Author and Background Information
Main Character: Odysseus
• Strong and well built
• Handsome and does quite well with the women.
• Intelligent
• Manages to get out of bad situations with his
• He appears superhuman, yet flawed.
Supplemental Characters
• His wife, Penelope.
• His son, Telemachus/Telemakhos
• Suitors: This is a term for people who court or
try to woo another.
• Eurykleia, Odysseus and Telemakhos’ nurse
Supplemental Characters (cont.)
• Laertes, Odysseus’ father.
• His Crew
• Many others as he travels; keep track of who
is who and who is connected/related to
whom. It will save you lots of re-reading!
Other Important Background Info
• Akhaians or Danaans = the Greeks.
– You will hear Telemakhos call to them or criticize
them. It is just another name of the Greeks to
distinguish them from the Trojans.
• This takes place in Greece and throughout the
Mediterranean world.
• Time estimates for this journey are varied
• Most scholars place the story telling to be
over 3,000 years old.
• Talk about writing a 3,000-year-best-seller!
a long narrative poem on a serious subject
 Epic poet begins in the middle of the action – “in-medias res”
 Tells significant prior events through flashback
 Begins with an invocation to the muses (Calliope is muse of
epic poetry)
 Each line is the same poetic meter (dactylic hexameter!)
Epic Structure Devices:
Some things you are familiar with:
similes and metaphors
Epithets: A word or phrase associated
With a name or thing.
symbols and omens
• This is a function of the fact that
Epic Structure Devices: (cont.)
Some things you may not be so familiar with:
• long speeches and little dialogue
• catalogues
• great listing of people, especially in battle sequence
• Digressions
• Moving away from the topic at hand to discuss
something related, often from the past or tied to the
matter at hand in some way, but still off topic. (The
phrase, “And I digress” means you’ve gotten away
from your point.)
Elements that make it a “Classic”
1. Creation of characters with uncomplicated
2. Actions that are true to Human Nature
3. Plots that blend the joys of living with the
tragic sense of life.
4. Long, musical lines (in the original Greek or in
a poetry translation)
Elements included in epics:
 people of importance to society
 national hero
 monsters - for the purpose of playing up the good traits of the
 fate of a nation (ex. Ithaca)
 setting of worldwide scope (ex. Mediterranean world)
 journeys or quests
 tests for the hero
 divine intervention
• Define: Identity
• What makes up someone’s identity
Bohemian Rhapsody
• Epics and other tales were probably told by wandering
bards or minstrels called rhapsodes. Rhapsodes were
– the historians, entertainers, and mythmakers of their time
– responsible for spreading news about recent events or the
doings of heroes, gods, and goddesses
• “It's one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about
it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and
then make up their own minds as to what it says to them...
"Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't just come out of thin air. I did
a bit of research although it was tongue-in-cheek and mock
opera. Why not?”
• Lets begin by reading various versions of the