Odyssey Review/Essay Questions

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18 April 2016

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1.What aspects of social and political life in Homeric times are reflected in the “Odyssey”? =The aspects in the social and political life in Homeric times that are reflected in the Odyssey are the leadership and hierarchy. These are depicted by kings, warriors and peasants who sometimes live un-heroic simple life.Other than that it shows the culture of the Greeks wherein if you will court a lady,you should bring gifts. 2.What is the purpose of the many allusion to the legend about the homecoming of Agamememnon? =Agamemnon had an unhappy homecoming.

He was either blown off course and landed in the country of Aegisthos, or he came home to his own land to find Aegisthuswaiting for him. In either case, Aegisthus had become the lover of Clytemnestra, and the two together murdered Agamemnon and Cassandra shortly after their arrival. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra then ruled Agamemnon’s kingdom, but were eventually killed by Agamemnon’s son, Orestes (or by Orestes and Electra in some accounts). The homecoming of Agamemnon and its aftermath were favorite subjects for Greek tragedy.Basically, his unhappy homecoming was used to foretell the possibly unhappy homecoming awaiting the unhappy hero Odysseyus, although his wife does not marry any of the suitors, and his homecoming ends up being a relatively happy one.

3.What outstanding personal qualities enable Odysseus to survive all his dangerous adventures and to surmount all obstacles to return home safely and regain his old staus? = The outstanding qualities that I think Odysseus had were that he was his intelligence, his strength, and he was very caring. His best quality is that he is very intelligent. He is able to use his mind to find solutions to problems, outsmart people, and to just use his mind for many different problems. For example when the Cyclops asked Odysseus what his name was and he replied by saying, “Nobody”.

And so when Odysseus poked the Cyclops with the sharp blade and he started screaming the other Cyclopes’ asked him who was hurting him and he replied, “Nobody is hurting me”, so they just ignored him. Another of his Odysseus’ outstanding qualities was his strength. This helped him in war and to build supplies. The last of his outstanding qualities was his caring towards his crew. He tried to keep all of them safe as long as he could. He really cared for his crew and he was devastated when his crew got killed. These were his best qualities.

4.What are some Odysseus’ weaknesses?
=Odysseus’ greatest weakness is his pride. Although pride can be a good thing, he is claimed to possess too much of it. This is shown in an act of hubris in book nine of the Odyssey, when Odysseus taunts the Cyclops Polyphemus after blinding him, which leads Odysseus to be cursed by Poseidon. =Odysseus curiousity could also be considered a weakness. On the island of the Cyclopes, Odysseus fell into temptation to stay in the Cyclopes’s cave to see what the Cyclopes looked like (Polyphemus). This left 6 of his men dead. 5.What is the significance of the blind bard,Demodecus,who entertains at the banquets of King Alcinous to historians? =In the Odyssey by Homer, Demodocus is a poet who often visits the court of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians on the island of Scherie. DuringOdysseus’ stay on Scherie, Demodocus performs three narrative songs.In short Demodocus represents Homer in the story.

6.What role does Athena play in the Odyssey?Why is she often considered its main female character? =Athena is the patroness of Odysseus or most of all she loves his mind. Odysseus is a character that solves his difficulties not through strength or other god given talent he takes his time and thinks the problem through because Athena is a goddess of wisdom she would be partial to a hero like odysseus. =Athena is considered the main female character in Homer’s Odyssey is because Athena is always mentioned by Homer divinely intervening with Odysseus’ path e.g.

Athena asks Zeus to release Odysseus from Calypso’s island of Ogygia and so he sends Hermes to order Calypso in Book 6, Athena is the reason both Odysseus and Nausicaa cross paths by the river bed. 7.What does the dramatic climax of Odyssey take place?Is this before or after reunion of Odysseus and Penelope?Why? =In my understanding each book contais different dramatic climax but for me I have some examples of it like when he finally reveals that he isn’t a beggar like Athena disguised him to be but rather Odysseus that has returned.The day that he killed all the suitors.The day that all his men died and so many more. 8.Who is Odysseus’s enemy and why?

=I believe it was indeed Poseidon. The reason being that he blinded the Cyclops (Polyphemus).The story went that, while they were on the island,Odysseus named himself “Nobody” so that when the Cyclops yelled for help, he claimed that “Nobody” had blinded him, making his comrades think it was a punishment from the gods. Odysseus’s mistake was to call back from his retreating ship his true name. The Cyclops was the of Poseidon, who sought revenge. =Other enemies are the suitors of Penelope.The suitors wanted to get Odysseus’ throne of becoming king of Ithaca and became powerful. 9.What is Telemachus’ problem?

=He hasn’t seen his father in 20 years,since the day of his birth.He was confident enough the his father is still alive and also the suitors are eating up his father’s land and want to marry his mother.

10.Why is Odysseus’ choice to raid the land of the Cicones,Ismaerus.a bad choice? What impression do you get of Odysseus from this encounter? = Odysseus and his men sack the city of Ismarus, kill many of the men and take their wives and booty, which include wine, money, and sheep. Odysseus spares Maron, a priest of apollo, who gives him much concentrated wine, 7 talents of gold, and a bowl of silver. Odysseus tells his men to return to the ship, but they do not obey, instead reveling in their spoils. Meanwhile, some of the Cicones had escaped and warned their brothers who brought many troops with chariots to fight off the Greeks. They end up killing about 70 men, (6 from each ship), before Odysseus and his men retreat. Odysseus’s ship was blown off onto an island that had a cyclops that Odysseus made blind by ramming a hot log into the cyclops’ eye. He also escaped punishment from Poseidon the Cyclops’ father by claiming that he was Nobody.It is bad enough to do such things for your survival.

