The Odyssey: Part One Study Guide

Odysseus The main character/epic hero of The Odyssey
Polyphemus Son of Poseidon, the cyclops that Odysseus and his men blind. He curses Odysseus and prays against him to Poseidon.
Poseidon God of the sea, curses Odysseus’ travel home to Ithaca
Elpenor Crewmate that dies and meets Odysseus and his men in the Land of the Dead
Calypso Goddess who keeps Odysseus on her island for 7years as she tries to make him fall in love with her
Circe She turns Odysseus’ men into pigs. She later encourages Odysseus to go to the Land of The Dead so that he might be able to eventually make it home.
Scylla Six-headed sea monster who lives near the whirlpool Charybdis; she eats six of Odysseus’ men.
Helios The sun god, whose cattle Odysseus’ men slaughter.
The Sirens Creatures who tempt Odysseus and his men with their voices.
The Lotus Eaters Offer the Lotus plant to Odysseus’ men that makes them forget their homeland
Invocation a prayer or petition for help or support to tell a story
Epic Simile A long, extended comparison
Allusion a reference to a work of literature in another piece of literature
myths traditional stories told through generations about cultural beliefs, customs, and/or religions
Epithet brief phrase that describes a character
Epic a long narrative poem
Epic hero main character in an epic
Where is Odysseus’ home? Ithaca
What happened at the land of Cicones? Odysseus’ men raided this land, fighting the men and trying to take the women and children as slaves; 72 of Odysseus’ men died in battle
Why is the lotus plant so dangerous? It makes men forget about home; has characteristics of addictive drug
How do we know that Cyclopes are uncivilized they dont have laws, dont farm, dont have community meetings
What does it say about Odysseus that he wanted to stay at the Cyclops’ island even though his men begged him to leave? (This was before he met the cyclops.) He is prideful, curious, take risks, etc.
Why doesn’t Odysseus kill the Cyclops in the cave? Only Polyphemus could remove the boulder from the opening of the cave.
How do Odysseus and his men escape the Cyclopes’ cave? They are tied to the underbellies of the sheep.
What is Odysseus’ fatal flaw? Hubris, or excessive pride.
What does Odysseus do upon leaving the Cyclopes island? What do his men think about it? He yells to the Cyclops, giving away their location. The men think its reckless and dangerous.
How does Polyphemus curse Odysseus? He prays to Poseidon that Odysseus’ trip would take a long time, that all of his men would die, and that he would return to chaos at home on a stranger’s boat.
Who gave Odysseus a bag of bad winds in order to ease his way home? Aeolus
Who is Elpenor? What does he ask of Odysseus? A crewmate who died in Circe’s hall; he asks Odysseus to bury him.
Who does Odysseus travel to see in The Land of the Dead? Tiresias
Who are the Sirens? Half-bird/half-woman creatures who sing to lure sailors to their island.
How does Odysseus keep his men from hearing the Sirens’ songs? He puts beeswax in their ears.
What does he ask from his men to do so that he can be the first and only man to survive hearing the song of the sirens? He asks them to tie him to the ship.
Who is Scylla? She is a 6 headed monster who eats 6 of Odysseus’ men.
Who is Charybdis? She is a monstrous whirlpool.
What is the first thing that Odysseus tells his men once they arrive to the island of the sun god, Helios? Don’t eat the cattle.
Why do the men kill the cattle? They are starving.
How does Zeus punish Odysseus after his men kill Helios’ cattle? Zeus destroys Odysseus’ ship with a thunderbolt, and all of his men die.
Where does Odysseus end up after his ship is destroyed and his men are killed? Calypso’s island
The Odyssey is not told in chronological order. Instead, it begins __________ en medias res
To whom is Odysseus telling his story King Alcinous
List characteristics of an Epic Hero strength, helped and harmed by interfering gods, embodies ideals and values important to a culture, always emerges victorious
What are the characteristics of the epic plot? It involves strange creatures, treacherous weather, and large-scale events. The gods and goddesses intervene.
What are the characteristics of epic setting? More than one location. Fantastic or exotic lands.
What is an archetype? Characters, plots, and themes that are repeated in literature and popular culture.

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