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Homer’s The Odyssey. Definitions of Terms. Greek word odusseia – story of Odysseus Epic-a long narrative poem which celebrates the deeds of legendary heroes

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Homer’s The Odyssey

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Homer s the odyssey

Homer’s The Odyssey

Definitions of terms

Definitions of Terms

  • Greek word odusseia – story of Odysseus

  • Epic-a long narrative poem which celebrates the deeds of legendary heroes

  • Epic hero-a man (very rarely a woman) who seems to conquer most problems he encounters, and who is usually protected by or descended from gods but does not possess any god-like powers himself

Terms con t

Terms con’t

  • Epic simile –compares heroic or epic events to simple understandable everyday events. Rich in detail.

    Ex: She brushed it away from his skin as lightly as when a mother brushes a fly away from her child who is lying in sweet sleep.

  • In media res - Latin expression meaning the story begins in the middle of the action.

  • Oral tradition – the transference of stories, songs, etc., from one generation to another or one culture to another.

Terms con t1

Terms con’t

  • Xenia – “guest-friendship” shown by the exchange of gifts/goods/services

  • Kleos – “reputation”

The odyssey

The Odyssey

  • Epithets-an adjective or phrase which delineates a personality by the attributes possessed by the person or thing

    Ex: Achilles the invincible

  • Homeric epithet is a phrase, usually a compound adjective, use to describe a person or a thing

    Ex: the wine-dark sea or rosy-fingered Dawn

  • Helps reader understand the characters’ important characteristics

Oral epic

Oral Epic

  • The Odyssey, like the Iliad, is an epic poem (Greek epos = verse)

  • Composed to be recited, accompanied by lyre to a listening audience

  • Characteristic of oral poetry (constant repetitions, both of phrase, line, the whole scenes)

  • Epithets applied to people may not always be appropriate to context-assisted in composition of poetry



  • The Odyssey is 12,110 lines long and would have taken 20-25 hours to recite

  • Divided into 24 books (one for each letter of the Greek alphabet)

  • Narrative presents the ideas of adventurous journey and change of fortune

  • Three Major Sections: Telemachy, Wanderings, and Homecoming

Composition con t

Composition con’t

  • First four books called telemachy

  • Generally epics start at the beginning, then continue chronologically

  • Begins with an invocation

  • Homer chooses to let the Muse begin in the middle (media res)

Look for these themes

Look for these Themes

  • The Quest of Telemachus

  • The Wanderings of Odysseus

  • Homecoming, Vengeance, and the Restoration of Order

  • Loyalty

  • Hospitality, or Guest/Host Relationship

  • Intelligence

  • Experience

  • Respect for the Gods, Order, Fate

Homer s the odyssey

An important development during adolescence is learning to accept oneself (and thereby being able to answer questions for oneself and making choices and decisions). This is the same as being able to start bearing one’s own, individual, responsibility.Bernard Lievegood


Young man of 20

Waiting to be told what to do


Feels powerless against mother’s suitors


Homer s the odyssey

I have said before that the beginning of the forties is a sort of a fork in the road leading to the rest of our lives. Either the road goes downhill, together with the biological functions of the body and mind, or it leads into totally new territory in which quite different creative powers are awakened.Bernard Lievegood


Fully grown, mature man

Undergone 10 years of war and traveling

Man of courage, integrity, complexity, and maturity

Man of intellectual curiosity

Does not stray from his original goal



Odysseus’ wife

Not the usual twentieth century heroine

Woman of great inner strength




Daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete

She is young, untested, and unsure of what she wants in life

Is she too innocent? Too tied to her parents and the strict behavioral code that they impose on her?


Map of the wanderings

Map of the Wanderings

The voyage home

Polyphemus the Cyclops

Son of Poseidon and Thoosa

The Voyage Home

The voyage home1

Circe the witch

Turned men into animals

The Voyage Home

The voyage home2

Realm of the Dead

Meets Tiresias, Jocasta, and others

The Voyage Home

Homer s the odyssey


Monster with six heads and twelve feet

Homer s the odyssey


More dangerous of the two monsters

Daughter of Poseidon

Turned into monster by Zeus

Sinks passing ships

Homer s the odyssey

Odysseus and the nymph Calypso

Calypso falls in love with Odysseus and keeps him on her island for seven years

Homer s the odyssey

The old nurse recognized Odysseus by the scar on his thigh.

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