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The Odyssey. Themes Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks The Odyssey begins. Themes in The Odyssey. The establishment of order Odysseus must return to keep his kingdom of Ithaca safe. He must return to take care of his wife, Penelope. He must help his son Telemachus become a man.

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the odyssey

The Odyssey

Themes

Ethical Code

of the Ancient Greeks

The Odyssey begins

themes in the odyssey
Themes in The Odyssey

The establishment of order

  • Odysseus must return to keep his kingdom of Ithaca safe.
  • He must return to take care of his wife, Penelope.
  • He must help his son Telemachus become a man.
  • He must end the disastrous battle with the god Poseidon.
themes in the odyssey1
Themes in The Odyssey

The development of loyalty, devotion, and strength

  • Odysseus must help his men reach home
  • Penelope must not give up on her husband
  • Odysseus must not be distracted from his goal
  • Telemachus must face threat with courage
themes in the odyssey2
Themes in The Odyssey

The search for identity and a place in this world

  • Odysseus seeks to return home to become once more a king, a husband, and a father.
  • Though adventures may seem exciting, all figures in this story seek home,
  • and peace.
themes in the odyssey3
Themes in The Odyssey

The triumph of good over evil

  • The man who holds to his honor is rewarded with success.
  • Suffering makes eventual happiness sweeter.
themes in the odyssey4
Themes in The Odyssey

The interaction of gods and humans

  • Homer focuses events through the lens of the anger or pleasure of the gods.
  • Athena helps Odysseus, as his intelligence mirrors hers.
  • Poseidon rages against the mortal whose pride hurt his own.
  • The gods, like nature, like life, are undependable, changeable.
ethical code of the ancient greeks
Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks

Hospitality

  • Giving generous welcome to any guest, whether invited or unknown, was an crucially important part of ancient Greek culture.
  • Guests, in return, honored the trust of their hosts.
  • Violating that code always brought severe consequences.
  • Paris, Polyphemus, and Penelope’s suitors were all guilty of betraying this custom.
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Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks

Honor

  • Never break an oath
  • Protect your family
  • Watch out for your people
  • Treat guests well
  • Honor the gods
  • Show courage always
ethical code of the ancient greeks2
Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks

Family

  • The family is the basic building block of any society and the Greeks recognized this.
  • Bonds of birth and marriage were broken only at terrible cost.
  • Odysseus finds his strength in the idea of returning to his family.
  • His family finds their strength in the idea of his return.
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Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks

Community

  • Peace and safety were found only when people honored tradition and worked together.
  • When people broke community, the result was barbaric and brutal: war, pillage, slavery, death.
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Ethical Code of the Ancient Greeks

Glory

  • The only immortality was having a name famous in song or story.
  • Skill in battle against other warriors or monsters insured this fame.
the odyssey begins
The Odyssey begins…

Invocation to the Muse

  • All recitations began with a prayer of gratitude for inspiration and for a powerful performance.
  • The Muses were 9 goddesses who inspired the arts.
the odyssey begins1
The Odyssey begins…

Foreshadowing of Events

  • Like movie preview or book cover blurbs, the initial invocation includes clues to events and themes of the story.
  • A wanderer who sees much of the world…loses his reckless men… trapped by a goddess…cursed by a god…finally reaches his troubled home…
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The Odyssey begins…

Doomed Men

Odysseus warned his men not to eat the cattle of the Sun God, but they did not listen. They feasted well, but never reached home.

the odyssey begins3
The Odyssey begins…

The great enemy of Odysseus: Poseidon, God of the Sea

  • Odysseus blinds Polyphemus, the Cyclops, son of Poseidon.
  • Polyphemus begs his father to curse Odysseus with loss and sorrow.
  • Poseidon harries Odysseus with hate-filled storms.