List the six characteristics of an epic. A physically impressive hero of national or historical importance A vast setting A quest or journey undertaken in search of something of value The involvement of supernatural forces A basis in a specific culture or society
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A physically impressive hero of national or historical importance
A vast setting
A quest or journey undertaken in search of something of value
The involvement of supernatural forces
A basis in a specific culture or society
Characters struggling against fate
How and by whom was an epic like The Odyssey told?
Orally, by singers called rhapsodes
What is a Homeric simile? Give an example
A Homeric simile compares heroic or epic events to simple and easily understandable everyday events.
How did Odysseus’s men disobey him following the raid on the Cicones? What were the consequences of their disobedience?
They didn’t leave when Odysseus told them to. They stayed, drinking and feasting, until the main army of the Cicones arrived and engaged them in a fierce battle where many men were lost.
Why did Calypso pretend that it was her idea to let Odysseus go when really she was ordered to do so by Zeus?
She wanted Odysseus to think well of her, and it made her seem like a better person.
What happened to the sailors who ate the lotus?
They lost all thoughts of home and only wanted to stay on the island and live a life of leisure.
How does Circe’s advice help Odysseus and his men avoid a fatal encounter with the Sirens?
Odysseus wants to hear the song of the Sirens, so she tells him to have his men tie him to the mast so that he can’t get free. He puts beeswax in his men’s ears so they won’t hear the song.
When Odysseus has to choosebetween Scylla and Charybdis, which one does he choose and why?
He chooses Scylla, because he will only lose six men to Scylla, one for each of her heads. He would have lost the entire ship and crew to Charybdis, a giant whirlpool.
Odysseus’s men disobey him several times, the last of which had fatal consequences. What did they do on the island of the sun god Helios?
They kill and eat the cattle of the Sun God, Helios. Helios asks Zeus to punish them, so Zeus destroys the ship with a thunderbolt.
Why does Odysseus return to Ithaca disguised as a beggar? Who has been loyal to him?
He can check out the situation and see who his enemies are who might want to kill him and see who has been loyal to him.
Why is it important that Odysseus slay all the suitors who have taken over his palace in his absence?
It was part of the prophecy that Teiresias gave him in the Land of the Dead. He also has to reassert his position of authority as the ruler of Ithaca.
What was the Greek code of hospitality? Give an example of how it is practiced (or not practiced) in The Odyssey.
The relationship between guest and host was very important. Strangers were offered food and drink and treated with courtesy. One reason was because any stranger might be a god or goddess in disguise.
Give an example of dramatic irony in “The Beggar and the Faithful Dog”.
As they walk to the palace, Eumaeus is talking about his master Odysseus, not realizing that he is talking to Odysseus
Two uncommon elements of TheOdyssey show Homer’s originality as a poet. What were they?
Both servants and women are given strong roles in the epic.
At what point in the story does Homer employ the literary device of a flashback?
After Odysseus leaves Calypso’s island, which is near the end of his ten years of wandering, he is washed ashore in the kingdom of Alcinous. There he tells his story to the court of King Alcinous, going all the way back to the beginning when he and his men left Troy.
How does Odysseus carry out the plan to slay all of the suitors? Who helps him and in what ways?
Telemachus removes all of the suitors’ weapons from the hall, Eumaeus tells the women to lock their own doors tight for safety, and Philoetus locks the outer gate. All help in the fight.
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