11.What do you think is Odysseus’ worst action of his wanderings and why? =Odysseus worst action of his wanderings is when he was in One-eye Cyclopes’ island. It is because aside from he hurt Polyphemus’ eye, he made a wrong move that prolonged his voyage back to Ithaca. Though he just made it because he wants to escape in Polyphemus cave, still his pride leads them into their long journey back home. When Odysseus and his men are clearly safe away from the island, Odysseus brags about his exploit. He shouts his name and unwisely gave away his identity to Polyphemus.

With that Polyphemus called upon his father, Poseidon, to punish the man who had harmed him. That incident hurt Odysseus more than losing a few men, because Poseidon made his travel home longer than he expected. He faces different struggles which brought them into danger and sad to say, he is the only one left because his men died. Nonetheless, Odysseus survived all that happened to him. His courage, wits, and endurance enabled him to come through each and every difficulty and arrive home safely.

After 2 decades of being away from Ithaca and longing for his wife and son, Goddess Athena let him go back to his home and be with his wife and son. 12.Why is the “Odyssey” a story read by so many after years and years? = I think it’s because the Odyssey is almost a template that sets up our lives today. In this piece of literature, the Greeks value so much on good hospitality, which is important in our society. Everything can lead back to the Odyssey. Our tendon is called the Achilles Tendon – linking back to a great hero who fought in the Trojan War, some lyrics were inspired and taken from the Odyssey, Apollo 13 is taken on from Odyssey.

=Also, a lot of characters take up after the Odyssey. Think about the characteristics Odysseus have and compare them to the characters our heroes in our society have. What are the similarities and differences? Even our damsel in distress is inspired by Penelope. Of course the sirens, the goddesses are all a template of how our female characters should be.The Odyssey marks the beginning of a lot of things, and it’s also a great story to read.

13.Why is Odysseus looked to as a powerful representation of the mythic hero? =because he was very brave and a good leader. He helped his men escape many situations including the cyclops. he has all the qulities of a hero. He slept with Circe so that his men would be turned back into humans. He made many sacrifices to help those in need.Being a hero comes with great responsibilities and duties.You will do anything just to make your countrymen happy. 14.In what ways are the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” similar?In what way do they differ? Similarities:

– Both are attributed to Homer.

– Both begin with an evocation of the Muse.

– They both take place over the course of 10 years.

– They both begin in medias res, or in the middle of things. The Iliad opens up in the last couple weeks of the final year of the war ; the Odyssey opens up with Telemachus searching for news of his father, and then we first learn of Odysseus through flashbacks while he is being held captive by Calypso–which was actually around the middle of his journey.

– They both use dactylic hexameter.

– Many of the same characters can be found in both poems.
The Iliad is about a 10-year war fought between the Achaeans (Greeks) and the Trojans; the Odyssey is about the 20-year journey home of the hero Odysseus after the Trojan War.

– Achilles is one of the leading characters in the Iliad; Odysseus is the leading character in the Odyssey.

– The Iliad is a poem telling the tale of many (Achilles, Hector, the gods, etc.), while the Odyssey is primarily the tale of Odysseus.

– Menis, or the wrath of Achilles, is the main focal point and one of several themes in the Iliad; Nostos, or homecoming, is the main focal point and one of several themes in the Odyssey.

– In the Iliad, the gods are portrayed as pretty deceptive, temperamental, backstabbing gods; there’s a lot of sneaking around behind each other’s backs to aid one side over the other (Hera wanted the Achaeans to be triumphant, but Zeus tried to remain neutral), several of the gods conspired to put Zeus to sleep so they could help the Achaeans win, and the
battlefield is essentially one giant chess board for them, with mortals as their pawns. In the Odyssey, the gods seem a little more benevolent (Athena supports Odysseus and tries to assist him whenever she can, and they all –except Poseidon–would like to see Odysseus return to Ithaca) and they seem more unified and civil in their views on how things (particularly Odysseus making it home) should be handled. Even though Athena was Odysseus staunchest supporter, she did not try to retaliate against Poseidon when he made Odysseus’ journey all the harder and even longer.

– In the Iliad, the gods were more actively involved in the affairs of mortals than they were in the Odyssey. In fact, there were numerous occasions where they actually took human form so they could go out onto the battlefield. In the Odyssey, there was little intervention, and usually only when it was asked for.

– The Iliad takes place in one location: Troy; in the Odyssey, Odysseus visits numerous places in his journey home. 15.Explain how Homer uses chronology in telling the story of Odysseus? =There’s a difference between the chronological order of events in the movie and in the story.In the movie it started the day that Telemachus was born and Odysseus was invited to fight in the war.After the war ,his journey in sailing home have begun in sailing different islands and places like the One-eyed giants cave,Meeting the master of the wind,Land of the bewitching queen,Visit to the underworld,Island of temptation,Calypso’s kingdom and landing to the Island of Scheria,home of the Phaeacians.In the movie there were no flashbacks or throwbacks.The events were continuous unlike in the book the past events were told when Odysseus arrived at Scheria and told all his journeys and trials.

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