The Odyssey By Homer
Literary Terms Epic long, narrative poem about important events in the history or folklore of a nation or culture Epic hero larger-than-life central character in an epic; through adventurous deeds, the epic hero demonstrates traits that are valued by the society in which the epic originates
in medias res “in the middle of things”; many epics begin this way, meaning that much of the important action in the story occurred before the point at which the poem begins Therefore, the epic hero’s adventures are often recounted in a… flashback a scene that interrupts the sequence of events in a narrative to relate earlier events
Vocabulary Plundered – (v.) took goods by force; looted Dispatched – (v.) finished quickly Mammoth – (adj.) enormous Assuage – (v.) to calm; pacify Bereft – (adj.) deprived Ardor – (n.) passion; enthusiasm Insidious – (adj.) characterized by craftiness and betrayal
Background Information The Trojan War The Odyssey describes the experiences of the Greek hero Odysseus as he made his way home after the Trojan War. According to legend, the Trojan War was sparked when Paris ran off with Helen. A Greek force attacked Troy (in modern-day Turkey) to recapture her and was finally victorious after ten years of fighting.
Modern Map of the Aegean Sea area Ancient Map of the Aegean Sea area
Meet the Author: Homer Homer is a legendary poet credited with writing the Iliad and the Odyssey. Their length and scope, gripping stories, imagery, and style have captured readers’ imaginations for almost 3,000 years. Scholars disagree about whether the Iliad or the Odyssey were really written by Homer. According to tradition, Homer was born in western Asia Minor and was blind. However, many scholars feel confidant that the Iliad and the Odyssey are the result of generations of oral poetic composition, masterpieces to which numerous ancient singers contributed. If Homer existed, he may have been in a long line of Greek epic storytellers.
Reading/Writing Connection In the Odyssey, Homer describes a journey filled with amazing adventures. Write a paragraph that tells of a journey you have taken or imagined. Describe something challenging or amazing that occurred. Use at least three of these words and underline them in your paragraph: coincide, eliminate, encounter, highlight, interact.
The Adventures of Odysseus In the opening verses, Homer addresses the muse of epic poetry. He asks her help in telling the tale of Odysseus. Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy. He saw the townlands And learned the minds of many distant men, And weathered many bitter nights and days In his deep heart at sea, while he fought only To save his life, to bring his shipmates home. But not by will nor valor could he save them, For their own recklessness destroyed them all – Children and fools, they killed and feasted on The cattle of Lord Helios, the Sun, And he who moves all day through heaven Took from their eyes the dawn of their return. Of these adventures, Muse, daughter of Zeus, Tell use in our time, lift the great song again. What city did Odysseus and his men plunder?
Partner Reading Working with the partner I have assigned you with, read Sailing from Troy and The Lotus-Eaters (p. 953-955) After reading, answer the questions of the handout that was passed out in class.