not a “Superman” with
magical powers, but a
“REGULAR” human
(sometimes part god/part
human) whose aspirations and
accomplishments set him/her
apart much like Perseus
Epic Hero Characteristics
Overcomes great
obstacles/opponents but
maintains HUMANITY
Epic Hero Characteristics
Epic hero experiences typical
FEELINGS, yet is able to
master and control these human
traits to a greater degree than a
typical person
Epic Hero Characteristics
It is often necessary for the epic
hero to connect/make
contact with “LESSER”
humans in order to succeed
What do Star Wars, Harry Potter,
and Homer’s “The Odyssey” all
have in common?
All have heroes
… that partake in a journey of
significant change, that is, the
“hero’s journey.”
…that are truly profound for
exploring the archetype of the hero
in literature and in our own lives.
thought to be blind, but
describes events as a seeing
lived around 1200 B.C.E
Wrote the Illiad and the Odyssey
- stories about the war between
the Trojans and the Greeks
which had happened between
900 and 700 B.C.E.
Story of the last year of the
Trojan War
War had lasted 10 years.
Troy was defeated when
Ulysses and his men were able
to get inside the walls of Troy
concealed within the body of
the Trojan horse.
The Trojan Horse
The Odyssey
The story of the journey of
Ulysses and his men trying to
get home after the Trojan War.
10 years
an epic about humans on the
journey of life overcoming
temptations along the way.
Ulysses or Odysseus
Sirens - group of females who
lured sailors by their singing
Circe - goddess, enchantress,
who turned men into swine
Scylla - monster with 12 feet
and 6 heads with 3 rows of
teeth, carries off a sailor in each
Charybdis - 3 times a day pulls
sailors into her whirlpool
Hyperion - the sun (distinct from
Apollo, the sun god)
Jove=Zeus=Jupiter=leader of
the gods
Eurylochus - one of the crew
Origins of Mythology
Ancient mythology belongs to the oral
tradition (folklore, legends, etc.)
1. stories passed orally appealed to the
2. these stories were a form of
3. the stories enabled the
passing of history and
culture from one group
to the next
Archetypal Myth Symbols
Many cultures share myth symbols.
Some of these are:
1. The great flood or fire
2. The serpent
3. Things organized into 3, 7, or 12
4. The woman who brings evil into the
5. The family “romance”
Greek Mythology
1. The Greeks were the earliest people to give their
gods human forms
2. The Greeks also
gave the gods
human qualities
and emotions
3. Greeks were able to
determine proper
behavior based on
what would “anger the gods”
or “please the gods.”
Greek Myth Categories
The Greek myths fall into the following
a. Explanatory
(Pyramus and Thisbe)
b. Instructional
(Daedalus and Icarus)
c. Entertainment
Remember the Titans?
 Gaea: Earth Goddess; made the rest of the
Titans by mating with her son, Uranus.
 Uranus: Sky god; first ruler. Dethroned by
 Cronus: Fathered the first of the Olympians.
Swallowed his children except for Zeus.
 Prometheus: “Forethought” ;
Protector of man; inventor of fire.
 Atlas: Punished by having
to hold the world on his back.
Who Were the Olympians?
 The offspring of the Titans
 Overthrew the Titans in a war to control the
 Led by Zeus, the god of the other gods.
 Zeus and his brothers split territory (Zeusearth/sky, Poseidon- the seas, Hades- the
The Twelve Olympians
 Aphrodite: goddess of love and beauty. Her
symbols were the dove, and myrtle, a type of
evergreen shrub. Her Latin name was Venus.
 Apollo: god of the sun and of music. His
symbols were the lyre, the chariot, and the
laurel tree. His Latin name was Apollo.
 Ares: god of war. His symbols were armor,
dogs, and vultures. His Latin name was Mars.
 Artemis: goddess of the hunt and of the
moon. Her symbols were hunting, weapons,
stags, and the crescent moon. Her Latin
name was Diana.
 Athena: goddess of wisdom and war. Her
symbols were the owl, the olive tree, and two
types of armor—the breastplate and the
aegis, a shield. Her Latin name was Minerva.
 Demeter: goddess of agriculture. Her
symbols were sheaves of wheat, and the
poppy. Her Latin name was Ceres.
Dionysus: god of wine and revelry. His
symbols were grapes and other crops.
His Latin name was Bacchus.
Hephaestus: god of fire and of the
forge. His symbols were the anvil and
the hammer. His Latin name was
Hera: queen of the gods. Her symbols
were the peacock and the pomegranate.
Her Latin name was Juno.
 Hermes: messenger of the gods. His symbols
were the caduceus, and a winged cap and
sandals. His Latin name was Mercury.
 Poseidon: god of the sea. His symbols were
the trident, a three pronged spear, and
dolphins. His Latin name was Neptune.
 Zeus: king of the gods. His symbols were the
thunderbolt, the eagle, and the oak tree. His
Latin name was Jupiter.
Other Gods and Goddesses
Eris - Goddess of Discord.
Eros - God of Love.
Helios - Personification of the Sun.
Heracles - Greatest hero of the Greek myths.
Iris - Personification of the Rainbow, also the
messenger of Olympus along with Hermes.
Morpheus - God of Dreams.
Muses - Nine ladies of science and arts.
Nemesis - Greek goddess of retribution.
Nike - Goddess of victory.
Short Film
Fill out the worksheet as you watch
this video about the Greek gods and