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The Odyssey. Homer. The Epic Poem. Lengthy continuous narrative of the life and works of a hero, real or mythical Hero: Fulfills what is good and noble with a willingness to sacrifice self for the greater good. In literature, heroes may have tragic flaws that lead to their downfall.

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The epic poem
The Epic Poem

  • Lengthy continuous narrative of the life and works of a hero, real or mythical

  • Hero: Fulfills what is good and noble with a willingness to sacrifice self for the greater good.

  • In literature, heroes may have tragic flaws that lead to their downfall.

The odyssey1
The Odyssey

  • A Greek epic poem attributed to Homer

  • Written about 800-600 BC

  • Tells about the travels of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy

  • After the Trojan war, it takes Odysseus 10 years to return home

The character of odysseus
The Character of Odysseus

  • Cunningly intelligent

  • Ability to judge people and situations

  • Filled with wanderlust?

Major players
Major Players


  • Odysseus

  • Achilles

  • Ajax

  • Menelaus

  • Helen

  • Penelope

  • Telemachus

  • Agamemnon


  • Paris

  • Hector

  • Priam

  • Hecuba

Judgment of paris
Judgment of Paris

  • Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles) were forced into marriage.

  • Eris , the goddess of discontent, was not invited to the ceremony.

  • Eris went anyway but did not bring a wedding gift. When she was stopped at the door by Hermes, she became outraged and threw a golden apple in the room.

To the fairest
“To the Fairest”

  • The golden apple was inscribed, “to the fairest.”

  • Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed the apple.

  • Zeus made Paris decide who would get the apple.

  • The goddesses all tried to bribe him.

  • Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite who offered him the love of the world’s most beautiful woman.

Paris aided by aphrodite
Paris Aided by Aphrodite

  • Paris chose love over wisdom, skill in battle, and political power.

  • He awarded the apple to Aphrodite.

  • When on a diplomatic mission to Sparta, he met and fell in love with Helen, the most beautiful woman alive.

Helen the face that launched a thousand ships
Helen: The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships

  • A.k.a. Helen of Troy

  • Father: Zeus, king of the gods

  • Mother: Leda, mortal woman

  • Odysseus was one of many suitors, but she chose Menelaus

  • Odysseus may not have been as interested since he did not bring gifts.

Trojan war 101
Trojan War 101

  • Waged against the city of Troy in Asia Minor, now Turkey

  • Paris, son of Priam and Hecuba of Troy, kidnapped Helen

  • People of Agamemnon—the Achaeans of Sparta—wage the war over Helen

  • Helen was wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta

The kidnapping war begins
The Kidnapping—War Begins

  • Aphrodite made Helen fall in love with Paris.

  • Menelaus received Paris as a guest of court

  • Paris violated the important law of hospitality by kidnapping Helen

  • Menelaus led troops to Troy where they fought for 10 years.

The trojan horse
The Trojan Horse

  • Troy fell due to the trickery of the Trojan Horse filled with the Achaean warriors, led by Odysseus.

  • After sacking Troy, many Achaeans never returned to Ithica.

The war lasts 10 years
The War Lasts 10 Years

  • After the deaths of many Achaean (Ithica) heroes: Achilles and Ajax . . .

  • And after the deaths of many Trojan heroes: Hector and Paris . . .

The odyssey odysseus s travels
The Odyssey: Odysseus’s Travels

  • Of all the gods, only Poseidon is angry with Odysseus

  • After being held captive for 7 years, Calypso finally releases Odysseus

  • His raft is wrecked, and he washes up on an island.

  • He is found by Nausicaa where he relates the story of leaving Troy

Upon leaving troy
Upon Leaving Troy . . .

  • Odysseus and his 12 ships raided the Cicones

  • Visited the Lotus Eaters

  • Captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus

After the cyclops
After the Cyclops . . .

  • All but one ship destroyed by the giant cannibals, the Laestrygonians

  • Visit Circe’s island—men turned to swine

  • Stayed here for a year

Circe advised the men
Circe Advised the Men . . .

  • How to avoid the Sirens

  • How to avoid Scylla

  • How to avoid Charybdis

On the island thrinacia
On the Island Thrinacia

  • Odysseus’s men do not listen to the advice of Circe and kill the cattle of the sun god Helios.

  • They were punished by being shipwrecked.

  • Everyone died except Odysseus, who washed up on Calypso’s island.

Back at home
Back at Home

  • Phaeacians help Odysseus back to Ithica

  • He pretends to be a beggar

  • Reunites with Telemachus

  • Tests Penelope

  • Penelope has a contest— stringing Odysseus’s bow

  • Suitors all killed by Odysseus

  • Odysseus reveals himself to Penelope